During the past few years, food trucks have generated a fair amount of buzz among consumers and within the foodservice industry. While many municipalities continue to struggle with how to address food trucks and traditional restaurants study their emerging competitors, one thing seems certain: food trucks don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Ninety-one percent of consumers who are familiar with food trucks feel this trend has staying power, according to Technomic's Food Trucks Innovations Report. More telling, only 7 percent of consumers who frequent mobile food trucks expect to decrease their visits during the coming year.
Still, while the newness of mobile food trucks may have made them media darlings for the time being, this new segment has a ways to travel when it comes to raising consumer awareness. "One in five individuals is not aware of or has not seen a food truck, and one-third of individuals who are aware of them still haven't purchased from one," said Technomic's Kevin Higar. "The key for long-term success is getting the non-user to come on board."
That's because once consumers gain exposure, explains Higar, they seem to have very positive impressions of the experience. But according to Technomic's research, 70 percent of non-users are still hesitant to purchase food from mobile vehicles, which is probably the biggest current growth challenge. Higar said.
Other findings from Technomic's report include:
- Three quarters of consumers who have come across MFVs located together in a central location make combined food and/or beverage purchases from two or more operators during any given meal occasion. Because of the highly specialized nature of food truck menus, they lend themselves well to this type of multi-concept purchase.
- Quick-service restaurants seem to be impacted by mobile food vehicle success more than other traditional restaurants, with 54 percent of respondents saying if they had not bought from a food truck, a quick-service restaurant would have been their most likely destination.
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