The food truck craze means more new businesses in Fla

It’s not often that I get to write about food at work.

OK, it’s never happened. I write about politics and policy all day long, which is fine with me. But, I was overly excited when a spokeswoman pitched me a story on food trucks that I thought could make a nice feature for the paper on Thanksgiving weekend. It turns out food truck businesses are growing at a faster rate than any other business in the state. It was a state government story  about food.

I was sold on the story and so was my editor.

Here’s the story.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Serving it up: Food truck craze registers in Florida

By Kathleen Haughney, Tallahassee Bureau

10:41 PM EST, November 24, 2011

TALLAHASSEE – Spurred by the food truck craze in Northeast and West Coast cities, and shows like the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” more and more Floridians are jumping on the food truck bandwagon.

The number of food trucks has grown by 10.5 percent in the past year, a growth rate higher than any other business licensed by the state, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation reports.

Hot dog vendors and traditional lunch trucks – selling plastic-wrapped sandwiches, coffee and soda – are still making the rounds. But increasingly, the new applications are from trained chefs selling restaurant-quality food, who see a truck as a low-cost starting place to build a clientele for an eventual brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Ron Kerr, the chef at Georgie’s Alibi in Wilton Manors, debuted his Bite GastroTruck this fall, working it three nights a week in addition to his regular job. Kerr’s menu features anything from burgers to duck confit quesadillas to eggplant meatballs.

“It’s not all funnel cakes and elephant ears,” he said.

Indeed, there are food trucks that specialize in everything from cupcakes to crab cakes, Texas brisket to Korean tacos. Many tout locally grown ingredients and artisanal breads and cheeses.

According to DBPR, Florida had 1,934 food trucks on Nov. 1, 2010 and 2,137 a year later, not including hot dog carts. In comparison, traditional restaurants grew only at a 1.5 percent rate, going from 36,745 a year ago to 37,291 as of Nov. 1.

Read the full story here.


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