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Aruba, November 28, 2013 - Today, at all times during the day, you will see food trucks overtaking urban landscapes in some of America’s biggest cities.  Anywhere that potential customers might be, there they are – office buildings, college campuses, industrial parks, auto repair shops, movie sets or military bases.  Some cater to specific meals, such as breakfast or lunch trucks; some offer specific types of food, like a dumpling or taco truck.

This restaurant-on-wheels phenomenon has caught on in several major U.S. cities, including New York, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, San Diego and Tampa. Currently, Chicago is the only U.S. city which does not allow food trucks to cook on board and have set other restrictions such as distance from other restaurants and amount of time it can sell food in one place. In other parts of the world, food trucks are also becoming more common, as in the case of Australia, Canada and Asia. Food trucks first became popular in the 1890’s when night lunch wagons would cater to night-time workers, especially in bigger cities such as New York City. Later versions of the food truck, which came about in the late 1950’s, were known as mobile canteens. These were primarily authorized and operated by the U.S. Army and could be seen across many American military bases.
While these “roach coaches” have been around for years, it was until the latest economic recession that they reached a new level of popularity. With chefs being laid off and a decline in the construction workforce leading to a surplus of food trucks, the concept of a mobile food truck was revisited and revamped. Looking back, experts believe that 2008 marked the unofficial beginning of the phenomenon. Today’s food trucks have grown from a quick grab-and-go bite to an experience. Still known for their affordability and convenient locations, food trucks can now be seen in both urban and rural areas of the U.S., however the quality of food and variety has changed dramatically.  You will not just find an ordinary taco at modern-day food trucks.  Food trucks today are gourmet, creative and put an emphasis on the experience with the food and with the truck’s brand.
As a result, an entire business sector has sprung up.  Food truck franchises have begun to form and food truck rallies are growing in popularity.  Gourmet Streets, one of the largest and most respected food truck franchises in the U.S., has been at the forefront of this food truck revolution. Food trucks have been caught national attention, garnering their own television shows, such as the Great Food Truck Race and Eat St. On August 31, 2013, Tampa hosted the world’s largest food truck rally with 99 food trucks attending. The industry has even spurred the creation of associations to help support and protect business rights, as exemplified by the recently-formed Philadelphia Mobile Food Association.
The phenomenon of food trucks has also grown with the emergence of social media.  With the help of Facebook and Twitter, anyone can find the location of a gourmet food truck on a moment’s notice.  Some food trucks even have apps to allow customers to get up-to-the-minute updates on specials, menu changes or location changes. Many experts believe that social media is one of the biggest contributing factors to the success of food trucks today.