Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Le Truc's 'Bustaurant' Takes the Food Cart to Another Level

Wired Magazine's Underwire blog wrote on Tuesday about the Le Truc bustaurant in SF's SoMA which quite a next step in the ever-evolving nomadic foodie cart phenomenon.

It's another fine experiment in working around the rigid constraints of the regulations that make restaurants a challenging venture in many cities. As the article suggests:
"Street-food people are crafty,” said Dan Sider, ombudsman for San Francisco’s planning department. “Le Truc has got something that’s pretty unique. They worked with the planning commission and lobbied for a particular set of rules that would allow for their bus to exist.”

And it solves for a lot of the challenges of wanting to be in multiple locations in a city that loves to dine out and experience something different with each experience:
"They also plan to set up for dinner (and maybe al fresco movies) in a second location a few blocks away near San Francisco’sSouth Park neighborhood, home to many dot-com startups over the years."

"As if that weren’t ambitious enough, the Le Truc crew has been working with the city’s planning department to gain a spot in the mobile food truck Narnia that is the Upper Market/Castro area."

Best of all Le Truc is using an online system to streamline the ordering process for the nomadic diner:
"Le Truc has developed a point-of-sale system similar to those in some upscale convenience stores and gas stations: Rather than overwhelming the kitchen staff with questions and orders, patrons sidle up to the kiosk outside the bus, browse the menu according to dietary specifications, and order their food electronically. An online version allows orders from computers or mobile phones — when the food is done, the system sends a text."

And Le Truc's computer recognizes repeat customers and rewards their loyalty with discounts!

If you've dreamed of owning a restaurant but find the infrastructure to support such a complicated venture to be overwhelming, there is a wealth of inspiration in the food cart revolution's workarounds.

Thanks to Underwire's Allison Davis for the great article and permission to quote and relink here!

Interior of Le Truc "bustaurant" Photo by Jon Snyder/Wired.com

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