Who would have thought about walking up to a vehicle and ordering food that, well, is made inside the vehicle? The food truck business has come with mixed reviews throughout the United States. While some areas embrace the business concept, some completely outlaw it. Regardless of your take on the industry, it is now thriving in places across the U.S.
Not everyone has a positive view of food trucks. In fact, many jurisdictions do not allow them to operate at all. Some have tough restrictions, such as San Bernardino, where at one time it was required you obtain an event permit in addition to a health permit. Since rescinding that law, San Bernardino joined every other county in California and now allows food trucks as long as they are inspected by the health department.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Rosie Solice. I met with Rosie at the Third Thursday Food Festival at, guess where? Right next door to the San Bernardino County Building in San Bernardino City. The event takes place every 3rd Thursday of the month and the parking lot is packed with food trucks from all over Southern California. “It’s a nice treat to have something new,” added Solice. “I compare it to going to a carnival without all the nonsense that comes with it [referring to the crowds and rides].”
San Bernardino County is actually taking a page from others throughout the country and considering easing food truck laws even further. The current discussion is to completely leave the food truck business licensing up to the individual jurisdictions (Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino City, Fontana, etc.) who can then enact their own regulations.
And yes, I did eat some of everything that was available (approximately 10 different trucks). While Smoke’em If You Got’em BBQ was my favorite, Cousins Maine Lobster was the busiest. After waiting in line for approximately 20 minutes I found out why. Where else can you go to get a lobster roll of that quality for under $15?
Food trucks used to be popular in larger cities with enough people to support them. However, the business model has changed slightly thanks to television shows such as Food Truck Wars and The Great Food Truck Race. These shows have become so popular that everyone in the U.S. now wants a taste. In the past, food trucks would pull up to curbs and open for business. Now, you can track food trucks on Twitter and mobile apps so you know exactly where to meet them. This has allowed people to enjoy the experience without living in a big city.
The food truck industry is quickly expanding. Don’t believe me, just ask Cousins Maine Lobster. What started out as a single food truck in 2012 is now a thriving company with 10 franchises, backed by funding thanks to the television show Shark Tank.
If anything, make it a point to find one and try it out. With expansion and competition, you get great food at a great price from one of the most unconventional locations you would imagine. As for me, I’ll see you on the 3rd Thursday in San Bernardino.