Food truck evolution: Owners strategize as novelty wears off

In this Friday, June 8, 2018, photo customers get their lunch at the Japanese food truck Okamoto Kitchen in Beverly Hills, Calif. Rather than sushi and tempura, they serve meat, fish and sandwiches using traditional Japanese flavors like ponzu. (AP PThe Associated Press
In this Friday, June 8, 2018, photo customers get their lunch at the Japanese food truck Okamoto Kitchen in Beverly Hills, Calif. Rather than sushi and tempura, they serve meat, fish and sandwiches using traditional Japanese flavors like ponzu. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Starting a food truck to sell tacos or barbecue on downtown streets may seem easy or fun, but owners are finding they need more sophisticated plans now that the novelty has worn off.

A culinary fad a decade ago, food trucks have lost some luster with office workers and other customers, and even new ones may not draw a crowd.

Many prospective restaurateurs now use trucks as low-cost test kitchens and as literal marketing vehicles. And food truck operators soon realize they need to think strategically — especially about the winter.

Many owners have plunged into the catering business while others park their trucks permanently outside big corporate buildings or bars that serve alcohol but no food.

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