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Startup Trends: Food Trucks

In the increasingly crowded 'mobile market' of New York City, these entrepreneurs have used eye-catching branding to stand out from the competition.

Young Entrepreneur recently listed their picks for the hottest startup trends of 2011.

The Top 6 Trends are: Mobile Commerce, IT Consulting, “Popup” Restaurants and Food Trucks, Social Shopping, Social Gaming and Green Consulting.

“Popup” Restaurants and Food Trucks stuck out to me as the least high-tech item on the list. But their argument for its increasing importance is interesting:

Food trucks have big advantages over brick-and-mortar establishments: low investment costs, no rent, low utilities, no real estate costs, and low marketing costs. The biggest indicator of their success? International restaurant consultants Baum and Whiteman report that restaurant owners are pushing for laws restricting them, and in some cases winning (Los Angeles is an example). Not only that, food truck rodeos, where giant groups of food trucks congregate in a festival-like atmosphere, are becoming more popular.


Food trucks are getting more and more ubiquitous, especially in big cities. Most events I go to in Los Angeles have food trucks of one sort or another set up in a parking lot or outdoor area.

Some of the companies who own these trucks also run brick-and-mortar restaurants, making their food trucks something like a catering extension of their business. But some of them exist solely by way of mobile food stand. And it makes sense. Buying a food truck is a lot cheaper than setting up and maintaining a restaurant with a dining room.

And what’s that old adage? Location, location, location! What could be better than being able to change your location daily? On my block, there’s a taco truck that sets up at the same spot six days of the week. That kind of consistency has benefits, for instance- I know they’re there, so I go back. But while more nomadic food trucks may not have that kind of repeat business, they have the flexibility to be at “the right place at the right time,” wherever that time and place may be. 

In the increasingly crowded 'mobile market' of New York City, these entrepreneurs have used eye-catching branding to stand out from the competition.

Food trucks have been around for a while, but lately there have been some great variations on the classic “Food Truck” business model, with people turning everything from fashion stores to video games (trucks that roll up to birthday parties full of video games for the kiddies to play) into mobile businesses.

The economy isn’t exactly in the dumps, but many people are still struggling. In that struggle, a lot of creativity is emerging. If you’re looking to start a brick and mortar business, it would be worth at least considering how this kind of–often overlooked–business model might fit in with your plans.


Here are some important things to consider if you’re looking to get into the food truck business.

Read more about the other Startup Trends of 2011 at Young Entrepreneur.

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  • http://www.openarestaurantnow.com Chris

    Hilarious and eye-catching ice cream truck picture! One of those would do great in DC. Food trucks have definitely caught on big time; one stat I saw showed they did over $1 billion in sales last year! I am interested in opening a food truck and just finished doing some research on the costs and process of opening one that I figured I’d share with anyone else interested: http://www.openarestaurantnow.com/the-economics-of-food-trucks/.

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