What began as a one year trial with nine food trucks operating around Sydney has now grown into a huge city-wide service.
Asking the public what change they wanted to see in the city, the City of Sydney Council say that one of the most resounding responses was for “more food options late at night”. And so the Sydney Food Trucks project began.
Having seen the popularity of street food and pop-up food vendors has recently taking off around the world in similarly metropolitan cities, with pop-up stations in London, Bangkok and Boston, the City of Sydney trialled their own pop-up food service — and it’s still running today.
The Sydney food truck service is completely trackable via the ‘Sydney Food Trucks’ app. The app contains information about each truck in the city, listing what type of food they offer and when they’ll be open. Full menus including prices and photos are available on your phone, meaning you can beeline straight for whatever it is that you’re craving. Most importantly, the app has a tracking feature, which lets you see exactly where the nearest food truck is in real time, and where each food truck is going to be stationed next. Each truck is pinpointed on a map, and using tracking information on your phone you can be led straight to it.
In a city as culturally diverse as Sydney variety is key, and each of the food trucks offers something new and brilliant. ‘Tsuru’ serves Asian-style street food while just a few streets away ‘The Veggie Patch’ will be serving seasonal vegetarian food, from a truck made out of an old barn house. Each truck is unique and offers something different.
The food truck programme is also a great opportunity for local businesses. Chinese restaurant ‘Lets Do Yum Cha’ has been operating from a fixed location since 2008, but since the food trucks were brought in decided to have an additional street truck as well, to bring its food to customers, wherever they are.
One of the most practical benefits of the food trucks is their long opening hours. Some trucks are up early to serve breakfast, while others stay on the streets until late at night, catering to late workers or party-goers looking for a bite to eat on their way home.
The idea behind the project is bringing food to customers, instead of the other way around. Mobility allows the vendors to access a range of customers across the whole city, rather than relying on passing trade or local regulars in one fixed location. This is also great as it offers people a variety of constantly changing food options along their normal route, getting a range of options without having to search across the city themselves. There are currently similar programmes running in Melbourne and Washington DC, with the movement gathering pace as more trucks and more customers catch on to the project every day.