By Eustacia Heun | Forbes.com
Who says food truck has to be on land? For those yachters, jet skiers and other aquatic adventurers with sudden hunger pangs, here’s a sustainable floating kitchen to satisfy your needs.
Named Aqua Pod, this sustainable floating drive-through with a capacity of up to six staff will serve The Dubai Palm Lagoon, Al Sufouh and Kite Beach of Dubai’s Jumeirah region starting on February 2.
The special project is created and developed under the helm of award-winning architect Ahmed Youssef—Founder of Aquatic Architects Design Studio (AADS) in Dubai—who spent a little bit under a year with his team working on everything from concept development, design development alongside expert marine consultants, and commercial licensing to about four months of construction.
The result is a hybrid floating construction running on electricity and diesel, made with sustainability in mind. According to the architect, some of the key features include a desalinating function that makes sea water potable without releasing brine discharge, plus a built-in garbage system that collects floating trash and disposes waste responsibly onshore.
Logistically, there’s a lot more to consider here than the typical food truck. Not everyone can wait by the kitchen when they are driving mega yachts or boats. So when it comes to ordering and delivery, the floating kitchen operates in two ways. As explained by Ahmad Ataya—Business Development Manager of AADS: First, there’s a self-serve method for people driving smaller crafts or jet skis to order directly at the aqua pod. Second, for those in larger boats, there’s a flag system which involves a “waiter” driving the jet ski to and from the pod—handing flags to customers within a 500-meter radius so they could raise it when ready to order, collecting card or cash payment, and (obviously) delivering food when everything is ready.
In terms of food, the 377 square-foot Aqua Pod operated by Salt Bay offers a creative burgers menu (Think beef, chicken and mozzarella burgers with curried mayo, Devil Cook or bacon jalapeno sauces). The reason is simple: Burgers are especially popular among beach goers, according to Ataya. However, if there’s greater demand for more variety in future, he added, “The Aqua Pod and its kitchen can be adapted to any cuisine.”
Currently, this floating drive-through is tailored for the Dubai sea market—with vending locations chosen after months of field research, and delivery system designed with awareness and respect to nearby water traffic. When it comes to future development, Youssef is confident that the concept can be adapted to “carry different brands, serving different cuisines in multiple locations that have not been tapped yet.”
Ultimately, the architect said, “The goal behind this project is to showcase that a market in the sea already exists. We have been realizing a recent movement in the UAE towards the floating residential developments, and we believe that such developments should also be catered for just like they are on land.”