Here in Auburn, there has been a food truck invasion - it seemingly happened overnight.
We woke one morning to find our town studded with trucks vending food of all sorts: meatball, mac-n-cheese, and every kind of taco imaginable. They experienced immediate, explosive popularity. The food truck culture enchanted us. Places that were once barren suddenly became home to quick, cheap, delicious treats--that were being served on wheels!
The atmosphere is unrivaled: with music blasting through the speakers and enthusiastic young employees, the trucks have the feel of a roving party that also happen to serve delicious food.
Food trucks are a culinary trend, but they didn’t get there by raw appeal alone. The rise of food trucks is largely due to the way they have embraced otherwise overlooked marketing principles. Food trucks have been smart with social media marketing, building and maintaining a loyal fan base, and keeping customers interested.
It’s not uncommon to find your path to class blocked by a 50 person line winding away from the taco truck window. The trucks move constantly, updating their location on Twitter, and pulling up on any curb that has enough space. They change their spot depending on the time of day, flow of traffic, and local events. In doing this, food trucks are capitalizing on the attention that a crowd brings in.
On campus, the taco truck is regularly surrounded by several dozen students, and that inexplicable popularity lures in more customers who are curious to see what the buzz is about. Conversely, I have yet to see a single student mulling around the meatball truck, and that’s the reason why I have never tried it. It’s lack of a crowd indicates that it is not as desirable as its counterpart.
It’s like Facebook happening before my eyes--I can’t trust something that my friends and peers haven’t endorsed.
Food trucks have capitalized on the opportunity to build a loyal fan base and heighten anticipation. Grabbing lunch has become an adventure.
Food trucks have the same allure that the ice cream truck had when we were children, because we know there’s something delicious awaiting us if only we have the right amount of wit and cunning to track it down. It’s the thrill of the hunt that keeps customers coming back for more. Food trucks are their own rolling advertisement - and for hungry customers who spot it, it’s instant gratification.
The good ones tweet where they’ll be, giving loyal customers a reason to stay connected and drawing new fans to experience their online presence in a very applicable way.
I speak from experience when I say that customers are shunning consistency and functionality for novelty.
The food trucks are a symptom of changing consumer desires. We get bored easily, and food trucks have stepped up to the plate by giving us the adventure, intrigue, and excitement that we desire. We are okay with exerting a little more effort to find an eating experience that gives us good stories in addition to great food.
The uniqueness of the food truck experience, and the active role we have to play in hunting them down, excites us and causes us to embrace that brand in a way that we wouldn’t with something easily accessible and predictable. We like the instant gratification of our effort being rewarded with an out-of-the-ordinary dining experience.
Author: Lane Jones is our Fall Editor & Word-Smith here at Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media assists public institutions, enterprises and the non-profit sector with Imaginative Inbound Marketing strategies + campaigns. We also have a development team chock full of Marvelous Mobile Migrators, poised to help transition our clients into a mobile + social world with custom software, iOS and Android mobile apps.