Monstered Trucks: Are food vans history?

I love Melbourne’s food trucks.


In theory.

In reality I went to the Taco Truck one time when it was parked in Fitzroy North, not so far from me. I felt like I was getting ripped off paying $12 for three little tacos and left hungry.

But today, shock! A report suggests the whole food truck movement is coming apart at the seams. Melbourne now boasts 52 food trucks, Good Food claims. Seven are for sale according to the story. (I could only see two, including this coffee van for $179,000.)

ImageThe report follows a series of articles in The Age in which they claimed Brunswick Street was a “struggle street”. The same journalist, one Alana Schetzer, wrote that story, scraping together 13 Brunswick street venues that had closed in a four year period. In a street that must have a hundred eating places, that’s actually pretty good going.

This latest story does not suggest the death of the truck. Far from it. 

If you look at the statistics for Victoria, they show a healthy scene is driven by fierce natural selection. There were 9100 cafes and restaurants operating at the start of the most recent financial year for which there is data. 1560 closed their doors. 1930 opened up. 

Like a phoenix. From the ashes of one hospitality dream rises another.

Victoria also had 6700 take away food shops. 1220 closed and 1210 opened.

What’s happened with food trucks is simply the maturation of the scene. Next, the weakest competitors will be replaced by savvy operators with actual hospitality experience. Jacques Reymond isn’t doing anything, for example.  The next food truck could be a Rolls Royce. 

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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

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