Strong is the man can resist the charm of street food. But even to the avid streetside gastronome, it’s not always easy to find the right truck in the right place at the right time.
This is because individual food trucks ran their own Twitter feed, Facebook page or email alerts, and it was quite impossible for anybody to track more than a few. That’s where wherethetruck.at comes in – aggregating the locations of all trucks on a single site.
The Samaritan site, if you will, just raised $11,000 via crowdfunding site Pozible, thanks perhaps to generous souls and hungry mouths. Unlike many crowfunding projects, donors to WhereTheTruck get nothing other than the assurance of quickly finding the trucks they want, and the promise to build an iPhone app.
“Food trucks are a great way to celebrate friendship, great food and an economical way to feed ourselves super tasty food,” said Tom Kinsman, a co-founder of WhereTheTruck.
That had the sure ring of truth to us at Anthill. Even my editor wrote in to say: “…frankly, if I hadn’t eaten some of the best fish tacos I’ve ever had in my life last night from the Taco Truck (Melbourne), I’d probably have blinked at this story.”
Well, we didn’t, and believe you won’t either.
Kinsman says his site fundamentally offers “people who pledge the opportunity to support something that will make the community they live in a better place to be.”
“We offered people the opportunity to support us back for the free service we have provided them in 2012. As you will have seen, they responded very favourably,” he told Anthill.
WhereTheTruck was unveiled on March 4, 2012, at the “food trucks unite event” during the Melbourne Food and Wine festival. The WordPress site was built hands-on by its three founders – Kinsman, a business analyst who has worked in research, advertising and consulting; Jack Barker, a business analyst with a healthy knowledge of fundamental web and application programming principles; and Xavier Verhoeven, a marketing pro at a Melbourne microbrewer who is also a self-taught WordPress entrepreneur.
Initially, the company ran the site within the WordPress framework but later customised it to be able to present the information better.
“We built an infrastructure to create necessary customisations that is really the beginnings of a social network for the food trucks,” Kinsman said. “The trucks are able to manage their own profiles including things like location data, recurring locations (for ease of use), Instagram feeds, Facebook linkages etc.”
On the site, a foodie can simply pick his or her city from a dropdown box and then browse the food trucks in the area, designated by pins on a map. Smaller pins begin to appear on the map three hours before the truck is ready to serve. Once the truck begins serving, pin grows in size and attains full colour as well.