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The food truck is as ubiquitous an icon of urban America today as a roadside motel. In August 2013, as a testament to the food truck as the new icon of American heritage, the first World Food Truck Rally was held in Tampa, Florida.
Over the years, food trucks have evolved in the US – from mobile canteens during World War II to grease trucks on university campuses, construction sites and main thoroughfares. An increasingly pluralistic and diverse population has resulted in food trucks now serving a multitude of cuisines, offering not only affordable but also gourmet and ethnic food. The recent growth of the food truck business has been cited as a consequence of the last recession which saw a shutdown of high-end restaurants and unemployment amongst chefs. The food truck business, with its mass reach and comparatively low start-up costs, gave many people a great startup opportunity amidst a recession.
Food trucks across America sell everything from Beykoz kebabs to biryani, which is great news for America’s growing Muslim population. Specialty food trucks offer American Muslims options of zabeeha meat and authentic food from the Middle East and Asia; kabab rolls, bun kababs, chicken tikkas and even fusion offerings, such as nihari tacos. The food truck has been the source of many rags to riches success story among Muslims.
The food truck phenomenon is slowly catching on in Pakistan. Karachi’s Seaview and a few shopping areas in the country are seeing a mushrooming of these ‘meals on wheels’ outlets. However, old practitioners in the business offer two pieces of advice to newbies. First, while low-cost (compared to a full-service restaurant) the food truck is governed by pretty much the same legal rules and business dynamics and also has significant startup costs; so have the savings to see you through the initial period. Second, to make it a success you need to be part of the show and love cooking. It’s not a business run by remote control.
– Tariq Ziad Khan
First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 8, 2013.