Food trucks satisfying Sydney’s late night cravings

Food trucks satisfying Sydney’s late night cravings

Food trucks have hit the spot with Sydneysiders, scoring overwhelming support, generating new business across the city and stimulating spaces at night.

As part of the Food Truck trial independent consultants interviewed more than 400 people and conducted observational studies at food truck locations.

Customers interviewed said the trucks made the city feel safer and more welcoming at night and the most common request was to activate even more of them.

The City of Sydney’s food trucks introduced Sydney to the food sensation taking off around the world with a 12-month trial of quality food in designated streets, parks and plazas.

The research found:

  • 98 per cent of people support the food trucks initiative;
  • More than one third of customers would have otherwise eaten at home, meaning food trucks are generating new business in the city;
  • Peak trading times are between 9pm and midnight when there are fewer available food alternatives;
  • 72 per cent of customers said food trucks made an area feel safer, and 92 per cent said they made it more welcoming;
  • The trucks have a dedicated following, with 44 per cent of customers coming to the area specifically to eat there;
  • 18 per cent of customers eat at a truck at least once a week and some are travelling up to two kilometres to get there, and;
  • The City’s food truck app and web site are the most popular sources of information about food trucks

“This research shows people have taken food trucks to heart and they’re now an acclaimed part of our night-time city,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“In less than a year, these small businesses have gone from scratch to become a popular addition to the city’s food scene. They’ve created their own community and brought new life and new business to the city.

“Food trucks were an idea people came up with when we consulted Sydneysiders about what they wanted for their city at night. This research shows the initiative is delivering diverse options and enticing more people to spend time in the City.

“The trucks are not allowed to operate within 50 metres of a comparable food business, so they take food to places that aren’t already well serviced.”

Trucks started rolling out under the City’s trial in May 2012, and all nine trucks were operating by early this year. They have become a feature at festivals and community events as well as servicing dedicated locations around the city.

The City plans to extend the trial until March 2014 to give all of the participating trucks a full year of operation, so the program and feedback from the community can be fully evaluated.

Suzie Matthews, the City’s Manager, Business Precincts, Late Night Economy and Safe City, said the customer research indicated the food trucks were a positive addition to Sydney.

“More than a third of people using food trucks are eating out when they would otherwise have been eating at home and the benefits from that flow on to other business, like shops and small bars,” Ms Matthews said.

“This is about generating new activity in the city, not taking away from existing food businesses. The food truck operators have invested large amounts to get their businesses rolling and they pay fixed costs like wages and rent for a place to store and prepare food just like any other food business.

“There are some areas of the city where food trucks are not a viable option, such as Kings Cross. But where they have been operating they have brought more options to more people, and proved hugely popular.”

The full research report can be viewed here.

For more information, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Rohan Sullivan, phone 02 9246 7298 or 0414 617 086, or email rsullivan@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on 0477 310 149 or jlarkin@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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