A recent Zagat blog post points out, "There’s been some national discussion lately about whether the market for food trucks is becoming oversaturated ...".
Our quick answer to this is no, not even close.
As we state in our food truck research report, we think the food truck industry will continue to substantially expand for at least the next 3-5 years. Our reasons are:
1. Geographic expansion - while there is some food truck overcrowding in a few of the major cities, small and mid-sized cities as well as suburban areas are still fertile markets for food truck industry growth. Any geographic area that can support a few fast food places can potentially support food trucks.
2. New business areas - Food trucks are becoming popular for special events and catering. These areas provide new business opportunities for the industry.
3. Share gains relative to fast and take-out food: America's long love affair with fast food appears to be waning, especially among Gen Yers (born 1980 to 2000). Compared to 2007, fast food visits by this group are down 15%.
There are many reasons for this shift. People in general and Gen Yers in particular are looking for more choices and healthier options than provided by fast food. They're also looking for fresh food and better and/or more unique dining experiences than most fast food restaurants provide. But they also continue to look for quick, convenient food service.
Food trucks fulfill all of these requirements. And given the size of the fast food industry - over 200,000 U.S. locations generating about $160 billion in annual revenue - there's plenty of opportunity for food trucks to grab market share.
For more details, see Food Trucks Motor into the Mainstream.