The Sky’s the Limit for the Food Cart Biz

A new national survey from Technomic finds that food carts are here to stay.

By Wendy Culverwell | Portland Business Journal

A new national survey from Technomic finds that food carts are here to stay.

The sky’s the limit for the food truck (or if you prefer, food cart) industry.

Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based restaurant industry research firm, says the mobile food industry is in its infancy and is far from reaching its apex.

The vast majority of consumers who are familiar with food trucks believe they have staying power and are not a passing fad, according to Technomic’s Food Trucks Innovation Report, released Monday. The survey found 91 percent of consumers have a favorable view of the staying power of mobile food vendors. Only 7 percent of consumers who frequent food trucks say they’ll visit less in the coming year.

“The key for long-term success is getting the non-user to come on board,” said Kevin Higar, Technomic director. “One in five individuals is not aware of or has not seen a food truck, and one-third of individuals who are aware of them still haven’t purchased from one.”

The survey reflects a national audience so it’s likely that here in truck-friendly Portland most people are familiar with the idea of buying meals on wheels.

Other key findings:

  • 61 percent of consumers find out about mobile food trucks by stumbling upon them.
  • 84 percent of consumers who follow food trucks on social media do so at least once a week.
  • Three quarters of consumers who visit groups of food trucks buy food or beverages from two or more operators during a given meal.
  • 54 percent of customers who bought from a food truck said they would have otherwise patronized a quick-service restaurant.