Food trucks are hot right now, and today we had the distinct pleasure of sampling from the panini-inspired Pressed For Time‘s roaming restaurant. I had a chance to try both the California club panini and the vegetarian favorite portobello sandwich. Both could hold their own when compared to a sit-in restaurant’s similar offerings. Other items on the menu included blackened chicken raspberry panini, an Argentinean cheese burger (I was told it was quite good), and a bacon “marmalade” panini that was sold out by the time I got there. The bread was lightly crisped and the ingredients tasted fresh. Each sandwich was served with a choice of bottled water, Coca Cola, or Sprite. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal, a rare feat considering the choices were limited to just five sandwiches.
A Modern Business Model – “Just Enough”
Food trucks arrive at a perfect time in our culture. We want things to be snappy. Our lives are defined by how fast we can communicate, order products, and consume information. Food trucks offer mobility in a traditionally brick-and-mortar industry. There is something uniquely modern about the business model; focus on making a niche food (in this case paninis), invest enough to cook and serve it, then set up shop anywhere. Simplicity + Efficiency. This is a concept every consumer can appreciate: “Just enough”. You’re not getting the plethora of options you’d get at Outback Steakhouse, but let’s be honest – you usually order the same thing when you go to your favorite restaurants anyways. By focusing on being good at one kind of food these businesses are able to thrive on word-of-mouth attention. It’s easier to remember “Tasty Taco Truck” than it is something more like “Pamela’s”.
Food Trucks Are Here to Stay
A recent explosion in the Atlanta area has led to a gathering every friday night of food vendors dubbed the “Atlanta Food Truck Park”. Here you can sample from 25+ vendors that range from Barbecue to Jerk Chicken. You’ll even find Nana G’s – a chicken and waffle stand inspired by two staples of southern cuisine. After today’s lunch I may have to check it out. An appropriate date night? We’ll see.