The food-truck phenomenon is rapidly becoming the little segment that could. Pegged at about $5 billion, barely 1 one of total foodservice industry sales, the mobile-catering boom continues to attract attention and create controversy far in excess of its modest size.
While food vendors hawking grab-and-go bites and beverages to commuters and construction workers have long been fixtures in metropolitan areas, the new generation is more about culinary and social connections than convenience.
Ground zero in the food-truck revolution is Portland, Ore., a city that is both a laboratory for exciting food experimentation and a poster child for political populism in its approach to regulation.
The roughly 600 carts, as they’re called locally, are mostly tethered to pods, or designated parking lots, which have become dining destinations. Keeping most carts from cruising the streets helps defuse thorny competitive issues with existing bricks-and-mortar operators, and it helps infuse vibrancy and dining options into under-served locations.
Lefse, a Scandinavian potato flatbread, is one of the offerings at the Viking Soul Food truck.
This roast pig is made into sandwiches for customers of The People’s Pig food truck in Portland, Ore.
The Bro-Dogs truck is making use of hot dogs’ new fashionableness. One of Bro-Dogs’ specialties is its $5 jalapeño-cheddar dog.