Practically anyone following the development and growth of the food truck industry could have seen this one coming: Rather than having to take one’s chances as to which trucks are parked where on any given day – some communities only specify general areas for the trucks, which are then left to fend for themselves when finding a space in which to do businesses – customers can track their favorite trucks by using GPS technology.
As reported by Canadian Television, residents of Saskatoon, a city in central Saskatchewan, can tap into a locally developed web site – called Snackmap.com – and use Google maps to see where each food truck is located. The site also indicates whether each truck is open for business that day.
A company called Nova-Tek reportedly needed just three weeks to develop the site, which is intended to become a smartphone app. Of course, the GPS tech is only useful when the food trucks are in season, which doesn’t apparently include the winter months of the year. Even so, Snack Map has created a significant buzz among Saskatoonians, as the city’s residents are known.
One of the site’s developers describes the origins of Snack Map this way: “We started by just sitting around the office, wondering, ‘How can we find these food trucks?’ We were trying to following everyone’s Twitter feed. We figured, ‘There’s got to be a better way to do this’. We were talking about it and figured, ‘Why don’t we do it?’ ”
Food truck operators can be “found” just by turning on a switch in their vehicle that activates the GPS. When the work day is done, they simply turn off the switch.
Snack Map’s creators are working with another local company to expand the site’s options to include online methods for booking food trucks for events as well as detailed descriptions for each truck’s offerings.
As advanced as food truck technology is becoming – flat screen TVs adorn some, with promo videos or fluidly designed menus – remember not to overlook the most crucial part of the operation: Keeping a food truck kitchen properly ventilated is the single most important factor in operating this business safely – and, by extension, profitably.