Food trucks and trolleys, an idea whose time has come

By Trung Tin    December 3, 2020 | 05:30 pm PT
Food trucks and trolleys, an idea whose time has come
A coffee trolley of Ong Bau Café in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Ong Bau Cafe.
Many well-known food and beverage brands are starting to sell from carts and trucks, according to real estate service firm Jones Lang LaSalle Vietnam.

This once used to be the preserve of small brands and nameless stores, who often could not afford a permanent establishment.

Highlands, a leader in the mid-priced and high-end segments in the coffee retail market, operates coffee trolleys in front of large buildings for takeaway, which serve the beverages faster and cheaper than in stores.

Ong Bau Café, another chain with over 200 stores nationwide, has also hit the streets with trolleys outside office buildings and at crowded urban areas in Ho Chi Minh City.

Pizza 4Ps, a famous pizza chain, has a pizza truck stationed in front of Oxygen Shopping Mall in District 2, HCMC.

Many malls and office buildings have also witnessed a slew of pop-up stalls.

For prospective restaurateurs with low budgets, this model is a way to test the public’s reaction to their food. They do not need to pay for a full-fledged restaurant until they are ready while malls benefit as they provide customers with diverse and constantly changing experiences.

Food trucks and trolleys are short-term solutions for F&B chains to venture into new markets, increase brand awareness and seek potential customers who crave new experiences, Trang Bui, head of markets, JLL Vietnam, said.

They also help reduce lease and labor costs, two major burdens for food and drinks businesses, and addresses the time problem for busy people, who could now quickly get their coffee and hot meal without having to travel far, she said.

But they could lose their popularity during the rainy season, and so should offer delivery or tie up with online food delivery services to provide consumers with more options, she said.

In more developed nations, trolleys and trucks are popular sellers of not only food and beverages but also other goods like garments, clothes, CDs, flowers, beauty products, and jewelry.

Food trucks can be spotted at tourist destinations with catchy decorations and music.

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