Australia is dabbling more into the mobile food scene of late, with food trucks and mobile vendors popping up adding a new flavour to the scene.
The food truck revolution, which started in Los Angeles, has recently hit our shores and local Aussies are putting their spin on it. The revamp of these mobile food enterprises has largely been sparked by the development of social media, the economic downturn and niche markets. Most foodies have the thought of opening and running a restaurant, yet only a handful actually take the leap of faith and share their recipes with the world. Most of the time, huge capital costs and expenses involved with starting a restaurant are enough to ward off the dreamers, however food trucks have a much smaller starting costs and we have seen entrepreneurs putting their speciality flavours out on the streets.
There are many advantages in the food truck biz, the most obvious to mention is the overall start up and fixed costs. We have seen technology shape the hospitality industry; the use of social media mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become a method of delivering marketing and communication directly to prospect customers. Customers are able to get information on the food truck's location, opening times and specials all with a few slides and swipes on an iPhone or android.
The versatility and mobility of a food truck allows you to decide when and where you would like to be, and also what you would like to serve to your target market. The almost endless possibilities give the entrepreneur a chance to be creative and design something unique in the market that can be profitable.
However, the common misconception about the food truck scene is there's a lot of easy money to be made, but it's not so simple. Although food trucks have many advantages over a standard brick and mortar restaurant, they also face their own set of potential challenges.
Food trucks are heavily dependent on the weather; if your customers aren't walking out the door then they're not walking to your food truck.
Even though you can move to multiple locations with a food truck, it's important you can get amongst the foot traffic and seek out the clientele your business caters to. Restricted access in heavily populated areas adds salt to the wounds. Is your product unique, tasty and well-priced compared with the nearby café? Understanding your point of difference that will entice customers is essential in preventing failure.
So check out the food trucks near you – what's your verdict? Do you believe the hype? Is all the fuss worth the final product? Could you do it better?