Even though food trailers and food trucks gained popularity in the last couple of decades they appeared for the first time a long time ago. Food trucks date back to the 17th century, where you could find them in big cities in the United States. They were big carts that were selling food to the passengers and the travelers in the street.
Around the 1950s the popular ice cream trucks that all of us have seen in movies appeared, while a few decades later, around the 1980s we start seeing food trailers near universities selling sandwiches and hot dogs at the students.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s that food trucks and food trailers gained the popularity they have now and start changing from big metal greasy trucks to elegant, modern and fun vehicles that catch your attention and make you want to taste their meals.
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Modern food trailers in our life
Nowadays, food trailers and food trucks form part of our everyday life. We find them in events, in festivals, in parking lots or just outside our office building. They are there to provide us with cold refreshing beverages, delicious tacos or a comforting cup of hot coffee.
Food trailers cover an existing food business need
The popularity of food trailers did not only grow because of their cool design and bright colours. Food trailers have an every time higher demand because they take care of a real, existing human need. They provide food and beverages in places or under circumstances where traditional restaurants couldn’t possibly do it.
Food trailers can adapt to many different environments because of their flexibility. It is almost impossible to build a whole restaurant inside a park without disturbing the natural habitat and ruining its beauty. It is also a very bad business idea to set a restaurant in a festival space that only hosts events a few days a year.
A food truck can be easily moved and set in any place. It doesn’t affect the environment around it since it is only there for a limited time. It remains a profitable business idea since it is set in festivals and special events only by demand and only those days when a lot of customers will be around.
Difficult timetables for food concession trailer owner
Food trailer owners see opportunity when there is a gap in the market. When everything else is closed or it is too far away for a conventional restaurant, a food trailer will be there.
You can find food trucks and trailers in parking lots that have to work 24 hours since they have almost the same traffic during the day as during the night. You can also see food trailers outside of big clubs or busy bars since they are the only food option around at that time.
Food trailer owners and staff have probably work when everybody else is resting, in a limited space, with heat and heavy workload. Food trailer owners have to serve their delicious treats on Sunday morning so that their customers can enjoy tasty food whenever and wherever they are.
The struggles of food trailer owners
Running a food trailer is not an easy job. Just like in any other small business you have to do basically a little bit of everything. You have to make sure your cook has all the materials he needs, the fruits and vegetables are fresh and your dishes are served quickly and exactly as ordered.
You are also responsible for the administrative work for your business, having your gas, water and electricity bills paid and also have all the necessary permits and licenses to park at the location you have chosen.
Marketing and promotion are two more of your task since you want your food trailer to stand out from the competition and attract more clients. At the same time, you want to make sure that your existing clients stay satisfied with your product and they will keep coming back.
By owning a food trailer you are adapting every day to different environments and different circumstances. You communicate with hundreds of people and you are in charge of so many different things.
You show up in the heat, in the snow and in the rain and you are expected to provide the same quality of service in all those situations. But this, at the same time is the most compensating part of the job. Being able to provide a delicious meal to people that just crossed by at the street and see their excitement and the big smile on their faces.
Food trailers coping with corona virus
When every other restaurant business was closed, food trailer owners and staff still had to show up and give their best each day. During this pandemic, the contribution of food trailers and food trucks was enormous since due to the security measures restaurants and cafeterias had to remain closed and open only for delivery.
Food trailers were the only place where people could hang around, take a tasty meal or a healthy juice and enjoy it while they are out for their morning walk. Lockdown and restrictions were hard, especially for people who are living alone. Passing by a food trailer before getting to work is also a moment of human interaction that was so needed during this tough period.
Food trailers take part in special moments
Apart from offering great service, food trailers are a cool, creative and fun way to bring a catering service to your special event. Food trailers are now being part of birthdays parties, anniversaries, photoshoots and even weddings.
Inspired food trailer owners, only by bringing their unique vehicle can totally change the scenery of an event. Beautiful food trailers in bright or pale colours, decorated with lights can give a whole different dimension to the location, while the delicious dishes will surprise the guests.
However, the most important part is the service owners offer by taking care of the details, providing their creative ideas and unique meals. In comparison to conventional catering, they give a personalized experienced that the guests will never forget.
Creators with passion and imagination
Food trailers are mostly made by people that are passionate about food and they want to share their passion and love for that specific cuisine with everybody else. Having a food trailer is a deeply social business activity, you form part of the location, of the street, of the city.
Food trailers with personality will stand out. The limited space forces you to develop a very specific product and create a very specific experience. The secret of success of most food trailers in comparison to traditional restaurants is that they specialize in only one or two things. They might only sell pancakes but they focus and specialize in that product so they are mastering their cooking skills, the flavors and the presentation of the dishes.
The example of Lucky Mama’s in Manchester
A great example of an inspired business idea is the case of Lucky Mama’s in Manchester. The two owners, Gaby and Mamadou, have created a very unique trailer that sells fresh-made pasta and homemade pizza. They focus on the quality of their ingredients and make inside the trailer all their sauces from scratch.
Gaby and Mamadou work to make your day special since they also offer their services at company events or at weddings and private events. They run their whole business alone but they always deliver flavorful results that satisfy even the most demanding pasta lovers.
The example of the pancake pod in Taunton
The pancake pod is a street food project that takes deserts to another level. John is the only owner of this beautiful trailer and runs the whole business by himself. He shops for the ingredients, cooks the pancakes, serves the clients and books the events.
The pancake pod participates in food truck festivals and many other types of special occasions offering fluffy pancakes served with melted butter and made only with the finest ingredients. John, the owner of the pancake pod is very active on social media where he shares his passion with the world by posting videos and pictures of his recipes.
To all the amazing food trailer owners
Owning a food trailer is not an easy thing, it takes discipline and dedication to take care of all the details and provide day by day the same level of service. If you are a food trailer owner you surely know the struggles of running a mobile business and having to be creative and come up with instant solutions every time there is a problem.
It is difficult to build a business with a small budget or without having a stable place and clientele, but it is so satisfying seeing the smile in peoples faces when they come by your food trailer and try your products.
All this hard work worths the effort because what you do is more than offering food. You are creating experiences and building memories and you truly make an impact in the lives of the people around you.