I was in Portland earlier this year and dropped in to get a feed at one of the Portland food trucks with some local friends. Regulars to LA will be familiar with the food truck trend which has exploded over there, they have regular food truck nights in Venice Beach and indeed some of the best LA restaurants are in 4 wheel rotation during the day to keep the locals fed and watered. Locals follow them on Twitter to find out where they’ll be serving that time of day, and LA trucks are often met on street corners by groups of hungry bystanders waiting for the tasty mobile to pull up & spread the love. In true Portland style, the Portlandia food truck scene is a little more low key and old school. Portland local Talia’s “Whole Bowl” is undoubtedly the tippity top of the pop in my mind and I’m sure I’m not the first person to google Talia’s special sauce in an attempt to recreate the goodness offshore, likewise the People’s Pig does a cracking roast pork sandwich, but I digress….
A little closer to home here two foodie vans are starting the scene in Oz and making their way around Melbourne serving parcels of deliciousness on the streets. And that my friends, is the point. Raph Rashid’s Taco Truck and Beatbox Kitchen are trawling round Melbourne town serving up his famous Taco truck Burger by the hundreds. You can keep abreast of where this delicious mobile will be by following him on . . wait for it, twitter.So for those of you residing south of the border, go forth and enjoy. As for Sydney, well we’re still waiting to catch up to the foodie trend. Lord Clover has been pushing for Sydney to trial late night food vans but shopkeepers and restaurant owners are pushing back saying it will create an unfair playing field given the lower start up cost of the food van. Since when did we not innovate within distribution channels and business models because it might put pressure on other businesses? As a rule, food trucks are not necessarily serving cheaper food but they are innovating in how, where and what they serve. It’s true they’re more nimble and have greater flexibility but industries change and this is a small example of change within hospitality. As with most industry, the best way to remain competitive is to read the trends shaping your space and innovate. Food trucks like small bars will park their wheels in Sydney. It’s just a matter of when. In the meantime, Sydney can watch Melbourne put another notch in their city street life innovation bedpost alongside pop up foodie offers, small bars & street art.