The food truck trend in India is still strong. With new food trucks launching, this meals on wheels concept seems to be here to stay. Some of these food trucks are no ordinary food trucks serving greasy, cheap food. They are branded and backed by established names such as Dabur scion Amit Burman’s Lite Bite Foods and Welgrow Group, and dish out fresh food from burgers and spring rolls to minced basil chicken with sticky rice and chilly chicken.
Top-notch executives from Zomato, Glaxo SmithKline’s leadership team, Facebook, Apple, GSK, and Vistara are often seen grabbing a bite at food trucks outside Gurgaon’s plush office complex One Horizon Centre.
It’s not just Gurgaon. Trucks that match the hygiene levels of top restaurants with chefs handing over freshly made food to customers are slowly establishing an alternative eating culture in big Indian cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR, and their biggest fans are India Inc’s top bosses.
The food truck business is coming up in Inda as an alternative food culture, done mostly as a hobby at the moment. But the potential to grow is humongous, as seen in the US, where it is a serious business.
Customers at these food trucks see the food here as refreshing, and a novel concept. “Once after my performance at Phoenix Market, I had chicken wings, chicken burger, potato wedges and prawns from a food truck, It was different and tasted homely, not like the food prepared by chains such as McDonald’s and KFC which is mass production. The concept is good because it is made live and in front of you. Your food doesn’t come from behind the doors. I would definitely urge more people to stop by and experience it”, said Himalaya Drug Company CEO, Philipe Haydon, who also also happens to be singer and lead guitarist of a blues rock band.
Several branded food trucks have begun plying the streets of top Indian cities. Prominent among them are Street Foods of India operated by Lite Bite Foods, Welgrow Group’s Wanchai by Kylin, Streety Treats, Ice Cream Buggy and Toastea.
“The business is profitable from day one,” said Burman, who runs food trucks in Delhi-NCR and Mumbai under his multi-cuisine Indian restaurant brand Street Foods of India. “The food carries the same quality as the established brand, needs two-three people at most to run it, there are no rentals, and the trucks are serviced by our commissary. Besides, you can move the trucks where demand is. You don’t have to be tied down to one particular place and wait for consumers to walk in.”
The trucks cost Rs 4-8 lakh and licences to operate. They cluster around offices at breakfast and lunch time, then move to leisure spots or residential areas by the evening. The food prepared is cyclical and completely flexible. Full meals from rice bowls, burgers and fries, to steaks and rolls are served to their customers near office spaces at lunch time, and snacky and lighter foods are served the in the evening and nights at leisure spots.
NOT JUST TRUCKS ANYMORE
The truck business has been encouraging enough to spawn barbeque bikes. This will debut in about a week’s time with 10 bikes. Food will be barbequed on site and served to customers, said Arun Varma, founder of Streety Treats.
The best part for these food trucks is that they don’t have to wait for customers. Rains and winters don’t affect business anymore.