Point-Counterpoint: We Are So Over Food Trucks. (Or Are We?)
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.
troll.me First World Problems....
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.
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!