Small town food truck ideas

A colorful food trailer at a farmer's market

Katharine & Company’s trailer serves up breakfast burritos at the farmer’s market in Beaumont, Texas. Photo (CC) by Sheila Scarborough.

Today, food isn’t limited to restaurants. Food trucks, pop up cafes, and other mobile food options are taking hold. But what works for big cities doesn’t necessarily work for small towns. What are the rural options for mobile food?

In northwest Oklahoma, we commonly see barbecue trailers and trucks. At events like festivals and fairs, food trailers are the usual. And there’s a long history of roadside farm stands and truck sales. With our recent oil boom, we’re seeing food trucks used to feed workers on job sites way outside the city limits.

The urban food truck trend is more about better-quality food, more specialties and creative cuisine in this stripped-down format. Most focus on a single specialty. There are trucks for grilled cheese, noodles, fusion cuisine, even cupcakes. You’ll see them brightly painted and decorated to draw you in. Most use social networks to share their daily locations. Atlanta has a section of their farmers market dedicated to food trucks. Now, food scooters may be the next new trend.  Thanks to Master Card Business @MasterCardBiz for sharing that link.

Small Town Examples

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, has Norma’s Pupuseria y Taqueria. She serves El Salvadorian and Mexican street food from a food truck, my friends at Wynnewood State Bank tell me. Then there’s the ‘wiches Cauldron just outside of Ottawa in Sittsville, Canada. Rural Hill Cultural Center in North Carolina is hosting a Food Truck Rally on July 26.

So the trend is definitely making in-roads.

Is your small town short on usable buildings that will meet code for a restaurant? Fitting out a food truck may be a less expensive option, and will let you reach out to other nearby towns for a bigger market.

But there are more ways to innovate. Here are a couple of ideas.

Jennifer Campbell aka @plowwife ‏tweeted from her tractor:
“Why can’t farms have beer carts that go from field to field-tractor to tractor like golf courses do for golfers? #icoulduseacoldone”

Amy Urbach @amyurbach tweeted while on a road trip:
“Do you think we could find a pizza delivery that would deliver on the highway???”

(No, I don’t advocate drinking and plowing.)

What could you do with more mobile food in a small town?

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.
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