Sinetix Food Truck
Lunch is served….! When haute cuisine is addressed to everyone, a trend that blends culture and tradition is (re)born
All of us, at one time or another, have stopped for a quick bite in a kiosk, perhaps due to a lack of time, the need to pay less or just the desire to try something simple, tasty and less challenging than the usual meal in a restaurant. Without knowing, or underestimating the fact that eating at the lunch counter of a vehicle turned into a street tavern, has ancient origins. Greeks and Romans, in fact, made extensive use of them not to mention even more ancient civilizations such as Egypt, China or India. Revamped under the name of street food, the practice of offering itinerant meals, from snacks to the real food-tasting, whether sweet or savory, is providing new job opportunities for many young people, who see in this rather alternative sector an opportunity for growth and professional achievement. Only recently though, an increasing cultural and social interest has been shown toward a phenomenon often snubbed by licensed chefs but enjoying now a long-denied appreciation, which represents an extremely modern economic system producing very interesting numbers: in the US alone, home of modern street food, the sector affects about 3 million vehicles used for cooking, with an expected turnover, for 2017, estimated at around 2.7 billion $. Just enough to whet the appetite of gourmet meal enthusiasts as well as that of the most savvy marketers.
A BITE OF EXCELLENCE
Travelling around the world, we can find countless kinds of street food, which incarnate local customs and traditions: falafels, Kebabs, hot dogs, fish and chips, tacos, burritos….all the way to the most unusual Asian specialties with sea weeds and a variety of insects. And Italy too is recording an increasing interest from experts and star chefs alike, thanks to the typical ingenuity of its citizens, the great variety of street food offered by our cuisine with a growing interest from both the public and premium brands, more and more attracted by concrete prospects of growth and success.
We spoke with Michele Crippa, professor of History of Italian Cuisine, and food truck manager for Consulting Service in Muggiò, who alternates his lectures and lessons at university with making food trucks, taking care of every aspect linked to starting an activity, from feasibility studies to promotional management on social networks. "As Gualtiero Marchesi, the Master of Italian cuisine once said, street food is the easiest and most direct way to learn about the history of a country, because it embodies its values and traditions and represents the vision of its citizens. Every Italian region has its own street food, all creative, good and with local ingredients that represent the territory. Modern Street food was born in private homes. Women in Naples, for example, after the war, used to prepare fried pizza and sell it on their front doors or from their kitchen windows, on the streets and in the neighborhoods. Or the Piadina of the Adriatic Coast, prepared by grandmothers and sold by young boys to tourists on the beaches. From these humble beginnings some have become real shops and takeaways, with women who literally invented a new job".
But street food is rapidly becoming an important economic driver. "As always in times of crisis," says Chef Crippa "street food gives new vigor and vitality to the economy, providing a new way of living and eating. Today, similarly to what is happening in the United States, we are experiencing the food truck revolution, which means quality street food served on wheels. Starting with the all-time favorites, fried pizza, arancini and kebabs, to the more modern and innovative vegan and vegetarian menus". Numerous business entities have recently demonstrated great interest in this growing trend and are looking for ways to support investors. Among them Sinetix, a dynamic service company which specializes in media events, social networks management and, lately, in supporting the opening of new business activities supported by Food-trucks. In the intentions of its founder, Matteo Noseda, the company aims at playing a major role in making street food recognized as a cultural expression to be governed by specific legislations, still lacking in our country, able to protect and regulate the business through the creation of a nationally recognized professional association. “The differences with other sectors” says Mr. Noseda, “ is the formal absence of a specific legislation aimed at recognizing food trucks as an independent reality well distinct from the normal market stalls which share the same legislative framework, making it difficult for food trucks to find the most suitable business location throughout the national territory, due to permits being released on a case-by-case basis by local municipalities. Our aim is to raise the general awareness on the issue and facilitate the creation of a specific legislation to guarantee that the needs of the operators of this emerging industry are finally met. Additionally we are looking at ways of obtaining suitable public spaces for parking and operating our vehicles, in addition to the creation of a professional food truck professional figure, in order to properly train the staff, increasing the quality of service as well as safety".
Currently, 8,500 food truck permits have been released throughout the country, half of which were released only in the last few years; a confirmation of the growth of this sector, thanks to an ever-increasing commitment by all the professional figures involved. Facilitating all the activities involved in starting up a food business will encourage many to take up the challenge in this new growing sector, thus contributing to a further growth of the street food sector. With this in mind, Sinetex maintains close contact with institutional authorities, contributing in shaping a future legislative framework.
The first vehicle of the modern era used in preparing and selling food on the street is attributed historically to a cart drawn by horses that, in 1872, distributed sausages to travelers in New York City.
Since then great progress has been made, and today the term Food Truck identifies all those vehicles dedicated to preparing and distributing street food. Alongside classic sandwich vans, with a rather plain look, a new breed of food trucks have made their way in cities and market places, decked and changed to arouse the curiosity and the general public’s appetite. Just think of the many exercises in style and design applied to vehicles of every shape and color such as the timeless hot dog trucks. "In 2014 ..." continues Michele Crippa "... vehicles used for the preparation of street food, that also paid attention to design and quality, were not more than twenty, while today there are about 200. Numbers soared in a very short time. We can divide this activity into 4 categories: traditional, selling regional street food; innovative, offering unusual and trendy food; fine dining, for a gourmet experience; branded trucks, managed by major international brands, that have decided to invest in this new food distribution mode". A gamble that seems to have paid off right from the start if it is true that in 2015 numerous festivals and events throughout Italy related directly to street food have attracted a total of about 800,000 people.
Building a food truck is not something to be taken lightly, especially considering vehicles of small size, which require major mechanical adjustments, including the chassis, suspension, wheels and tires, to support a complete set of kitchen accessories.From an Apecar to trucks with trailers, companies specialized in manufacturing custom-made vehicles are increasingly interested in the issues related to the preparation and distribution of street food.
While larger vehicles do not need any substantial mechanical upgrade, except for the necessary cooking equipment, smaller vehicles require a general strengthening, to support the weight imposed by the equipment and guarantee the maximum lifespan possible. Chassis and suspension first and foremost, a vehicle’s backbone, but also wheels and properly sized tires, all of which can guarantee long distances without the risk of leaving customers ... empty handed.