A Great Combo: Food Trucks and Digital Media
‘Tis spring, a time when a foodie’s fancy turns to … finding fab food carts on their phone!
The city of Eugene, Oregon, where I make my home, has been experiencing a massive upsurge in foodie activity in recent years — from new, experimental restaurants to wine-tasting rooms and craft breweries… Not to mention a stronger effort to collaborate and engage the community via digital. This is especially crucial for Eugene’s burgeoning fleet of food carts and trucks, who depend on digital media to let their customers know their latest location. Many of these mobile food businesses make heavy use of Twitter and Facebook, both on their own accounts and in groups like the Eugene Food Carts Facebook group.
Last year saw the launch of the Street Food Eugene app, brainchild of Dave Wagenheim, owner of the Viva! Vegetarian Grill food truck. The app itself is available for both iOS and Android devices, and is simple and no-nonsense — showing a location map, hours, and contact info for each participating food cart or truck. I’ve used it myself innumerable times to check on some of my personal favorites, like Da Nang Vietnamese Eatery and Lani Moku Grill.
Both the food truck scene and its digital engagement are perfectly suited to Eugene, with its storied history as a hippie homeland (Ken Kesey hails from here) as well as the presence of the bustling University of Oregon and a fledgling high-tech industry. All of these demographics — hippies and their hipster descendants, hungry Oregon Ducks, and toy-loving techies — adore the informality of food trucks and the fun of hunting them online. So as the winter rains begin to let up and the flowers begin to bloom, let the outdoor feasting begin!
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