Point-Counterpoint: We Are So Over Food Trucks. (Or Are We?)

Categories: Food Fight

Food Trucks.jpg
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First World Problems....
Just utter (or type) the words food and truck in close proximity, and some people freak out -- while others drool. It's the same among Chow Bella's staff, which is why when we decided to unveil our first "Point-Counterpoint" (with thanks/apologies to our sister blog in Houston, Eating Our Words) the topic was a no-brainer. Two of our smartest contributors and most experienced food truck diners -- Ando Muneno and Lauren Saria -- volunteered to go head-to-head. So here you go. Be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.

Lauren: Ok, ok, I get it. People are sick of food trucks. BUT that doesn't mean we need to banish them forever. The bottom line is that in this horrible economy a lot of potentially great food concepts would never have the chance to materialize except in food truck form. They're a low(er) cost way for creative people to bring good and interesting food to the rest of the world.

food truck food
Lauren Saria

Ando: My problem isn't that food trucks exist but that we're reaching a food truck saturation point. Good ideas are still coming onto the market, but they're having to compete with the bandwagon trucks as well. In particular I find myself bothered by businesses, even local ones, that are standing up food trucks simply to have a presence in the market. Does Chipotle need a truck? Probably not.

The other problem I'm seeing out there is that "low cost" appears to only apply to the start-up costs of creating a food truck. I thought the idea of a food truck is a democratization of classy foods? I know they have bills to pay but $10+ for a couple tacos and a soda is more than a little steep. Maybe it's unrealistic but I think under $10 for a meal should be a goal, unless you're serving something crazy like a crab bisque with lobster toast.

Lauren: But low-cost doesn't necessarily mean cheap. People need to suck it up and realize that high-quality ingredients come at higher costs. If you want to chow down on produce that's spent more time travelling than you have in the past two weeks and mystery meat, be my guest. But the hard truth is that healthy, fresh, local ingredients (all things that a good food truck makes an effort to incorporate) are probably going to cost you more.

Of course huge corporate chains don't need food trucks. Hell, a lot of people probably shouldn't have food trucks that do. But come on people, use your brains. It's a simple case of supply and demand. Don't spend your money there and they will go away. Guarantee. And on the other hand, if Chipotle's making bank serving burritos out of a truck (and for the record, I wouldn't be surprised it they did) then more power to them. Roll on!

Location Info

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Jamburritos

, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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3 comments
Pete
Pete

Personally, I'd just like the food trucks to start using TruxMap.  Yes, I follow many of them on Twitter and Facebook, but aren't food trucks supposed to be MOBILE.  Food Truck Friday is fun because it's consistent and a nice pre-weekend getaway, but part of the idea is not having to drive far away for better than fast food eating.

I think they started using TruxMap, but then it faded.  It's coming up on summer so I know this won't go anywhere, but in the fall it would be nice to see the trucks fan out to some degree and to post locations.

Ando Muneno
Ando Muneno

I agree completely and I'm sad I forgot to put it in my half of the post. I don't care what they use but I would love to be able to  actually /find/ food trucks when I want to. 

It's actually kinda manageable in Phoenix because there aren't all that many trucks... but when I go back to LA to visit the parents... sweet Buddha, it's like pulling teeth trying to find out where trucks are. Unless you have a favorite truck and follow them it's actually pretty hard just to dive into the scene. Which is the exact opposite of what street food is supposed to be. 

That said the last time I tried to use the Trux Map app it... well it sucked. It was ugly, slow and difficult to navigate. All I really want/need is a google map with a couple pins stuck in it saying "Yo, food truck here."

Pete
Pete

Fair enough. I'm not enamored with with TruxMap (though they have an iPhone app). 

I'd say the crest of the food truck phase for me was Duck Duck Pig.  Exciting menu and then vanished. They posted they would be at some megacorp building and you could see the desperation of drivers lost in some random parking lot. No show. Life happens, no big deal, but it started me thinking, why am I driving to get to them when they have a perfectly mobile solution.  Fan out trucks!  Try some new territories.

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