Shedding light on the current market scenario for ‘food truck’ culture, Ashish Sajnani, director, OPA Hospitality, in an interaction with Food & Hospitality World, shares the journey of Bombay Food Truck and future plans
How has been the journey of Bombay Food Truck, and how has been the market response?
Bombay Food Truck began its operations in October 2015. Amidst speculations of licenses and permissions, we are still trying to ﬁgure out licenses and the correct way forward so that in the future it’s encouraging for more people to follow. The biggest issue is that there is no clear legislation – hence there is no speciﬁc way forward or a regulation system to deal with a food truck in Mumbai; but the BMC is now forming guidelines. We update our patrons on our locations via our website bombayfoodtruck.com, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. Operating a food truck is very exciting and inspiring and different from running a regular F&B outlet.
Please elaborate of the USPs of Bombay Food Truck?
Bombay’s biggest food truck rolled into Mumbai city in September 2015, and with it we brought the city’s tastiest street side gourmet eats. Bombay Food Truck offers gourmet sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs and will be constantly innovating with the menu. The audiences are ready and eagerly awaiting for innovation with food. The price has always been a consideration when serving from a food truck and the price strategy for BFT is to keep the offerings accessible, topical and open for anyone to try, across income brackets and demographics. Bombay Food Truck’s concept is to serve gourmet street food from across the world, hence the price points need to be value of money driven. The biggest learning has been collaboration and innovation – the more people you reach, the more you learn of their preferences and the more freedom you have to innovate. We’re available for brand activations and on-site catering.
In your opinion, how is the present scenario of food truck culture in India?
Food Trucks in India are a scattered lot, big cities have a few food trucks and there is definitely excitement about the sector. However, the biggest challenge was trying to explain the concept to the regulators who kept telling us that we couldn’t do it. Every time I tried to explain it to the ofﬁcials they would tell me, “Sorry, there are no rules, you can’t do it”. Since I could anticipate some of the issues I didn’t put gas or any ﬂammable equipment on the truck. I knew that would be against the law for sure so I made it electrical. Another issue is that you can’t park it on the streets. So we take The Bombay Food Truck (BFT) to events, festivals and concerts.
Bengaluru is the ‘Capital of Food Trucks in India’. With so many IT parks, it was natural that Bengaluru had a food truck revolution a few years ago. IT professionals who returned from USA embraced the experience as it was a norm back in the States. Hence, we all look upto Bengaluru as a model city.
What are the factors supporting the trend in the country, and what can further evolve this offering?
To begin with, the investment for a food truck is much smaller than a standalone/ chain restaurant. Hence a country like ours with so much entreprenual spirit is sure to have a strong food tuck culture. You need to innovate with the times and demands of customers as the preferences change from location to location. Also, service has to be swift and peppy, as that is what patrons expect from us. It’s a new concept and the response has been phenomenal. Some government support with guidelines will definitely propel this industry further.
What are the future expansion plans of the company?
We are doing this in 3 ways
- Increase our presence in as many events in the city as possible: This will build awareness about our brand, our offering and create a community of BFT fans. We are targeting 50 big ticket festivals this year.
- Increase our fleet: We are building more food trucks. We have already bought two more and are in the process of taking our fleet to five. This will help us do multiple places in a single day – more events, more corporate parks, more colleges and much more. We have already secured another home for our second food truck. We are really excited about it.
- Eventually, we are looking to roll out a franchise model and invite food enthusiasts to run their own food trucks under the brand – Bombay Food Truck.