Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Consumers replacing QSR visits with food truck visits


August 20, 2013
By Canadian Pizza

Aug. 20, 2013, Chicago – A new NPD Group survey shows that consumers are replacing a quick service restaurant (QSR) visit with a food truck visit.

“For now at least, food trucks need not be viewed as a threat to
restaurant demand nationally,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant
industry analyst, in a media statement. “However, in markets with a developed food truck
presence, QSR operators should take note of the benefits food
trucks offer, such as different and fresh food, especially as a means to
build their snack business and/or protect lunch traffic.”

The NPD foodservice market research survey, which addressed the awareness and practice of obtaining foods and beverages from food trucks, asked respondents where they would have obtained their meal or snack if not from the food truck, and about half of the consumers surveyed said they would have ordered from a fast food restaurant. Another 20 per cent of respondents said they would have skipped the meal altogether, implying their visit to the food truck was spontaneous or unplanned.

The top reasons consumers gave for using food trucks related to availability of "interesting" foods and convenience, which are the traditional strengths of QSR outlets, according to NPD. Since the top foods typically offered by food trucks are hot sandwiches, Mexican foods, cold sandwiches, and soups, Mexican and sandwich QSR places may view food trucks as more direct competition than other restaurant categories.

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Dayparts are another way in which food trucks compete with QSR outlets since the trucks are primarily used for lunch and snacking, which is likely due to the specific location and the food/beverage/snack items offered, finds NPD.
Although QSRs have more reason than FSRs to be concerned about the prevalence and location of food trucks, another finding of the survey is that while some consumers are regular users, many make purchases from food trucks only very occasionally. More than half of those aware of food trucks in their area say they purchase from them once every two to three months or less often.