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Driving their way to tastier business

The streets of Sydney have been significantly tastier this past year, thanks to the city’s fleet of nine food trucks.

The trucks were launched for a one-year trial after the City of Sydney Council considered different ways to liven up the city’s nightlife.

A Council spokesperson said the trucks, which offer a variety of cuisine ranging from Mexican to vegetarian, are an interesting kind of small business.

“They are innovative new businesses that add a new layer of economic activity and bring good food offerings to places where there are few other options,” the Council’s  spokesperson said.

Although food trucks have become a staple in the backdrops of American sitcoms, operating a truck isn’t for the faint hearted.

Stephanie Raco, operator of Mexican truck Cantina Mobil, said that while the trial was “the chance to get our hands on the holy grail of food trucking in Sydney”, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

Each truck team had to get through the Council’s rigorous selection process, which included a Masterchef-style ‘cook off’. The day to day running of a truck has also presented unique challenges.

Already trading on the Northern Beaches with a permit from Warringah Council, Cantina Mobil found it difficult to provide a lunch and dinner service in the city with their off-premises kitchen on the Northern Beaches.

“The to and from travel along Military road to re-stock and head back out was frustrating and overly time consuming. We overcame this issue by moving our kitchen to Darlinghurst,” Raco said.

However, the Raco believes the trucks have been supported by the Council each step of the way.

“From the Sydney Food Trucks app to organising speakers to educate us about ‘safety after dark’, to more effective ways of gaining results via social media, their support has been tremendous,” she said.

A year on from their launch, the food trucks have firmly established themselves as part of the Sydney foodie scene. They’re fixtures at festivals and community events, and are often booked to cater events.

Over 33,000 people downloaded the Council’s truck tracker app, and the program received the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide’s 2012 award for innovation.

With the second year of the trial well underway, the operators are truly hitting their stride. A number have established fixed premises to run in addition to their trucks, keeping the masses fed in wet weather and hosting special events.

Raco said, “We’re about to begin the fit out of our second truck, which will hopefully be complete in time for summer. Providing Mexican for the masses at festivals, private events, and street-serving is Cantina’s continued plan for the future.”

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Gina Baldassarre

Gina Baldassarre

Gina is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She enjoys learning to ice skate and collecting sappy inspirational quotes.

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