Why Food Trucks Have Become So Popular in Jacksonville

With over a 100 food trucks, it is safe to say food trucks in Jacksonville have become a trend. From Mexican food to BBQ, and fruit pies to cupcakes- there are so many different types of food experience these trucks have to offer.  Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. when it comes to land mass, and food trucks are trying to take full advantage of bringing their culinary art to the people. What is fascinating about food trucks is how much sense they make, but it is only recently that they have become a trend. The major companies in Jacksonville are in clusters all throughout the city. The one thing these places have in common is a lunch time filled with people looking for a quick and delicious bite to eat. Depending on where you live or work, food may not always be a convenience- food trucks in Jacksonville give you just that. This is one of the biggest reasons they are so popular all over the U.S. so let’s take a look at what else makes these trucks a success in Jacksonville specifically.

4 reasons Why they have grown in Jacksonville

The food is affordable

Jacksonville is in a period of growth, especially when it comes to new companies, new housing, and new restaurants. Unfortunately, that growth does not always take into account everyone’s bank account. An article on the local news recently reported that rent process went up 5.1% in the last year. This is likely due to that new growth- where new apartment complexes are popping up left and right and the ones that existed before are ramping up improvements and changes in order to compete- which also causes prices to rise. New restaurants are testing out the waters too and charging for the experience. On any given day, depending on the lifestyle you choose, the price-tag can be pretty hefty. Food trucks to the rescue! No surprises- except maybe how delicious they are. You see the prices up front and you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Get a drink if you want, sit wherever you want, but your money is spent wisely the way you want it. But you are guaranteed to almost always spend under $15.  

They have been a proven success

Food trucks are said to serve about 2.5 billion people every single day. Based on that number, I think it is safe to say they have been a success. For those who do not have the capital to open- up their own traditional restaurant, this has turned into the perfect alternative. There is also a lot less maintenance, staff, and additional costs associated. When it comes it sit-down restaurants, appearances go a long way and that can be costly. Starting a truck is by no means free, but the costs can be significantly less. Some food trucks have been around for a while now and become a staple of a city, as some have in Jacksonville. But some have been fortunate enough to experience enough growth to go from food truck to restaurant. Here in Jacksonville, The Happy Grilled Cheese and Sweeto Burrito are examples of businesses that are fortunate enough to have both formats, starting off with an idea and a truck and have grown into much more. Sweeto Burrito can be found around the nation, while The Happy Grilled Cheese started in Jacksonville and opened up its brick and mortar location just last year.  Another similar example of this success is Cousins Maine Lobster– pretty much all things Lobster on a food truck. This was even featured on Shark Tank where a deal was struck and it now resides in Jacksonville as a brick-and-mortar location. They now have food trucks and 4 physical locations total around the U.S. – talk about growth!

They can go almost anywhere

Food trucks are not just about cheaper start- up costs- but they are about bringing great food directly to you- fast and easy. In a place like Jacksonville, the area is so spread out and some areas just aren’t yet developed enough to have all that you need. Others are in the process of developing, which can mean areas with lots of congestion and difficult to get to. Food trucks often keep people from having to get into their cars and travel to the food. Instead, they are often across the street, over on the next block, or next door. You can then grab the food and choose to eat it in your office, outside somewhere, or anywhere of your choosing. Just last year, downtown added what they called the Block Urban Food Park along Hogan Street. The plan- to have several trucks during lunch time and open during the evening when special events take place.  The idea behind it, to add some excitement to downtown, while knowing it could take time for developers to come in and add elements that require long term planning. Another example of food trucks going any and everywhere, and Jacksonville taking full advantage is in Clay County District Schools. They have decided to have a food truck that will travel to each high school on a rotational basis for the current school year. The food is meant for all free, reduced, and paid students and has a dual purpose in that is will allow students to learn about business and culinary in terms of running a food truck. With a truck that can go almost anywhere, it can be used in so many ways to fit different formats, audiences, and locations.

It’s a good way to test out a flavor or style

As a business owner or a consumer, you can never be sure of how much you will like something or how much others will. As a consumer, maybe you are on the conservative side when it comes to trying new things. Well a food truck is the perfect way to sample a new kind food or to get over your fears altogether without the commitment of going into a restaurant for the full experience. This comes in handy for a place like Jacksonville. While large in land mass, Jacksonville is not breaking the top 10 or 20 for the most diverse city, so what better way to introduce people to new cultures and experiences than through food. One of my favorites is a truck called Twisting Roots and the name literally comes from combining the roots of Mississippi and Puerto Rico into gourmet sandwiches. Another great truck that allows you to step outside the norm is Hapa Li Hawaiian Food Truck. This truck distinguishes itself with large portions and food inspired by a Hawaiian and Filipino family. The list goes on and on of families and entrepreneurs from all different cultures bringing their style to Jacksonville. Even an item like tacos and BBQ can be experienced in so many different ways depending on the background of those making them and their own personal touch on the food. The styles and types of trucks you can find here in Jacksonville are becoming endless and it is now easier than ever before to find them.   

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