On a recent trip to Puerto Rico I found myself diving into a rotisserie chicken that I bought from a van on the side of the road. At one point I looked up, salty, tender meat in my bare hand, and thought, “Why, oh why, can’t Boston accommodate my impulsive need to buy and devour an entire chicken?” Well, it seems that my wishes were sent to some sort of higher power because this week Boston unveiled the winners of what they called the “Food Truck Challenge” and now three food trucks are stationed at City Hall Plaza until October 28th. Fun roadside food for all!
These three new food trucks will be stationed at City Hall Plaza all summer, and with enthusiastic responses to the portable kitchens, the City of Boston is asking residents to help propose new sites for future food truck locations. It’s all exciting and hopefully this summer there will be a collection of locations where food trucks can stop and offer a rotation of different cuisines and flavors for local residents and workers to enjoy.
As I was thinking about my future favorite food truck I was wondering how I’ll know where to find it on any given day. Thankfully I was reminded of food trucks’ secret weapon: SOCIAL MEDIA. With Boston’s newfound love of the roving-cuisine phenomenon, how else would the rest of the city know where they can partake were it not for the constant flow of information hitting our newsfeeds? There are apps and Twitter users specifically dedicated to the locations of food trucks in certain cities, like Mike Krell of @AustinFoodCarts. Sharing reviews and locations allows users and followers to keep abreast of new additions to the scene and where they can find their existing favorites. And with Twitter’s fairly recent addition that allows users to “tag” their locations, food trucks themselves can announce where they are for the day without detailing a specific location, because users are able to simply click on the most recent tweet. Food trucks and pop-up restaurants don’t only use Twitter and Facebook to alert followers and fans of their locations, but also to announce menu options for the day, special deals, celebrity visitors (Menino?!), and also to post photos of their food and surroundings.
Social media is an ideal platform for these roving wonders as it provides a portable and easy broadcast service for the them; owners can easily post new menu items to Facebook while on the road to their next stop without breaking stride. This is also good because, for the most part, the messages that food trucks need to send to their consumers tend to be short. Can you detail three menu items in fewer than 140 characters? I’ll bet you could. However it is the constant flow of information that makes social media perfect, because should weather conditions change or the planned location be unavailable, messages can be sent out to fans and followers that let them know of any minute-to-minute bends in the road.
Using services like Facebook and Twitter is also a good option as it allows consumers to feel involved with the new phenomenon – locals are not looking simply to be fed, but to participate with this new cultural change to the Boston landscape. Momogoose, one of the winning food trucks that offers “South and Southeast Asian Bistro” cuisine, tweets back and celebrex generic name forth with followers on their Twitter page which further engages them with the experience. Followers tweet Momogoose about their positive meal experiences, but also about changes that can be made to the dishes. This exchange is something that is important for the owners to know so they hear feedback from consumers, although what they choose to do with that information is up to them. Social media allows for this consumer involvement in an open arena, which is something that previously was not possible.
I know I’m not the only one who is excited to try out these “chow wagons,” but I may be the only one who is extremely disappointed if there isn’t one with whole rotisserie chickens parked outside my office on a daily basis. Maybe I should start sending out tweets to see if anyone will listen, or even open my own truck…