By Joe Blundo | Dispatch.com
Americans standing in line in a parking lot to buy ribs? I’d have sworn that the idea wouldn’t work.
We don’t like to get out of our cars. If we could get divorced in a drive-through, we’d do it. (I’d call that business Jiffy Split, by the way.)
But Columbus is crawling with food trucks. Fleets of them fan out across the city every day. Franklinton even has a food-truck food court, with an indoor dining room and rotating vendors.
So now I’m asking myself: What’s next? How will the trend diversify?
I have my money on expanded product lines. I figure that Americans, pressed for time, are looking for greater efficiency. If they’re going to stand in line at a truck to buy sweets, wouldn’t it be nice if they could pick up some auto parts, too? (I’d call that business Cake N’ Brake, by the way.)
Here are a few other concepts that, if I’m correct, will surely hit the streets before long:
The mobile vendor specializes in Swiss cheese and fresh doughnuts — but, in keeping with the theme of holes, also pierces ears and fills cavities.
When business gets hectic, the staff occasionally messes up by filling a molar with lemon cream. Otherwise, it’s a rousing success.
The U.S. Postal Service cuts its heavy losses by replacing small post offices with food trucks that roam cities selling eggs, bacon, pancakes and commemorative stamps. Plus, you can mail a package.
Officials learn that customers who hate to stand in line at the post office don’t mind so much if, in the end, they get a western omelet.
First National Frank
JPMorgan Chase converts to an all-mobile operation, partly in an effort to escape federal scrutiny over its estimated $3 billion trading loss.
At Chase food trucks, customers can make deposits, obtain a mortgage or buy one of a dozen kinds of hot dogs.
Among the offerings: the New York Dog (beef, mustard and sauerkraut), the Incomprehensible Financial Instrument (complicated ingredients that not even the CEO understands) and the Federal Regulation (a limp frank that promises to scorch but has considerably less heat than necessary).
Franklin County experiments with a roaming food truck that offers sandwiches, pastries and the chance to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. An offender can put his legal business behind him and get lunch at the same time.
The idea is brilliant, but the county has to overcome some early difficulties: Finding a judge who can dispense swift justice and make a credible panini is difficult.
The Thai food truck sells no Apple products; it just passes along rumors of Apple product launches. That alone prompts lines three blocks long.
The Ohio congressional delegation buys a food truck, but it meets with limited success because dinners cost $10,000 a plate.
Joe Blundo is a Dispatch columnist.