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Social media redefines 4-star dining…. and delivers it at a corner near you

by on June 17, 2010

Food trucks. They used to be referred to as “taco trucks” or the never-appetizing nickname “roach coaches.” Food trucks was where you got cheap-tasting, greasy food that are a couple of steps below a McDonald’s value meal. You typically found them at construction sites and the country fair serving suspicious looking Mexican food, hotdogs, fries and gyros.

In comes social media, then all of a sudden the new generation of food trucks have become the coolest, hippest dining experience in big cities across the U.S. Reaching the digitally sophisticated, gastronomically adventurous urbanites and fueled by the belt-tightening economy, the trend of using trucks to deliver hip, great and affordable food has now spread to big cities like Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. Defying their roach coach cousin’s reputation, the menus on today’s food trucks are foodie worthy, featuring cuisine  that rival 4-star restaurants’.

Kogi, the Pioneer

On the forefront of this dining revolution, is Kogi, a Korean BBQ-Mexican fusion truck based in Los Angeles that began operations in December 2008. With the help of Twitter, Kogi’s growing followers knew where to get their fill of Korean short rib tacos and kimchi quesadillas. Kogi’s success spurred the rise of a variety of gourmet food trucks across the Twittering U.S.A.

Before Social Media

After Social Media

“Kogi and social media cannot be separated” – Chef Roy Choi, Kogi

Shaking up the Food Industry

Food trucks like Kogi have redefined the role of “location, location, location” for restaurants. “Location” for today’s gourmet food trucks means enabling customers to virtually follow where they are parked through Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare.

Besides using Twitter to let its 65,457  (and growing) followers know where their four food trucks (Roja, Azul, Verde and Naranja) will be located, Kogi uses a blog to post updates about their menu. Flickr allows Kogi and its fans to post mouthwatering photos of the food. Kogi also has a very active Facebook site to keep its loyal community informed and engaged. Other social media-driven food trucks have started crowdsourcing menu ideas and locations.

The marriage of social media and food trucks have democratized gourmet food. Restauranteurs do not have to build expensive restaurants and invest a lot of marketing dollars, which means they can make their food more affordable and accessible. It is not surprising that the food service industry has taken heed. The founders of Kogi were recognized with the 2009 Bon Appetite Awards and Food & Wine magazine named Kogi’s chef, Roy Choi one of the country’s 10 best new chefs for 2010. Not bad of the new kids on the block.

If you’re interested in finding out about the food trucks serving your city, MobileCravings tracks the latest news and openings around the country.

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From → USA

2 Comments
  1. Nice topic choice and where this post succeeds is in your discussions of Kogi and how you share what they are doing and have been doing to use social media to promote their Food Truck. The kudos they have earned and strong following they have are a good proof point for the potential benefits of using social media well and actively to build a business. The link you make to the broader trend of food trucks using social media, though, is less clear. You share that this new generation of cool food trucks has now arrived and that social media is in some way responsible for that – but we as readers need a bit more evidence of why you think this is true. Toronto and Austin for example are two cities with thriving food truck cultures, which seem to be more based on location than some effective use of social media. The idea of using a single story to highlight a broader trend can make an excellent post – in this case you just need a bit more to link Kogi to the broader trend you share. (3)

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