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The Evolution of the Food Truck in America

The Evolution of the Food Truck in America

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021| SpeedPro

Food trucks are pulling up all over the country to serve every style of food you can imagine. Their menus are no longer limited to ice cream and hot dogs. Food trucks now serve smoked bbq sandwiches, authentic Mexican tacos, fresh lobster rolls and even cheesecake on a stick, and they’ve developed a reputation for offering some of the most gourmet flavor combinations. This trendy culinary experience has exploded over the last decade, but the idea is rooted deep in American history.

The history of food trucks is long and filled with innovation that transformed a quick and easy food source into a booming $1.3 billion industry today. Find out how food trucks have become a sensational experience for millions of customers.

The World’s First Food Trucks

The traditions that inspired modern-day food trucks date back to before the first car was even invented. They may have looked different, but these mobile dining machines are some of the most iconic in food truck history.

1. Chuckwagons

Chuckwagons were the first food trucks to appear in history, looking much different from today’s metal-framed trucks. They rolled on wooden wheels and resembled a covered wagon. Chuckwagons rolled along with a cattle drive, serving hungry cowboys during the long journey across the range. Stocked with pots for cooking and wood to make fires, these wagons were designed to serve biscuits and beans. The simple design is less glamorous than what we know today, but it mobilized the kitchen and kept workers fed.

2. Pushcarts

Around the same time period as chuckwagons, pushcarts began to appear along the streets of major cities like New York. Pushcarts provided a fast and easy meal that anyone could afford. Customers could grab a quick sandwich or piece of fruit on their way to work.

Food trucks continue to fill the streets of major cities across the country today, with the same purpose of feeding busy workers on their lunch break.

3. Wienermobile

Throughout history, many have emulated the original chuckwagon and pushcarts to provide a fast and affordable meal on wheels. Arguably one of the most distinct designs was created by Oscar Meyer wieners in 1936. The Weinermobile was driven around the United States serving hot dogs and acting as a mobile advertisement for the brand.

Food trucks serve a dual purpose as traveling restaurants and billboards. The Weinermobile inspired modern-day food trucks that spread brand awareness with an eye-catching design.

4. Ice Cream Truck

Many people feel nostalgia when they hear the sound of an ice cream truck meandering up the street. This tune has played across neighborhoods, calling out to children since the 1950s. Ice cream trucks popularized the utility of the food truck, making a profit during the hot summer months by selling ice cream and popsicles to eager children.

Although the menus have changed drastically, the classic design of the original ice cream truck has not changed much over the past century. The vintage design was an integral part of food truck evolution that has stood the test of time.

Food Trucks Today

Ice cream trucks led to taco and sandwich trucks that served customers for several decades until the food truck revolution took off in the early 2000s. A series of innovations and changes in food truck culture expedited the evolution of food trucks.

The following events led to a boom in the food truck industry:

  • New technology: With the creation of the smartphone, apps launched that enabled food truck fanatics to track the location of their favorite mobile restaurants.
  • Social media: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allowed food truck brands and their followers to connect. Social media lets brands promote their latest culinary creations and develop a loyal fan base.
  • Culture shift: As their menus have grown, food trucks’ reputations have switched from providing quick and easy meals with minimal flair to a diverse collection of trendy dishes. Now consumers flock to try the latest eats, with entire festivals dedicated to showcasing food trucks.
  • Recession: Following a period of economic turbulence in the early 2000s, many chefs and restaurant workers were laid off from their jobs. Food trucks provided an affordable way for chefs to open their own miniature restaurants, becoming entrepreneurs overnight. This boosted the quantity and quality of the food trucks available today.

Today, about 32,000 food trucks operate throughout the United States, serving gourmet cuisine catering for all tastes and diet preferences. The rising popularity of food trucks means they no longer depend on foot traffic alone to support their business. Traditionally located in busy city centers, food trucks have spread to other locations so people all over the country can join the food truck craze.

Captivate customers with a bold food truck design.

Operating a Successful Food Truck

The food truck industry serves millions of customers and is expected to continue growing at a rate of 6.6%. The challenge of operating in a rising industry is standing out amongst the competition. Whether your food truck is your main venture or an extension of an established restaurant, it can be a useful tool to attract customers to your brand.

Creating delicious food that people will enjoy is only half the battle. The other half is attracting customers who are willing to give it a try. A bland design will communicate bland food, so wrap your food truck with a vibrant design that expresses your brand. Captivate customers with a bold food truck design that will draw them in and keep them coming back for more with your exciting menu.

Use the interior of your food truck to create an outstanding product, and use the exterior as an effective marketing tool for your business.

Elevate your food truck with SpeedPro

Elevate Your Food Truck With SpeedPro

Customers are attracted to food trucks with unique designs. A brightly colored, modern style will make your food truck stand out from the crowd at festivals and large events.

Food truck wraps allow you to customize the exterior of your food truck with graphics that emphasize your unique brand. Personalize your food truck with an eye-catching design. SpeedPro can help you create and apply graphics that’ll set you apart from everyone else. Our designers will work with you every step of the way to create a custom, high-quality design that will match your high-quality food.

Our team can help you make a great first impression with one of our striking food truck wraps. From gourmet grilled cheese to loaded Belgian waffles, we can help you draw attention to your brand.

Transform your food truck with a distinct vehicle wrap created by our expert designers. Find your local SpeedPro studio to set up a consultation to start designing your unique food truck wrapping today!

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