At one time mobile catering consisted of almost entirely box shaped ‘burger vans’. Occasionally someone with a touch of flair, or perhaps just a bit mad, would put together something quirky. With the dawn of the instagram generation, boxy burger vans suddenly dropped out of vogue. To get ahead you really needed people to be sharing your set up. Sure, good food was important, but it was no longer the sole arbiter of success. Your food truck needed to look better.
We are going to be taking a look at some of the quirky, weird, wonderful and downright strange catering outlets around the world.
Shipping containers are ubiquitous throughout the world. A standardised method of transporting goods via road, rail and sea. Many of them however do find a second life as something totally different. From bars, to offices to mobile toilets. They have also found favour with catering vendors. The basic container is a strong watertight structure, that is built to accurate dimensions, and lends itself to conversions.
Happy as Larry is an Australian company that specialises in selling Napoli-style wood fired pizza. A nice touch in this container conversion is that they have replaced much of one side with huge glass pains to give a real contemporary feel to it.
Space Shuttle Cafe
If you are looking for something to convert into a food truck, the most obvious thing you could think of is an aeroplane. Probably not! This one was converted to a mobile eatery by GMC in 1976. But it started life as an actual flying machine in 1944.
Cotton Candy Jeep
One of our favourites this, take an iconic WWII off road vehicle, and shove a cotton candy (candy floss if you live this side of the pond) machine in the back. Oh and for good measure paint it all pink.
Walls Mini Ice Cream Truck
Walls ran a campaign called ‘Goodbye Serious’, where they built a miniaturised ice cream truck designed to drive into offices and dispense their best selling goodies. This is one seriously quirky little food truck. Though some of our taller staff might struggle to operate in this one.
K99 Ice Cream Cart
This one is notable, not for being a different type of food truck. But because of its target market. This sells ice creams for your canine companions. That’s right, doggy ice creams. Seems that scientists have discovered that gammon and chicken-flavored ice creams really hits the spot for our doggy friends.
These are gaining in popularity, and are being used for everything from a gin bar to a burger joint. The ironic thing is, was during the late 90’s, the fairground industry used these for staff quarters, then tended to scrap them at the end of the season. If they were scrapped, it wasn’t unknow to just remove all identifying marks and leave them in a layby for the council to dispose of. You try buying one now, I have seen them advertised for upwards of £30k.
Step Frame Food Truck
More of a Stateside set up, they have a plethora of large step fram delivery vehicles from the likes of Dodge, Ford, GMC etc. These are pretty near the size of a 7.5 tonne lorry in the UK and make an ideal blank canvas to fit out as a mobile eatery
Airstream Style Food Truck
Another option hailing from the good ole US of A. Airstreams were originally touring caravans. Till some adventurous soul decided to cut the side out and add a kitchen. They are now a fairly regular sight on the UK scene. With both the original Airstream brand and a number of both EU based and Chinese manufacturers building similar looking trucks.
A regular sight nowadays, horseboxes are easy to obtain, pretty easy to convert and very flexible, though a bit on the small side for some catering options. Prices are steadily rising, to the benefit of anyone needing to dispose of a horsebox that’s past it’s sell by date. What you once would have scrapped, you can now get a tidy few grand for.
Snow Mobile Food Truck
This one is as far as we know, pretty unique. A burrito joint on a tracked snow mobile platform. Great for last minute corporate jobs in the arctic. Bloody noisy if you need to take it down the M1 motorway to London.
London Red Bus Yoghurt Truck
An iconic British vehicle this time, an ex London Routemaster bus, turned into a yoghurt dispensary by Snog. A cool vehicle for a cool brand serving a cool product (literally)!
The Peanut Van
Occasionally there are totally custom built trucks out there. I’ve seen vehicles that look like hot dogs, doughnuts, oranges. This one is a peanut. Leaves you in no doubt what the product is.
Land Rover Ice Cream Truck
Another off road vehicle pressed into service. We have already had a Willy’s Jeep with a candyfloss machine. This one is the UK equivalent. In vehicles that is, not food. This is one cool ice cream truck.
Another ice cream van. This time shoehorned into a monster truck. Unless you are 6ft 6 you need step ladders to be served here.
Rocket Launcher Coffee Truck
A big boys toy this one. A coffee truck on a rocket launcher. Though it didn’t work out too well for two of the staff when they were arrested for causing panic on the streets of Malaysia. What’s next, doughnuts served from a Challenger tank?
Another paramilitary offering. Tapas from a tactical armoured car. It’s all starting to get a bit Mad Max.
The last couple of options were built on trucks designed to blow things up and start fires. These were designed to put them out. Popular both sides of the pond, though the US fire trucks just seem to be a lot more jazzy.