From humble beginnings as roach coaches to the modern-day gourmet trucks that grace the streets, food trucks have come a long way in the world of corporate catering. While these mobile eateries have been around for over a century, it’s only in recent years that they’ve gained popularity as a catering option for corporate events. So how did we get here? Let’s take a look at the evolution of corporate food truck catering over the years.
The Early Years: Roach Coaches and Chuck Wagons
In the early 1900s, food trucks were primarily known as “roach coaches” and were often associated with construction sites and other blue-collar workplaces. These mobile kitchens were nothing like the modern gourmet trucks we see today; instead, they served up simple, inexpensive meals like hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches. While they weren’t the most glamorous dining option, they were a convenient and affordable way for workers to grab a quick bite on the job.
As time went on, food trucks began to evolve. In the 1920s and ’30s, “chuck wagons” became popular in rural areas, serving up hearty meals to cowboys and other ranch workers. These early food trucks were often nothing more than a wagon equipped with a stove and cooking utensils, but they were instrumental in feeding hungry workers who were miles away from the nearest town.
The 21st Century: The Rise of Gourmet Food Trucks
Fast forward to the 21st century, and the food truck industry has exploded. No longer relegated to construction sites and rural areas, food trucks have become a trendy dining option in cities across the country. Gourmet food trucks serving everything from sushi to lobster rolls have popped up in urban areas, attracting foodies and casual diners alike.
With the rise of gourmet food trucks came the popularity of food truck catering for corporate events. Companies began to see food trucks as a unique and exciting way to feed employees and clients at meetings, conferences, and other events. The customizable menus and convenient, on-site service offered by food trucks make them a great option for companies looking to add some flavor to their events.
Food Truck Catering Today: A New Level of Sophistication
Today, food truck catering has reached a new level of sophistication. While some trucks still serve up classic street food, many have expanded their menus to include more upscale options like gourmet burgers, tacos with unique fillings, and artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches. In addition, many food trucks now offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, catering to a wider variety of dietary needs and preferences.
One trend that has emerged in recent years is the “fusion” food truck. These trucks blend different culinary traditions to create unique and unexpected flavor combinations. For example, you might find a truck that serves Korean-style tacos or Italian-inspired sandwiches with artisanal meats and cheeses.
Food trucks have also become more advanced technologically. Many trucks now have onboard kitchens equipped with state-of-the-art cooking equipment and refrigeration systems. In addition, some food trucks have apps or online ordering systems that allow customers to pre-order meals or track the truck’s location in real-time.
Food Truck Catering in the Post-COVID World
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the food truck industry. With the cancellation of many large-scale events, food truck operators have had to pivot to new business models, such as offering online ordering and delivery services. Some food trucks have even partnered with local breweries or wineries to offer “drive-thru” dining experiences.
As the world begins to reopen, food truck catering is likely to make a comeback. In fact, some industry experts predict that food truck catering
will become even more popular in the post-COVID world, as companies look for safe and socially distant catering options for their events.
In response to the pandemic, many food truck operators have implemented safety measures to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers. For example, some trucks have installed plexiglass barriers between the customer and the cashier, while others have switched to contactless payment methods.
Overall, the evolution of food truck catering over the years has been a fascinating journey. From the simple roach coaches of the early 1900s to the gourmet trucks of today, food trucks have come a long way. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly presented challenges for the industry, food trucks continue to be a unique and exciting catering option for companies and events of all kinds. So next time you’re at a corporate event, be sure to keep an eye out for the food truck – you might just discover your new favorite meal!