Food and Convenience on the Go

By  Mike Lawshe, President and CEO, Paragon Solutions

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I  recently returned from a short vacation on Inlet Beach on the Panhandle of Florida. My wife, Cathy, and I finally took the plunge and purchased our dream home. Not far from our house is a little bit of paradise called Seaside. You may know it as the background for “The Truman Show” starring Jim Carrey. 
 
Well, I couldn’t care less about Jim Carrey, but I do care about food, and Seaside is an incredible place for it. We’ve eaten in seven different restaurants so far (some of them multiple times) and haven’t had a bad meal yet. What makes the restaurant choices unique is the way they surround the town square and the amphitheater, where bands or movies sometimes play to make the Seaside experience even more enjoyable. Some of the restaurants look out over the dunes to the Gulf of Mexico, making it an awesome location for sunsets and margaritas. Jimmy Buffet would be proud. 
 
But the food trucks amaze me the most. There are four or five semi-permanent food trucks (see photo) serving great food, everything from Southern cuisine and barbecue to ice cream. I am sure you have seen the proliferation of food trucks in other areas. There is an area in Ft. Worth where they congregate around lunchtime; it even has a covered area where you can sit and enjoy your food. On game day at TCU, local chefs such as Tim Love roll out their trucks to help facilitate an awesome tailgate experience. (Go Frogs!)
 
Over the past few years, we have talked about foodservice, drive-thrus, social media, touch screens and the latest trends in retail. So the question is: What have you done lately to keep up? Have you ever thought of developing a food/convenience truck and taking your brand to the people? Community events, football games and industrial parks are just some of the areas where people have unmet needs. Our business is to provide the solutions to their needs, and a truck would certainly accomplish that objective. The trucks would also be great at grand opening events for stores or to introduce new items to the customers. 
 
For you sci-fi buffs, do you remember in “The Fifth Element” when Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) was eating from a flying Chinese restaurant outside his window? Isn’t that what a food/convenience truck is, minus the flying?
 

Dream a Big Dream

As brand designers, we often bring a brand to graphics, billboards, radio, newspaper and other ways in which to communicate with our customers. Wouldn’t it be cool and potentially profitable to bring our products and services to the people? Well, it would if it tasted good or met their needs in some other way.

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