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Anyone with knowledge or experience with food trucks... I have a few questions.

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t0mb3rt Mar 2, 2013 02:01 AM

I've heard that average food truck prices are more expensive in Boston compared to other, more "food truck centric" towns like San Francisco or Portland. Can anyone confirm this and does anyone know why this might be?

And for anyone with food truck experience in other cities, what makes other cities more suited for food trucks than Boston?

Thanks for any and all help. This is actually for a school project.

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    mkfisher RE: t0mb3rt Mar 2, 2013 07:01 AM

    Places like Bon Me, Mei Mei, Clover and the former Staff Meal all offer pretty large meals for $6 or less. I find it hard to believe things in San Fran would be much cheaper than that. I

    1. MC Slim JB RE: t0mb3rt Mar 2, 2013 07:30 AM

      Might be interesting to look at L.A. food truck culture, which is rather more extensive than just about any U.S. city I've visited.

      I don't have a lot of anecdotal evidence, but I've gotten some amazing tacos for $2/throw from trucks run by Mexican-American operators, same as at a modest taqueria, whereas many food trucks are run by Anglos doing something "gourmet" at twice the price.

      Bon Me's banh mis are $6, where a short walk away in Chinatown, Chinese- or Vietnamese-run shops charge $3 for a sandwich that is arguably superior.

      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

      1. kobuta RE: t0mb3rt Mar 2, 2013 03:38 PM

        I find the more recent Boston food trucks also try to be a little more chic (Mei Mei, Bon Me) and trendy, rather than just a focus to supply quick food cheaply. Maybe it's because of the locations and audience, or because it's the new test for those who find diving first into a restaurant to be too big a risk.

        If you look around MIT campus, before the Boston food truck scene came along, you have many options at the $5 price point (even Clover). Back in my college days, the local food trucks weren't concerned with trying new food concepts; it was all about feeding hungry students quickly and cheaply.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kobuta
          FinnFPM RE: kobuta Mar 2, 2013 06:33 PM

          Clover held at $5 for a while, but since last summer, their sandwiches have been $6.

          As for why Boston's food trucks might be a little more "expensive" than those in other cities, the answer is simple: because people will pay it.

          1. re: FinnFPM
            BostonZest RE: FinnFPM Mar 3, 2013 03:32 AM

            And because they have build trucks to the city specs, are licensed, inspected and pay rent for the their parking spaces.

            During the blizzard there was a discussion about who should clear the spaces they had paid to rent, the food truck operators or the city.

            Penny
            http://www.bostonzest.com/

            1. re: BostonZest
              mcel215 RE: BostonZest Mar 3, 2013 03:36 AM

              Wow Penny, I didn't know this. I guess I watched the TV show with the Food Truck race and assumed they parked where they wanted or could find a spot. Lots of overhead for them huh? Thanks.

              www.saffron215.blogspot.com

              1. re: mcel215
                L2k RE: mcel215 Mar 4, 2013 07:59 AM

                They are tightly scheduled as to their locations and strictly prohibited from parking in many places.

        2. n
          nasilemak RE: t0mb3rt Mar 3, 2013 04:10 AM

          Overall there is also less creative fare to be found in Boston food trucks.

          1. Unfoodie RE: t0mb3rt Mar 4, 2013 04:15 AM

            I recently talked with a person who worked in the prep kitchen used by some of the trucks. Their experience left much to be desired compared to other kitchen they had worked in.

            1. v
              valcfield RE: t0mb3rt Mar 4, 2013 08:06 AM

              DC is a very food truck centric city, and having spent last summer there, I think their average prices are significantly higher than Boston's (though hard to control for general economics between cities).

              That said, there were some exceptions, and i think generally a big difference in price, essentially, is between those food trucks that are essentially an evolution of street vendors, and thus are aiming for that style of food and accompanying price point, versus food trucks that are aiming to provide a mobile version of a more traditional restaurant, and thus aim at that style of food and price point (which is no surprise then that the more successful ones open up brick and mortar locations sooner or later).

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