The History And Future Of Food Trucks

/ Industry History, Preventative Maintenance & Cleaning, Restaurant Tips / April 16

The food truck is an extremely hot trend right now, and owners and operators have had great success using social media to promote their businesses. But the mobile dining and street food concepts actually predate Facebook and Twitter by several hundred years. A look back in time reveals how mobile dining has evolved over the years and become the titan of industry it is today.

There are records of street vendors with push carts dating back to the late 1600s, but it was in 1866 that the chuckwagon changed life on the road for cowboys. A portable kitchen wagon that traversed cattle trails, the chuckwagon served peas, beans, corn, cabbage, and meat to hungry trailhands. In 1894, the idea was adapted to universities – sausage vendors set up carts outside dorms, and students flocked to the “dog wagons.” Ice cream trucks hit the streets in 1950, and in 1974 an old ice cream truck was converted into the nation’s first taco truck. As of 2010, food trucks have become a national craze, with restaurant organizations working to protect the rights of mobile food vendors.

In the past few years, food trucks have seen unprecedented growth and popularity, but the struggles of owning and operating a truck are ongoing. Operators must obtain permits, negotiate parking rights with the city, and drum up business while on the move – all while preparing and serving quality food! It’s a lot to take on. We recommend checking out’s best practices for food trucks as well as PBS’s list of things to know before starting up your own food truck.  Then we recommend taking the bull by the proverbial horns and hopping aboard this exciting trend!

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