You’ve finally found it! A food truck that serves that combination of Laotian and Greek food you’ve been so desperately seeking is here! It’s been parked in the same spot for two days in a row, and while you missed it both days, you’re banking that the third time will be a charm. You’ve checked the latest Twitter update, rescheduled your 12 o’clock, and placed your running shoes neatly beside your desk. Making your way down the escalator, you begin to salivate with the excitement that comes with checking out a highly recommended cuisine. You’ve made your way out of the lobby and across the street, and you head to where a crowd is assembled. But as you arrive at your intended destination, you realize the trademark blue and red truck with a smiling goat in the middle is gone… an RV hawking fresh camp fire-cooked food is parked in its place.
If any of the above sounds familiar, you are in luck. Four Wheel Foodie, a new web site and forthcoming app, aims to put the brakes on the troubles you’ve experienced finding your favorite mobile kitchen.
The food truck craze has waned a bit, but there still seems to be a new mobile food operation on the corner every month, and Sherri Michelstein–a co-founder of the site–notes that it was her own difficulty in finding one that led her to investigate using technology for improvement. After grabbing a bite from Taim’s food truck, she wanted to get lunch there again. “When I tried to find that food truck again, I couldn’t,” Michelstein recounts. Whether it was an outdated Twitter feed, police asking a truck to move, or a driver simply leaving an area for a spot in the shade, trucks were constantly on the move, and one app that tracked vendors in real time was non existent. And though several operations were diligent with updating their location statuses using social media, the overall process of looking up each and every food truck was daunting.
Michelstein, whose day job in the corporate world makes her sympathetic to the notion that sitting down for a big lunch isn’t realistic for most of her co-workers, took action, and she began working on a better, more comprehensive search system. The result? Four Wheel Foodie.
Members of Four Wheel Foodie fill out a brief registration form where they input their preferred location and favorite food trucks. Then they can search by either cuisine type, truck, or address, and the map will pull up all relevant findings. You can also opt to receive an email when a preferable food truck is close by. And the site identifies public areas such as atriums where people can eat, a bonus feature that pays off when you want to escape your office for the sun for a bit.
While the site currently tracks trucks via their Twitter feeds, the soon-to-debut app will eventually monitor these rolling restaurants in real time using its own platform. In the meantime, those interested in the site are invited to complete a free registration to gain access. The app is expected to debut during the fall for consumers, just in time to stock up on lobster rolls and empanadas before hybernating for the winter months.