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Food trucks are one of the hottest trends in the restaurant industry right now, and consumers are showing increasing interest in mobile foodservice, new research by the National Restaurant Association confirms:
- Nearly six out of 10 (59 percent) would be likely to visit a food truck if their favorite restaurant offered one, up from 47 percent just one year ago;
- Nearly one-fifth (18 percent) saw a food truck in their community this summer;
- More than one-quarter (28 percent) of those who saw a food truck this summer made a mobile foodservice purchase.
“Convenience is a major driver in restaurant growth, and food trucks are certainly a convenient option by essentially bringing the restaurant to the consumer,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association. “Our research shows that in just one year, the number of consumers who say they would be likely to visit a food truck has increased significantly. We also found that food trucks have a more noticeable presence in communities in the West and Northeast than in other parts of the United States.”
“Though food trucks are often equated with chefs and entrepreneurs, they also present opportunities for operators of established restaurants to expand their operations and presence, as a majority of consumers say they would visit a food truck run by their favorite restaurant. Mobile foodservice can be a good way to extend an existing restaurant brand beyond the four walls of the establishment,” Riehle says.
The National Restaurant Association’s new consumer survey also found that:
- Consumers living in the West (29 percent) and Northeast (24 percent) were much more likely than those in the South (15 percent) and the Midwest (9 percent) to see a food truck parked in their community this summer;
- When asked how they typically found the food truck they visited, 73 percent said they just saw it on the street, 54 percent said they selected it from an area where food trucks typically gather, 39 percent found out from a friend, and 13 percent found it through social media;
- Adults with children (70 percent) were more likely than those without children (52 percent) to say that they would patronize a food truck if it was offered by their favorite restaurant;
- A solid majority of younger consumers said they would be likely to visit a food truck if offered by their favorite restaurant; more than two-thirds of those age 18-44 compared with only 38 percent of those 65 or older.
The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,004 American adults August 25-27, 2011, about food trucks.