There’s no doubting the recession has seen gloom and doom, but as with everything in life, there’s always hope, and in the case of business – some bright sparks that have found their growth in the most dire of times. Food Trucks!! An increasingly familiar sight in major cities across the US, that have been making their appearance in the last three years.
Little wonder that the popularity of this niche segment of the restaurant industry is growing and not showing any signs of waning, according to NRA’s (National Restaurant Association) recent study.
Food trucks are one of the hottest trends in the restaurant industry right now, and consumers are showing increasing interest in mobile foodservice…
- Nearly six out of 10 (59 %) would be likely to visit a food truck if their favorite restaurant offered one, up from 47 % just one year ago;
- Nearly one-fifth (18 %) saw a food truck in their community this summer;
- More than one-quarter (28 %) of those who saw a food truck this summer made a mobile foodservice purchase.
“Convenience is a major driver in restaurant growth, and food trucks are certainly a convenient option by essentially bringing the restaurant to the consumer,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “Our research shows that in just one year, the number of consumers who say they would be likely to visit a food truck has increased significantly. We also found that food trucks have a more noticeable presence in communities in the West and Northeast than in other parts of the United States.”
“Though food trucks are often equated with chefs and entrepreneurs, they also present opportunities for operators of established restaurants to expand their operations and presence, as a majority of consumers say they would visit a food truck run by their favorite restaurant. Mobile foodservice can be a good way to extend an existing restaurant brand beyond the four walls of the establishment,” Riehle says.
The National Restaurant Association’s new consumer survey also found that:
- Consumers living in the West (29 %) and Northeast (24 %) were much more likely than those in the South (15 %) and the Midwest (9 %) to see a food truck parked in their community this summer;
- When asked how they typically found the food truck they visited, 73 % said they just saw it on the street, 54 % said they selected it from an area where food trucks typically gather, 39 % found out from a friend, and 13 % found it through social media;
- Adults with children (70 %) were more likely than those without children (52 %) to say that they would patronize a food truck if it was offered by their favorite restaurant;
- A solid majority of younger consumers said they would be likely to visit a food truck if offered by their favorite restaurant; more than two-thirds of those age 18-44 compared with only 38 % of those 65 or older.
The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,004 American adults August 25-27, 2011, about food trucks.