Shake Shack to test food trucks in Atlanta and New Jersey
- Shake Shack will roll out food trucks in New Jersey and Atlanta in February staffed by local restaurant employees, according to Skift Table.
- Trucks will be available for community events, festivals and private parties.
- In addition to food trucks, Shake Shack has been expanding into airports, shopping center food courts and stadiums, as well as traditional urban and free standing pads, according to an ICR Conference presentation.
Food trucks are quickly becoming a great way for chains to offer an extension to a fixed location and to test new markets. Auntie Anne's, which has been typically tied to malls and shopping centers, accelerated its food truck growth within the last year since launching its first truck in 2013. It now has dozens of trucks in its fleet.
A primary benefit of the food trucks are the mobile kitchens, which require less overhead to get up and running. It also can give restaurants a competitive advantage against independent food trucks, which at one point was threatening fast food industry. Other burger brands with food trucks include In-N-Out burger, Steak n Shake, McDonald's and White Castle. Chick-fil-A has also found success with its food truck concept, which just got approval this week to head to Maine and has seen expansion around Texas. The popular chicken chain's first food truck popped up in Washington, D.C., in 2012 and continues to see long lines each day even when stacked against a numerous local competitors.
Fast food chains aren't the only ones get in on the food truck game. Casual dining restaurant Johnny Rockets tested a food truck several years ago as part of a promotion with the Washington Redskins, and it was so popular that the truck wasn't able to keep up with demand.
In addition, the food truck industry is growing at a faster pace than the restaurant industry, which has increased 2% annually. Comparatively, food trucks have grown nearly 8% each year. It is expected to reach a value of nearly $1 billion by 2020, according to statista. Millennials, in particular, are driving the upward trend as they crave new foods at reasonable prices.
In addition to adding food trucks, Shake Shack, which started as a New York brand, continues to expand domestically and internationally and 80% of its sites are now outside of New York, executives said during the ICR Conference.
It opened 34 sites in 2018 and has plans to add another 36 to 40 locations this year, including units in airports in Dallas, Denver and Phoenix. It will be in 16 countries by the end of the year, with its first China location opening this month. It also will expand to Mexico, Singapore and the Philippines, executives said.
Shake Shack has definitely hit the ground running this year and its new food trucks could provide another avenue for growth, marketing and testing new demographics.
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