NRA show serves up feast of food trucks, management tools, food and more
Stouffer's used a food truck as a serving venue on the trade show floor.
Ajinomoto used a food truck to present its food offerings.
The modern food truck has defined itself as an ambassador of high quality food in a less formal, more spontaneous experience.
Delivering this unique service requires a wide range of tools, all of which were on display during this year's National Restaurant Association Show at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago.
The Java House used a food truck to serve chilled coffee.
Attendees feasted on a wealth of food trucks, preparation equipment, management and marketing software, and food and beverages.
Three food and beverage providers — Stouffer's, Ajinomoto Co. Inc. and Java House — used food trucks to present new product offerings, demonstrating the food truck's unique role as a marketing and merchandising vehicle.
Following are highlights from the trade show floor.
Custom Mobile Food Equipment
Custom Mobile Food Equipment presented a food truck with a built-in order touchscreen. In addition to food trucks, the company also custom-builds food vans and trailers. The mobile kitchens have all-steel framing, a stainless steel interior, stainless steel equipment, refrigeration and freezing with remote exterior mounted compressors, a pressurized water system, on board generators, rollout manual or motorized awnings, air conditioning, a flat grill, char broilers, deep fat fryers, microwaves, burner stove tops with standard or convection ovens, and customizable options.
Jay Celona of Custom Mobile Food Equipment shows
On The Move Inc.
On The Move Inc., a custom food truck builder, offers custom-built slide-out trucks and step vans. The slide-out truck has a patented slide out and step down service area offering eye-to-eye interaction with the customer. The company also offers build-outs on new or used step vans ranging from 14 to 22 feet long. The company provides all truck kitchen appliances.
Daniel Garza shows the On The Move food truck.
Venture Food Trucks
Venture Food Trucks builds trucks, trailers, vans and containers, along with numerous kitchen appliances, including refrigeration and cosmetic customizations. Vehicles are available for sale or lease. The company also helps customers with government inspections and offers financing options and ongoing customer support.
Venture Food trucks presented a newly built model.
Marra Foni, a pizza oven manufacturer, demonstrated a concept for an electric-powered pizza truck. The truck operates on a 48V plug-in rechargeable battery. It travels 25 mph, has no fuel emissions, and comes with a built-in pizza oven. There is seating for two.
Anthony Pilla shows the concept of the Marra Forni
MobilePro Kitchens, which custom-designs kitchens, presented a pizza kitchen concept vehicle. The 19-foot kitchen is built on a Ford 550 chassis. There is a 26-inch slide-out on both kitchen sidewalls. The delivery window is set low so that the customer can interact with the server at eye level.
The company uses both gasoline- and diesel engine-powered chassis, and provides a 12.5 KW diesel-powered generator as standard, with higher output generators optional. All internal electrical and plumbing is built to recreational vehicle industry standards, and all manufacturer warranties are conveyed to the customer upon vehicle delivery.
Jim Hughes shows the MobilePro Kitchens mobile kitchen.
POSitouch demonstrated its POS solution, accompanied with in-house payment processing services. The system offers cloud reporting that enables operators to access sales information from any internet connected device, and provides real-time notifications via email or text to respond to service issues. The system offers handheld terminals that support EMV chip card transactions.
Pam Greene shows the mobile touchscreen with printer
The Bepoz POS solution offers the ability to schedule price and menu changes, manage digital signage displays and send email and SMS messages. The cloud-based software includes a host of reports. The system includes a mobile POS unit that operators can use to take orders.
Tim Flachman presents the Bepoz POS solution.
The Tabit mobile app is a POS system designed for mobile use. The app lets customers place and pay for orders using a smartphone. The ordering software automatically recommends add-on purchases. The management software includes real-time performance reports and analysis.
Nadar Solomon presents the Tabit mobile tablet.
The SpeedETab mobile payment app integrates with POS solutions, loyalty program providers, payment systems, printers and other partners. Foodservice operators can engage with customers via targeted push notifications and email, create custom segments for marketing, and leverage promotional codes and coupons.
Julia Maurath and Andrew de Mino present the SpeedETab mobile order app.
Genna Gold, the senior manager of local business outreach for Yelp Inc., provided insight about the ways that the social media website can help foodservice operators. Besides managing customer reservations, Yelp can help operators use their customer reviews to improve their business.
Genna Gold of Yelp offered guidance to help food truck operators better utilize the social media site’s reviews.
Transx Systems Inc.
Transx Systems Inc. allows food trucks to provide Wi-Fi in their service areas. The software allows operators to collect customer contact information whenever they sign up for the custom-branded free Wi-Fi.
Operators can keep track of who customers are, how often they visit and how much they spend. The system uses Internet-of-Things sensors to read Wi-Fi signals from customers' mobile devices to track new customers, repeat customers, their visits, duration of stay, and when and how often they come back. The package also includes a marketing platform to engage with loyal customers.
Glenn Gottfried demonstrates the Transyx system.
Accelerated, a Digi company, showed a 4G router that provides Internet connectivity to mobile devices, including food trucks. The 6300-CX LTE Router is an LTE adapter for primary or backup enterprise connectivity via cellular data.
Jeremy Fields presents a 4G router that can go on
Food and beverages
Home Market Foods
Home Market Foods presented its sandwiches and burritos, including Eisenberg brand hot dogs; Cooked Perfect brand pulled pork burritos and sandwiches and shaved steak sandwiches; Roller Bites chicken, cheeseburgers, meatballs, and breakfast grab-and-go sandwiches; and Bahama Mama German-style sausage sandwiches.
Dana Eisenberg and Tom Mottl present Eisenberg foods.
The Beerjet beer server can dispense 7,000 beers within two and a half hours. The unit comes equipped with a pneumatic glass tilting system; the beer taps are equipped with automatic volume control. The touchscreen includes setting and container size selection. The operator can set the pouring speed and amount of foam. The dispenser system is equipped with an electronic flow meter and the beer temperature and operating pressure are monitored electronically. In the event of a power outage, the taps can also be operated manually.
Nate Simmons shows the Beerjet beer server.
Chilart introduced its self-contained cold beer keg dispenser that does not require electric power. The unit contains 131 feet of stainless steel coil and allows for three days of cooling using only ice. The polyethylene plastic unit comes with two dual cup dispensers, and can be branded with graphic inserts.
Jim Hager shows the new Chilart container.
Segafredo Zanetti presented its cold brew coffee fountain dispenser. The dual tap comes with a kegerator box, nitro stout, taps, couplers and food grade nitro tanks. The vegan coffee product is packaged in a recyclable bag and is dispensed through a tap. It contains no additives, is gluten free and has a 90-day shelf life.
Judy Ferris shows the Segafredo Zanetti cold brew coffee fountain dispenser.
Elliot Maras Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.