Millennials are coming to Jacksonville in droves with opportunities mounting left and right. The generation born in the early 80s to the early 2000s is very different than those that came before us. With more apartment complexes and restaurants popping up then we can keep track of. St. Johns Town center is a perfect example of this, among other areas, but does this area really represent what millennials are looking for? Fast food can be found on one side of the street, while a more upscale sit- down restaurant is usually located on the other. But this newness also means more crowds, longer waits, and sometimes an atmosphere that’s really not all that thrilling.
As millennials we are all about the pace of things. We want immediate access and we want something that makes sense to us. Whether it’s something we can follow on social media or something that just gets our mentality to have things that are honest, transparent, and cost effective. Millennials are not concerned about staying at the overworked job for 20 years that has nothing unique or different to offer or buying a house somewhere just because we started earning a regular paycheck. We do things a little bit differently and tend to not follow the same rules. We say no to things that do not make sense to us or do not agree with the way we think. We bring this same mentality into everything- and our food is no exception.
Food trucks are very familiar to us in Jacksonville, and depending on where you live or work, it could be something you get to see or experience daily. Food trucks have been around for years, but it is only in the last 10 years that they have become so immensely popular. Elements like the recession, as well as the lifestyle of millennials, are big contributing factors for the surge in popularity. These trucks have come from being referred to as “roach coaches” to start-ups for those wanting their own businesses and not having the money for a sit- down location; Or chefs trying to launch their careers. This industry makes billions of dollars a year and I think millennials are likely the reason to thank for that and in Jacksonville- it is no different.
Food trucks might not be something your mom and dad understand, but in Jacksonville, especially as a millennial, it is impossible not to love and appreciate. We are all about starting our own businesses and that’s exactly what these food trucks are doing. We can appreciate that and love the transparency that comes with this method. We see who is making the food, we can connect with them, and our food arrives in front of us, fast and fresh. We do not need to pay for some over-rated experience when we can get what we want, a good meal, without any complications. We understand what we are paying for when It comes to a food truck and that is what counts This way of experiencing food provides the ultimate transparency that people outside our generation do not always appreciate-providing us good quality food and not being afraid to show us the who and the how.
One of our favorite things about this transparency is the authenticity that the trucks stick to. They don’t try to combine a bunch of different options just to make money, but instead they bring their “A” game to the dishes they are most proud of. This could be one item that has been made into several different menu options. Without having a sit-down, a lot of variety is not even necessary. Stick to what you are great at! Usually it’s a style, a special sauce, a flavor to a dish you may have had before- but never quite like this. If you have ever asked a food truck owner what you should get- be ready to be intrigued by several different selections. They don’t just want your money, but they really want you to enjoy the experience so you will be back for more. As millennials, we appreciate that because, like it or not, we like when people appreciate us and show it. This is the same mentality we bring to our jobs and when we don’t get this approach, we never have a problem moving on.
Because of the nature of what a food truck is, it feels easier to trust. You are putting it all out there for us to see. The truck and the people in it want you to appreciate their food as much as they do and you feel that when you get your food from them. They want you to keep coming back and know that the experience is so important because a millennial is also not afraid to get on google or yelp and let you know where you went wrong. The food truck experience is like no other and maybe that’s the best part about it. Sometimes it is a mystery which truck is going to show up at your job or down the street, and that can be part of the fun. But we also love the idea of following where the trucks are on social media, because when we find a good one, we want to make sure we know where it is at all times. Yes, that can be scary, because that doesn’t just apply to food trucks of course.
Food trucks also keep us from having to plan too far ahead. They can be anywhere at a moment’s notice. Many areas in Jacksonville do not have as many restaurants as some may like and food trucks have been an easy fix for this. Some areas just don’t have the space to build anymore restaurants, so again a food truck is to the rescue.