I was in New York City recently and ran across a couple food trucks that caught my eye. The Snack Box truck has a black and white super graphic pattern that works well in the sensory overload of Times Square. The cart holds its own against the back drop of animated signs which tower three to five stories above the cart. Made partly from a shipping containers and partly of the traditional quilted stainless the truck serves New York’s best hot dogs and gourmet coffee! Not exactly an epicurean delight.
What was even more impressive about the truck, is its location, it sits in the middle of the street along with tables, chairs and planters. This part of the City’s Transportation Commissioner’s push to make the city more pedestrian friendly. See a great graphic in the New York Times on the changes to Broadway from Columbus Circle to Union Square. The Commissioner is Janette Sadik-Khan who has been both cursed and praised depending on whether you drive or walk in the city. But that said, Times Square has been transformed for the better for the 55,000 visitors who navgate the famous square every day.
Another cart has a more prosaic location at 46th and 6th (varies but Tweet’s location daily) but equally compelling from a design standpoint. Crisp on Wheels serves “fresh, fast, health-smart vegetarian” food from a “mobile restaurant”. From the sophisticated truck graphics to the web site and social media tweeted locations this vendor has all the right retail moves and the lines to prove its success. There is a revolution happening in street vending, part of it is a response to the recession, part of it the broadening of consumer tastes into more ethnic and organic food categories, but the end result is some good eating and advancing truck designs.
Bottom Line: As in all-compelling retail – branding, design, the retail experience and of the quality of product all matter. Food Trucks great proving grounds for entrepreneurial start up’s who have a great concept but not the capital to open a bricks and mortar location.