American History of Food Trucks: 1691-2017

1691 – New York City (previously New Amsterdam) starts regulating street vendors selling food and other items from vending carts around the city.

History of Food Trucks: 1800’s

1850’s – Dining cars begin serving cross country train passengers with meals.

history of food trucks1866 – Charles Goodnight invents the “Chuck Wagon” to feed cattlemen and wagon trains traversing the old West.

1872 – The first make-shift diner is setup in a horse-drawn freight wagon.

1894 – Ivy League universities start to attract sausage vendors who sell their hot dogs outside the student dorms and their carts became known as “dog wagons”.

History of Food Trucks: 1900’s

1917 – The US Army mobile canteens (or field kitchens) start feeding troops regulary.

1936 – Oscar Mayer introduces the first portable hot dog cart, The Weiner Mobile.

history of food trucks1950’s – Ice cream trucks become a thing and start selling their frozen treats on every street in America.

1960’s – Roach coaches are born and begin selling food to construction sites around the country.

history of food trucks1974 – The East Los Angeles bar gets the nation’s first taco truck when Raul Martinez converts an old ice cream truck.

1980’s – Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ attracts “grease trucks” selling “Fat Sandwiches” to college students.

History of Food Trucks: 2000’s

2004 – New York celebrates their food cart heritage after The Street Vendor Project creates the Vendy Awards. A competition that selects and celebrates NYC’s best street food vendors.

July 2006 – Wikipedia adds “food truck” to their data list and creates the history of food trucks around the world.

November 2008 – Roy Choi hits a homerun with his Kogi BBQ food truck in Los Angeles, selling Asian infused tacos to the masses.

history of food trucksJanuary 2010 – Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association (SoCalMFVA) is formed by Matt Geller, becoming the first member organized entity created to protect the rights of food truck owners.

May 2010 – The National Restaurant Association portions some 1,500 square feet to food truck exhibits at its annual convention in Chicago, signaling a recognition of their importance.

August 2010 – The mobile food industry gets its first television program, the Great Food Truck Race and become an overnight hit.

history of food trucksSeptember 2010 – The US government adds a reference guide called the “Tips for Starting Your Own Street Food Business” to its small business website, www.business.gov.

October 2010 – Zagat guide announces that they will begin to provide reviews of food trucks in 2011.

November 2010 – Los Angeles begins to rank food trucks with letter grades, just like their cousin restaurants.

January 2011 – President Barak Obama “Tweets” out that his favorite food truck in Washington DC is D.C. Empanadas.  City erupts in pride!

June 2011 – New York issues the first limited liquor license to the Pera Food Truck.

August 2011 – The Gap clothing retailer launches a nationwide ad campaign marketing a retro style jean with the use of a food truck in it.

February 2012 – NFL Super Bowl allows food trucks in to serve fans in Indianapolis.

June 2014 – The National Food Truck Association (NFTA and not to be confused with NAFTA) is formed creating the first national association of food truck associations.

August 2014 – The movie “Chef” is released which serves as the first ever motion picture to be centered around the story of a food truck and its owner.

history of food trucksSpring 2015 – Hundreds of successful food truck owners across the country begin opening complimentary restaurants as they master their trade

Summer 2016 – Food Truck owners start looking for and requiring fully automated food truck POS systems to handle their on-the-go businesses and other mobile business concepts start to gain a foothold in the industry

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