By Christa Hoyland
Regional chain Gold Star Chili has launched a new mobile food vending truck with an updated look and completely refurbished food preparation and serving equipment.
The Cincinnati-based brand’s Chilimobile has been an innovative marketing and foodservice tool since its first introduction in December 2008, as the food truck trend was just emerging. These latest improvements give the Chilimobile more versatility as both a marketing vehicle and a rolling restaurant.
“Mobile food vending trucks are becoming more and more popular in the Greater Cincinnati community and throughout the United States,” said Gold Star Chili marketing director Charlie Howard in a news release. “As the original food truck in Cincinnati, we are excited to reintroduce our The Chilimobile as a fun, high-profile way to differentiate our brand of Cincinnati-style chili in a city that has more than 220 chili parlors. Our goal, literally and figuratively, is to take our product to the streets of Chilitown USA.”
The new and improved Chilimobile is complete with the latest, top-notch food service equipment, including a steam table, grill, fryer, oven, stovetop and three refrigerators. Gold Star Chili will be deploying the new Chilimobile in a variety of ways, including:
- Event marketing – Gold Star Chili will sample and sell its famous Cheese Coneys from The Chilimobile at high-profile community events throughout Greater Cincinnati. Upcoming events include supporting local blood drive with the “I Bleed For Chili Summer Tour.'” Blood donors will be rewarded with Gold Star Chili’s signature cheese coneys, served from the Chilimobile at 15 locations throughout the summer, as well as with the official, “I Bleed For Chili Summer Tour” t-shirts.
- Philanthropic endeavors – The local chili chain will donate the Chilimobile as a silent auction bid item for local non-profit charitable, arts and cultural organizations as a way to raise additional funds. Winners will receive a “Cincinnati-Style Block Party” with the Chilimobile that will serve Cheese Coneys and 3-Ways for up to 100 people.
- Mobile lunch route – Throughout the summer, Gold Star Chili will launch “Lunch Runs” targeting areas throughout Greater Cincinnati with plenty of people but limited lunch options. Gold Star Chili will post The Chilimobile’s whereabouts weekdays from 11:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. on Twitter (@chilitownusa) and on Facebook.
- Catering – Gold Star Chili will offer catering services from the Chilimobile for businesses, organizations and individuals to host a memorable Cincinnati-themed event.
A number of quick-service brands, including national chains Taco Bell and Arby’s, have mobile event vehicles that provide free full-size menu items at cause marketing events nationwide, but few take the restaurant to the streets. Northwest regional brand Burgerville has had success with its food truck, the Nomad.