Sunday, September 29, 2013

Roswell Food Truck Park Season Ends

UntitledThis weekend was the last one where food trucks will be parked at Don White Park in Roswell. Since this was somewhat of an experiment for the city, let's do an analysis of what worked and what didn't. After all, we like the idea of a food truck park in Roswell and we want it to come back, right?

What Worked: 

The venue. Don White is a great park, with lots of seating, parking, a beautiful view of the Chattahoochee and lots of access to walking trails that connect you to the Big Creek Greenway and Riverside park. It's a place you want to be on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

The location. There's not a ton of restaurants in east Roswell, so it was nice to have some dining out options within walking distance of my house. Canton street is fun, but I always have to get in my car to go there. I like walkable, neighborhood options.

Communication. Not only did the individual trucks have social media accounts you could follow to see where they were, but there was a Facebook page for the whole thing that posted regular updates as to who was at the park, when they'd be there and what they'd be serving. And it was monitored by someone who was friendly, knowledgeable and quick to respond. That's a big plus.

Untitled The concept itself. Food trucks at a gorgeous park on a weekend? Full of win.

What didn't work:

The variety. Namely that there wasn't much. After the first month, all the trucks seemed like repeats. And none of them really made me fall in love enough to come back a second time. I don't think I've been to the trucks since before Labor Day, though I did check every weekend to see who was there. And judging by the dwindling number of trucks each week (we started off with three different trucks every Saturday and Sunday and ended with just one truck both days), I'm not the only one who lost interest.

It seems like the same problem that hits the Riverside Farmers Market every fall. As soon as school starts and football season kicks in, folks start being too busy on the weekends for these kinds of things. Kinda sad, but such is fall in Georgia. To get people off the couch and away from their homes, you need to have something really amazing. Sadly, the variety of trucks wasn't enough to keep us interested.

Seating not always being available. But luckily, that was fixed.

So overall, I think the food truck experiment was a success, if not an overwhelming one . If I was Queen Empress of All Things Food, I'd adjust next summer by bringing in a wider variety of trucks every weekend and starting earlier to take advantage of everyone's relaxed summer schedules. Alpharetta's enormously popular Food Truck Alley manages to go strong every week, regardless of time of year, and I think they do it by having a strong variety of different trucks every week. There's no reason the organizers of the Roswell food truck park can't do the same thing in the future.  This is a great idea with tons of potential and I look forward to seeing it grow.

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Lee at said...

Do you know if Roswell is using Fork in the Road to organize the trucks? That's who Alpharetta has always used as they seem to be the only player out there. The downside seems to be the lack of variety, which has also plagued Alpharetta's event in my opinion. There are only so many times I'm gonna visit Tex's Tacos.

Jennifer Liang said...

I believe Roswell was using The Food Movement to organize the food truck park. From what I've been told, its a smaller organization, with fewer trucks affiliated, so that explains some of the lack of variety.