Are Food Trucks About Something Other Than the Food?

By Jonathan Kauffman | SFWeekly.com

Today’s notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredgedup from the food media.

1. Food trucks are not about the food. On Salon.com, Aviva Shen files a thought-provoking story about why food trucks are drawing so many career-changers. They’re are all about branding, she argues, not about the food:

Aside from their white-collar roots, these operations have something … in common ― a very simple, savvy business model: develop a relatively low-maintenance product, sell it for a reasonable price, and devote the rest of your energy to aggressive, compelling marketing.

Furthermore, she adds, a nation of diners grown accustomed to celebrity chefs, chains, and massive PR pushes eat it up. Shen’s piece is worth a good cackle ― and I don’t think she’s 100 percent wrong. But I don’t think she’s 100 percent right, either. In San Francisco, at least, for every fusion-burrito peddler with an MBA and a graphic designer on retainer, there’s a formally trained cook with a decade or so of experience who wants to do his or her own thing but can’t raise a half-mil for a restaurant. Shen’s right: there is a lot of mediocre food-truck food out there. There’s also a growing number of single-focus trucks that produce two or three great dishes worth hunting down.

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/foodie/2011/04/talking_points_food_trucks_serpentine_brunch.php