Food trucks are predicted to be the next big culinary trend all food businesses are aiming to ride on. The trend, that has recently hit Indian roads, is being seen as a great business opportunity for brands that have started to recognise changing consumer preferences favoring unique cuisine. With trucks serving some delicious meals at reasonable prices setting up around town, these food trucks have certainly become a part of our culture. And we, as a generation of hungry and inquisitive foodies, are loving it! “We need more of them!” says Aayush Vyas, a resident of Baner. “It’s a convenient, affordable, delicious and most importantly interesting food option”, quips in Arjun Negi, a resident of NIMB Road who swears by the food trucks in his area.
As food trucks are being used by brands all over the world to showcase culinary talent in terms of fusion food, out-of-the-box ideas and international cuisines, brands in Pune are seeing this as a great investment opportunity.
So what brought about this revolution in the city?
“I have been a part of the food industry since the last 15 years. I saw how the food truck revolution had changed things abroad, and I could see the trend slowly catching up in India. I hopped onto the bandwagon since I realised it was the perfect opportunity at that moment. I saw that customers wanted to experiment with their food, I saw the restaurant industry reaching a saturation point. And I also saw the promise of a high return on investment” says Aditya, owner of Pimp My Wok, an oriental food truck in Baner.
Let’s talk about higher returns
A term that almost all food truck owners seemed to resonate with. Mohit Sethia, owner of Mexican Rodeo, a new food truck to enter the list of food trucks in Viman Nagar, shared his thoughts with us. “You get the maximum visibility with a food truck. A food brand that is mobile catches eyeballs, and that’s exactly what worked for us. What started off as a dream in Surat has now reached Pune. The food truck business is a low investment and low risk business, and after quitting a full time job to follow my dreams of being in the food industry, this seemed like a viable option in terms of investment.” says Mohit.
Henny Mirchandani, owner of the famous waffle truck Henny’s Gourmet Food Truck on NIBM Road, agrees with Mohit, “I had to do something of my own, the pressure was getting to me. I wanted to make use of my passion. And a food truck made sense in terms of investment.”
And are the consumers loving it?
“Food trucks are fun, but the concept needs to evolve,” says Abhishek Sahadevan, a resident of Kondhwa. “Food trucks are supposed to be mobile, they are supposed to cover the entire city. What we have now is a concept that operates on a restaurant model where we have to go to a particular spot to eat” There are few who agree with Abhishek, while a majority of the crowd seems to be enjoying the experience these wheels of joy have to provide. Mihir Rajurkar, owner of Burgertron, a food truck in Viman Nagar, feels that the youth is more receptive to this new revolution. “The youth is open to experimenting with food, and are okay with standing on the roads and eating their food.” Agreeing with Mihir, Tarun Chandiramani owner of Dine Fine, a food truck in NIBM Road, says, “Most of the customers prefer to sit down and enjoy their meal as it dictates a level of comfort, especially the older generation.”
But it’s not been completely hunky dory all this while
“We have been doing fine, but things could get a lot better if we had a few systems in place. We need something that makes it easy to know the procedure to start a food truck, or else you’re roaming around like a headless chicken.” says Henny. Mihir has something to add on similar lines, “We need people to be more accepting. We need support of the crowd to get sales going.” Mohit goes ahead to agree that support from the local municipal bodies would make a big difference to the operations of a food truck. “Food truck owners have to battle with authorities, licenses and other legal formalities. There are no set of rules that explain how to establish your food truck in a city. Sometimes even the local corporations do not have a friendly approach towards you. Legislation issues raise sustainability concerns. Plus you’re competing with restaurants that already have a loyal base of customers” explains Aditya.
So do we see more food trucks opening up in the city? From the response the existing food trucks have been getting, it seems like the youth in Pune is ready to welcome this change.
This article was first published here.