Food Trucks Help Drive Mobile Payments

The Patty Wagon, an LA food truck serving burgers

Food trucks are catching on in many cities around the country, and their growing popularity may provide a boost to the mobile payment industry as well.

Business Insider interviewed Ross Resnick, founder of food truck tracking site and iPhone app Roaming Hunger, and he sees food trucks as the perfect type of business for mobile payments.

“The mobile food scene is all about less infrastructure. Square [ed. note: a mobile credit card reader and application for the iPhone or iPad] can provide all these tools remotely for a vendor, all they need is this little apparatus. I have one myself, it’s pretty turnkey.

The biggest problem I’ve seen, anecdotally from all these trucks, people find [Square] so interesting that they hold up a line.  They want to know about what it is, they ask questions. But I haven’t heard of any pushback or anybody not trusting it with a credit card. It’s very meaningful for mobile vendors, it’s just amazing,” Resnick says.

Roaming Hunger actually makes most of its money through providing software to other companies and organizing events with food truck vendors. If they can become the defacto place to go to find out where food trucks will be and when they’ll arrive though, we could see a future for the company as a distributed OpenTable, where they handle some portion of payments for people who want to place advance orders or guarantee that a certain dish will be waiting for them when they make it to the truck. While it’s a slightly different variation on the mobile food trend, if the people cooking on sites like Gobble (and SuperMarmite in France) are paying attention it wouldn’t be surprising to see systems like Square powering more pop-up dining experiences.

In a bit of interesting food truck trivia, if you’re an aspiring chef you may find it more cost effective to start a food truck rather than a restaurant: Resnick estimates the startup cost of a food truck to be $50-150k, or about 20-30% of the cost of opening a restaurant. If that sounds good, then take your money and truck and head West; truck for truck LA and San Francisco are more into food trucks than New York.



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