by Teri Link
Food trucks have been around in one form or another for many years. Dating back to the Roman era, food carts have always been one way of reaching people where they are. The first big change in the industry came in the 1970s (think Taco trucks in LA), and the current iteration of food trucks started in 2008 when the confluence of social media, truck catering technology, and a growing interest in street food caused the industry to explode. Adding to this, the recession of 2008 forced a lot of chefs to reconsider their livelihood – and many of them started over with a food truck.
While opening a food truck sounds like a lot of fun, as the former owner of one, I know what’s actually involved. Obtaining your vehicle and funding, developing menus, applying for permits, and more takes a lot of preparation and thought. But the rewards mostly outweigh the costs, as reflected in the number of food trucks that have sprung up in Dubuque and the surrounding area in the past ten years. For some, a food truck is the first step before opening a brick-and-mortar location. For others, it’s added after owning a restaurant to expand its reach. In both cases the winners are not only the owners, but the public as well.
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