Food Trucks: Surviving the Winter

Photo by Phaedra Wilkinson from MorgueFile.com

Food trucks aren’t new to the food scene by any means, but it really seems as though 2011 has been their year and will only continue to get better.

With innovative and groundbreaking marketing techniques, they have really made their place in the foodservice industry.   This has been done with instantaneous social media marketing, unique branding, eye-catching graphic designs and creative menu selections—so the groundwork for a successful 2012 has been laid down.

However, as winter has arrived, many states around the country will be hit with snow, ice and cold temperatures.  So after much success, winter weather can be worrisome for truck owners.

To Close, Or Not To Close, That Is the Question

Editor-in-Chief of Mobile Cuisine Magazine, Richard Myrick, said the reason a food truck will decide to stay open or not is based on what part of the country they are in.

“Looking South and West, most of the food trucks will thrive due to lower temps and more people walking around instead of spending time at the beach,” he said.  “In the north and Midwest, you’ll see a large number of trucks park for the winter.”

Again, certainly not all will park and shut down. In fact, there have been a few who will resort to other sources of income to carry them through.

Alternative Options to Continue Business

Photo from Scratch Truck, Indianapolis Food Truck

Fortunately for truck owners in an area with harsh winters, the fate of their business isn’t black and white.  There are more options than to just stay open or shut down.

“Some of the truck owners I have spoken with plan to work with friends who own restaurants so they can supplement their income while their trucks are off the streets,” Myrick said.

Concentrating on private indoor catering events or opening pop-up restaurants are other ways truck owners plan to supplement income.

Then, on another side of the spectrum, truck owners may head to a warmer area to maintain business.

“I have only heard of a few truck owners that plan to relocate to warmer temps, but this too is another route they can take if they don’t want to shutter their service due to the cold.”

Toughing It Out

Despite all of the alternative options, many food trucks will simply just tough out the winter weather.

Myrick said one of the biggest factors of how each truck owner will approach business is based on how they did the previous summer.

“For those who are counting on their truck for money during this winter, they will find a way to stay open,” he said, then noted some truck owners who thrived over the summer and were able to save may choose to park and re-open in the spring.

A few of the food trucks from Indianapolis Central follows on Twitter commented they will be staying open all winter long, including Scratchtruck—who said business has dropped some but they have to stay open.

“This is my job. As a start up, no other choice.”

If you’re a food truck owner, we’d love to hear what your plans are for the upcoming winter months. Feel free to comment below, write on our Facebook wall or tweet at us (@CRPRestaurant).

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