Street Food Versus Food Trucks: Who Wins?

Food trucks have been classified as mini restaurants by customers and even city officials. The investment in a food truck is one of main factors for categorizing it as such. However, it is also considered as street food by many who resist the idea of buying food from the sidewalk. Thus, there is a blurred line between street food and food trucks.

That being said, historically street food has been around for decades while the recent upsurge of food trucks in the country only began in earnest in 2008. Prior to that, food trucks were considered the poor cousins to the kiosks and food carts. Now, if one were to compare food stands with food trucks, the roles have been reversed. Food trucks are now being called the “superheroes of fine cuisine.”

Not only are food trucks taking business away from food stands, they are also threatening to some of the restaurants they park close to. For example, early this 2012 New York’s Grandma Lee sandwich shop complained about a food truck that was taking business away because it was parked too close to the shop. The complaint was dismissed but it highlights how restaurant owners feel about food trucks.

With food stands, it’s the same scenario especially since they are limited in what they can offer their customers. While food trucks have a lot of options with their menu because they have cooking equipment, storage cabinets and a fridge, food stands have to settle for hotdogs, sandwiches, tacos, salads, and drinks.

In addition, food trucks don’t need to pay rent unless they choose to whereas a food stand is on a permanent site and required to pay rent. It also doesn’t help that food trucks are getting a lot of advertising mileage from TV cooking shows, social media sites, and the general public. Thus, there is a loud buzz about food trucks which isn’t present with any other food you can buy on the street.

One way street food stands can hold their own against the food trucks is if they maintain their low prices, quality, and quick service. With food trucks being so popular, the lines can extend far and take long before one gets to the front of the line. Hungry people and those rushing somewhere will probably decide to get a hotdog instead.