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Living in a Mobile Food World in SoHo | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

Living in a Mobile Food World in SoHo

calexico cart

Mr. Softie

After reading about how the iPhone to Become #1 Camera on Flickr, it reinforced a couple things for me. While an argument could be that people are just getting lazier and hence the rise in iPhone photos, for me it’s the opposite. Interactions are becoming smarter and easier for people to use. With a press of the button the ease of spreading an image via email, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook (sometime all at the same time) is actually a pretty technical thing that people take for granted.

But with the ease mobility it also got me to thinking about non technical things like food. Walking around New York it’s pretty easy to get all the food a person would need without ever stepping into a building. Of course the question of how healthy that is should be asked. I’m just not going to pose that question for this post. What I did want to mention was how great it was earlier this week to sit on the corner of Broome and Broadway to get a simple burrito. While waiting I could help but people watch, enjoy the sun, check up on stuff with my iPhone and realize that if I wanted dessert all I had to do was cross the street to get an ice cream cone. It was the ultimate it in mobile convenience. It was the starck contrast of having to visit the typical templated chain outlet. The agility of the food cart and truck can come to the people and make their lives a bit better wasn’t lost on me.

It’s an interesting business proposition these days considering how many business are held back due to expensive leases. Being held to one place, the store must rely on people coming back. With a food cart if no one is there, in theory they can move around to find people. While I don’t know how much it costs for a license (it can’t be cheap), having the ability to move to the best people spots has to be more valuable than a long term lock on one location. Can it be soon before non traditional outlets try the vendor approach?

and yes those photos above were taken with my iPhone—pretty good quality eh?

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  • http://www.bitterlix.com/ Benedykt Szneider

    Heh, yeah! Me and my mates at studio always wanted to serve design solutions sitting in an Ice Cream VW, being on the move and ocassionally hiding from the client in the bushes.

  • http://www.gracecwu.com/ Grace

    This article by the NYT gives a little background of what it’s like to be a street vendor, documenting the clashes between traditional food vendors and recent upscale food trucks.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/dining/01truck.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    Guess it’s not so easy to just park your food truck and start selling. That probably means you won’t see a Chipotle truck anytime soon. Then again it’s New York.

  • http://www.gracecwu.com/ Grace

    This article by the NYT gives a little background of what it’s like to be a street vendor, documenting the clashes between traditional food vendors and recent upscale food trucks.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/dining/01truck.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

    Guess it’s not so easy to just park your food truck and start selling. That probably means you won’t see a Chipotle truck anytime soon. Then again it’s New York.

  • http://www.gracecwu.com/ Grace

    This is an interesting article about the clashes between traditional food vendors and more upscale food trucks.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/01/dining/01truc

    It must not be that easy to just park your truck and start selling food. Guess that means you won't be seeing a Chipotle truck anytime soon. But then again, it's New York.