1 comment on “The Great Food Truck Race is Kicking Off”

The Great Food Truck Race is Kicking Off

                The Great Food Truck Race is a welcome departure from the standard food network reality show featuring master chefs and elaborate kitchens. The Great Food Truck Race focuses on ‘gourmet’ food trucks, as they are pitted against each other to sell the most lunches and escape weekly elimination. The show offers unexpected insight into the daily lives of mobile food vendors, and travels with them as they travel from coast to coast selling their often unique signature meals. A large portion of the country is still weary at the thought of eating from food trucks, and something this show does well is advertising the true value of mobile food. The chefs who operate these trucks are often professionally acclaimed, and their food is nothing to look down upon.
                Season 2 premieres August 15th on the Food Network, and will feature eight new trucks from around the country. One of these trucks is New York City’s very own Korilla BBQ, though the vast majority is from California. Hosted by famed restaurateur Chef Tyler Florence, the show will certainly kick up some appetites and raise some awareness for gourmet food trucks. We’ll be back with our very own take on the premiere, come two weeks.
 
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com
0 comments on “Trucks and Social Media: What to do and What not to do”

Trucks and Social Media: What to do and What not to do

                    Social media platforms have recently become the most efficient way for food trucks to advertise to their customers. Twitter in particular allows food trucks to update their locations in real time, and develop a close group of devoted followers who will receive daily news and menu updates from the truck. Most trucks have begun to capitalize on Twitter already, yet there are certain rules to abide by when marketing through Twitter. In order to get the most out of their social media experience, I recommend that food trucks take the following steps in getting the most out of their tweets.
                    Twitter is an open exchange between people, not a one-way microphone to advertise yourself. Followers will become disengaged if you do not acknowledge them as well. This means food trucks should become actively engaged in their communities, responding to their followers and recognizing their peers to build a fully interactive experience. Generosity goes a long way on Twitter, promote others just as you would have them promote you and you will be sure to build up your credibility. Acting as a useful conduit for information will gain the trust of your followers, and eventually they will retweet your information and expose you to even more followers.
                   Displaying your personality through social media is also an important way to gain a following. Social media users do not just want to see a company drone, but would rather follow someone with a sense of humor, or a relatable personality. Make your tweets memorable and insightful, these will go a much longer way than humorless, informative tweets. None of these skills can be learned overnight, and it takes time to develop a loyal following. However through content-rich tweets that abide by the 140 character limit, food vendors can turn an ordinary tweet into an extraordinary one and make all the difference in their marketing technique.
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com
0 comments on “The Phenomenon of Food Ordering”

The Phenomenon of Food Ordering

The concept of ordering food online is not a foreign one to most of us, however just a few years ago it was almost unheard of. Now there are multiple websites offering similar services throughout the country, many specialized to the areas they serve. These websites offer a variety of options to their customers, and their flexibility is inevitably what keeps them coming back. However these websites can also present a potential threat to restaurants over time.
                One huge advantage of ordering food online is the elimination of waste. Waste can come in all forms, with one of the most annoying being the waste of our time. With online food ordering the food can come to you or you can pick it up when it’s ready. This means you no longer have to wait for your food to be prepared, and can do something valuable with your time until your food is ready. Online ordering also eliminates paper waste. Receipts and menus can be made a thing of the past by their digital counterparts. As sustainability gains prominence in today’s world, online ordering cuts down on consumption and doesn’t scrimp on service.
                The mass information that can be stored digitally also enables online ordering to become as successful as it is. Customers can track their orders, set preferences and essentially become a ‘regular’ through the website they order from. With advanced suggestion tips, websites can recommend dishes or restaurants to consumers, or simply suggest they order their favorite dish. Payment options are also streamlined in this process. Paying beforehand through credit card is safe and easy, and customer’s can essentially pay in whatever manner they prefer.
                The prevalence of online ordering comes with some serious concerns as well. The primary concern is towards the laziness of the customer, having food come to them at a nominal fee rather than getting exercise by seeking out a meal. Online ordering is diverse enough that customers can pick up their food as well, giving them the option to be as active as they wish. The more interesting scenario resulting from online ordering is the rise of a middleman and the relationship between the food service and the restaurant. Food ordering websites can gain a substantial restaurant base with increasing dependency on the service for customers. This can dramatically skew the power relationship, as restaurants come to depend on these services for a steady customer base. When a restaurant comes to depend on a third party ordering service then the service can control the vendor’s actions, forcing it to abide by certain rules or contracts, and increasing fees at will. In this sense a food service can monopolize restaurants over time and seize significant control over the market.
                This phenomenon however is no different than those that can occur in nearly every industry. Wal-Mart for example controls such a large share of the market that many of its suppliers are indebted to the company for business. The difference is that companies whose products are sold at Wal-Mart are often multinational corporations, whereas most restaurants are small businesses fighting for their stake in an overcrowded market. These restaurants have little means to protect themselves in such a situation, especially considering a food service website could corner a substantial share of the market. Food order websites simplify our lives and consolidate information for us, but unregulated they could disrupt and manipulate many small businesses.

At foodtoeat.com, we try to avoid such a level of control by seeking out new markets and vendors. Our strategy focuses largely on food trucks, which have never worked with a food ordering service before. Taking an alternate approach to this third part scenario, we work alongside these trucks to increase their customer base and reduce long lines. We’ve analyzed the pros and cons of food ordering and we are working on making this process as profitable as possible for every side of the equation. We increase traffic at food trucks and restaurants, we avoid all binding contracts and large overheads, we provide a service to many customers who wouldn’t have the time to take a break for a meal, and we reduce waste through paperless ordering. While still young, we at foodtoeat hope to streamline ordering food without disrupting the community.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

0 comments on “Food Genius: The Netflix for Food?”

Food Genius: The Netflix for Food?

Food Genius is a new application available for Android, iPhone and other platforms that acts as a customized food recommendation engine to help those who just cannot decide what to eat. It works in a similar way to Netflix in that users rate food they have tasted and enter in their preferences to receive customized suggestions based upon distinct flavors and ingredients.
                The app is based out of Chicago, and works with users and restaurants to help choose the perfect restaurant dish based upon a user’s taste profile. It’s no easy feat for technology to customize food based upon ingredients, and requires a great deal of understanding of each ingredient, cooking process and other variables that go into food preparation. The application links these variables together to classify how a dish would relate to each user’s taste profile. Reviews from across the internet are cross-referenced with the user’s preference to make impressively accurate recommendations.
                Food Genius’ founder, Justin Massa, says that what makes Food Genius unique is that it understands what makes a certain dish taste good, whether it be a crunch, smoothness or warmth. In this way Food Genius collects information from each dish and files them under its complex taxonomy system. Massa also notes that many user’s were not aware of what ingredients were in the food they eat out, and would sometimes rate an ingredient low without knowing that it’s in some of their favorite dishes. Because Food Genius is highly ingredient based, a working knowledge of what’s in the food we eat certainly helps the process along.
                Though based in Chicago now, Food Genius has over 150,000 dishes and is rapidly expanding. Expect to see this app in your area soon, and be ready to surrender your taste buds to this Netflix of food. To download this app, click here.
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com
0 comments on “The Future of Food Trucks in Our Cities”

The Future of Food Trucks in Our Cities

Food trucks have come under increased scrutiny this year as restaurants, store owners and police have clashed with them for limited real estate in Manhattan and other urban areas throughout the country. With trucks and carts becoming increasingly popular, more chain companies are looking to get involved in the mobile game; with Taco Bell and Jack in the Box unveiling their trucks, and even Trojan set to release a contraceptive truck.
                Legislators face a difficult decision ahead as they debate how to address these trucks in each city. While food trucks are hip, give entrepreneurs an ease of entry into the restaurant business, and serve a growing demand, they are able to tactfully maneuver throughout urban landscapes to follow crowds. This gives them an undeniable advantage over brick and mortar businesses, and their lack of rent fees makes it very difficult for these grounded businesses to remain competitive. In New York, discussions have been made to turn a parking lot in Long Island City into a type of food truck safe haven, where they could park without disturbing local businesses and traffic and attract visitors to their condensed location. The problem with this, food trucks would lose most of their lunch business in Manhattan, with no guarantee that their customers would commute to Long Island City, Queens.
                In cities across the US, legislators are restricting the movements of food trucks to specific areas so as to protect local businesses. Parking regulations are the most popular way to curtail their movement, as cities understand the potential value of food trucks, given that they are placed in a public space without too much business.
                Ultimately, food trucks create a dichotomy in urban areas because they can stimulate the economy and attract an eclectic group of visitors. However, they can also hurt preexisting businesses, clog up streets and release fumes into the air, disturbing residential areas. Though food trucks offer a distinct product and enliven certain areas of many cities, they must adhere to the rules of their trade and act responsibly around their brick and mortar peers, or else public support may collude with government regulation to send these mobile vendors far away.
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com
0 comments on “El Rey Del Sabor: Midtown Taco Cart”

El Rey Del Sabor: Midtown Taco Cart

El Rey Del Sabor is a small taco cart on 60th Street in Midtown. Though New York City often gets blamed for its subpar Mexican food, I decided to test these rumors and try some signature tacos from this authentic cart. I sampled a beef taco and an al pastor taco, both drenched with hot sauce as I requested. For those that are not familiar with al pastor, it is traditional marinated pork, cooked in a similar style to shawarma.  The al pastor I have had in California has been excellent, and I had understandably high expectations for this as well.
Sadly the al pastor underwhelmed me, the meat was drier than I anticipated and didn’t have that dynamic taste I had come to expect. The tacos had a good amount of cilantro, salsa and hot sauce, but the meat and tortillas could definitely have been improved upon. I felt similarly about the beef taco; not a bad taco by any means, but with some improvements in the meat preparation and tortilla selection, these could have been extraordinary tacos. The salsa was flavorful, hot sauce delicious and proportions just right for a $3 taco, but the tortilla was thick and bland. I’ve heard of taco makers recently investing more time and energy into tortilla preparation, which is one avenue El Rey Del Sabor may want to investigate. Tortillas are often overlooked for the innards of the taco, but they really are just as important. Overall, these weren’t bad tacos for New York at all, but did little to improve New York’s taco reputation in comparison to those that are closer to the border.
To order from El Rey del Sabor, click here.
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com
0 comments on “Uncle Gussy’s Traditional Greek Food”

Uncle Gussy’s Traditional Greek Food

I had been looking forward to eating at Uncle Gussy’s for some time, mostly because of the luscious description of their tzatziki sauce, made by the truck owners’ very own mother. In fact the website goes into great detail about their family’s longtime stake in the food industry; so armed with this knowledge I prepared myself for some excellent Greek food.
            The food was moderately priced, ranging from $4-$7 and featuring pitas, salads and rice platters. I opted for the lamb gyro rice platter, less messy than a pita. The owners were very friendly, the wait not too long (I beat the lunch rush) and the truck itself seemed extremely clean. I received a generous portion of lamb and rice.  In the corner was a small salad, and I received two small containers of tzatziki and hot sauce, which I promptly dumped on top of the whole concoction. The website did not let me down when it touted its tasty sauces. The cool, lemony flavor of the tzatziki sauce complemented with the lightly spiced, drier lamb meat perfectly. The hot sauce packed a perfect level of heat for me, and was especially invigorating mixed with the rice. The seasoned rice absorbed a lot of the lamb’s flavor, and the small salad provided a welcome break from the hearty meat and rice. All around the meal was satisfying and delicious, kudos to Mrs. Gussy for her secret tzatziki recipe. My only complaint was the amount of sauce I was provided. I could have dumped three containers of tzatziki on the platter and still wanted more. So my suggestion to you would be to ask for extra sauce, after all they are labeled as free on the menu.
To order from Uncle Gussy’s, click here .
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com
0 comments on “Food Trucks Far and Wide”

Food Trucks Far and Wide

In recent years food has become as trendy as various fashions, seasonally going in style and after time, drifting away into the recesses of our bellies, not to be thought of again. Whether it be cupcakes, super fruits or bacon, food crazes have become widespread with real implications in the food industry. Food trucks have capitalized on these fads in recent years, adding innovative elements of traditional cultural recipes to create contemporary twists on new ethnic dishes. Nationwide these mobile vendors are breathing new life into the industry, from Korean tacos in California to new express French food. Food trucks have all the resources at their disposal to create truly unique cuisine, and have been a staple in New York’s lunch scene for many years. While street vendors may have traditionally started selling hot dogs or mixed nuts, today’s vendors are selling sophisticated and highly stylized dishes with loyal fan followings. Street vendors have largely taken to Twitter to address their customers, alerting them about daily location changes amidst Manhattans sporadically patrolled streets. So what is it about these food trucks that have caught so much attention?
The most obvious answer is one you don’t even need to stop and think about…all it takes is a sniff. That’s right; the smell of delicious sizzling meats, tangy sauces and fried goodness suffuses throughout New York’s crowded streets, tempting even the haughtiest of eaters. In fact, food trucks are perfectly engineered to be an efficient lunch time choice based on their simple business model. Their hours of activity always collide with lunchtime, they avoid rent and many overhead costs, employ minimal staff, and the food is guiltlessly designed for the average office worker to pick up and enjoy in the comfort of his own desk. Thus, food trucks are designed to sync perfectly with a New Yorker’s bustling lifestyle. All too often our jobs demand so much out of us that in order to return home at a reasonable hour we forego certain luxuries, namely lunch. Food trucks have found their niche in these workers, not requiring seating for their busy customers who have a choice of parks, steps, or their own desks to eat at.
Food trucks don’t solely exist in New York however, and have strong presences in many urban areas. Los Angeles has an enormous food truck community, boasting an estimated 7000 taco trucks alone. Food trucks of different variety exist throughout the United States, such as Hawaii’s sprawling shrimp trucks. The key to some of their widespread success lies in their cultural roots. Glancing at food trucks across the nation, they all offer a taste of culture, homegrown recipes or unique fusion ideas. These cultures vary widely from Belgian waffles to Halal food, yet each promises a taste of something new and exciting. With more Americans opening up their palettes to ethnic foods, food trucks provide an affordable means to sample cuisine that ordinarily one would have to pay upwards of fifteen dollars for at a restaurant.
Many of these trucks have been dubbed “specialty trucks”, for the exotic cuisine they serve and for their unique truck designs and catchy names. These specialty trucks tend to roam around their cities more, with a recognizable design for their loyal customer base. They garner special attention for their elusive, unique offers, and for many customers of these trucks, catching them is a large part of the eating experience. Some of these trucks have come to take on a legendary status, like New York’s Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, or the growing fleet of Kogi trucks in Los Angeles. These trucks involve citygoers in an authentic experience, searching for the trucks, finding somewhere to sit and eat, and then relaying the savory experience to friends and family. Many hip urbanites find a definite charm in these trucks, supporting small business and maintaining an outdoor, anti-establishment feel. In many ways these food trucks respond to an entire generation who grew up on junk food, casting aside the pretenses of five star restaurants for a truly satisfying and affordable meal. Food trucks serve a wide range of Americans, and gain new followers every day. Their mobile nature allows them to achieve immense profitability, while continually pushing the limits on their exotic food. Though they have been increasingly pushed out of popular areas by police pressure, rest assured that their Twitter feeds will keep you in the loop; and as long as we continue to salivate when we catch a scent from blocks away, there will always be a place for food trucks in our cities.
DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com
2 comments on “From Trucks to Cart”

From Trucks to Cart

                Food trucks can draw a lot of attention very quickly, through flashy designs, unique food and general word of mouth. However recent police crackdowns have limited their whereabouts and forced many vendors to reconsider their overall strategy. Police are able to relocate food trucks based on a multi-decade court regulation that declared no vendor can sell merchandise from a vehicle parked in a metered space. For food trucks, this means that at a whim they can be ticketed and forced to move from a location they might have frequented for several years. While trucks are subject to these regulations, food carts manage to sidestep this archaic law because they can sell food from right on a sidewalk. What does this mean for the average New Yorker? Your favorite breakfast carts, halal meat carts and other smaller vendors will be on the same streets you’ve always remembered them. For food truck owners this means they have an important decision ahead; evaluating the worth of scrapping the truck for a cart. Several trucks, including the well-known Wafels & Dinges have already adopted this strategy. I’ve decided to list some pros and cons of the food cart, granted that the ultimate decision will be based on the culture and working structure of each individual vendor. Let’s just hope more carts and trucks don’t start clashing for space like they’ve started too around the country.

Pros
Cons
No more tickets
Much smaller than a food truck
Cheaper than a food truck (15-20k)
Hard to move from place to place
Forget Twitter- One location
Additional expense of a cart and a truck
No forced relocations
Less menu options
Less obstructive in crowded city streets
Additional vehicle necessary to tow cart
Steady customer base from perm. position

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com