One of the best kept secrets of the DC food truck scene is just how well organized the food truck owners are in everything they do. I’ve been following their tweets for many months and I can tell you that I witnessed this extreme organization in just a matter of days.
To the outsider, you observe many individually branded food trucks with varying cuisine that seem to roam about the District and Arlington in search of hungry customers. Then, all of a sudden you wake up on a Saturday and find that no less than 7 food trucks had been summoned to the GWU campus to serve food at the RootsCamp conference. A few Mondays later, you find an impromptu food truck fiesta at Franklin Square hosting almost the entire inventory of DC food trucks, as if some giant multinational company CEO ordered that it be done.
This extreme organization of DC food trucks is not directed by any single person or by some ambiguous parent company. DC Food Trucks have self-organized for several reasons: Survival, Friendship and Business. I haven’t interviewed trucks for this particular story, but 80% of this info can be gleaned from reading pages and pages of tweets. For example, on December 18th, El Floridano tweets “Huge Massive shout out to Tom @DCSlices for the propane hook up!!” Simultaneously, every DC food truck tweets the following on December 7th: “URGENT: Tell the City Council to stand up to these special interests by emailing your council member now – www.SaveDCFoodTrucks.org“.
How well organized are DC food trucks now? Well, I happen to know that DC food trucks have in-person owner/operator meetings as frequently as on a weekly basis. And, as of late last week, it isn’t such a big secret anymore because the DC Mobile Food Vendors Association has officially formed. According to Matt Geller CEO – SoCal Mobile Food Vendors’ Association, who was flown in to DC to consult the DCMFVA, the newly elected board of the DC Mobile Food Vendors Association includes Kristi Whitfield (executive director) of Curbside Cupcakes, Justin Vitarello (assistant director) of Fojol Bros and Mike Lenard (assistant director) of TaKorean.
The restaurant associations have had a huge head start in lobbying against food trucks, attacking them through proposed District of Columbia DCRA regulations. So, while the DC food truck industry seems to be thriving right now, its existence is still not guaranteed.
The (yet to be built) DCMFVA website is located here and their twitter handle is @DCMFVA. Yes, @foodtruckfiesta is the first one to follow @DCMFVA 🙂