Craving a taco, hamburger, frozen yogurt, or a signature dish? Chances are you can catch it riding around your closest city. Food trucks are gaining in popularity as the masses become attracted to countless culinary delights on wheels. These fast food businesses rely on word of mouth, social media, and outstanding graphics for customers to line up at the window.
While traditional paint is still used in vehicle decoration, food trucks profit from the efficient and cost-effective abilities of digital print. Vendors answer the call with quick turnarounds and high-quality graphics.
Capitalizing on a Phenomenon
Custom Vehicle Wraps Inc., of Emeryville, CA, fell into the vehicle wrap industry in a unique way. Kwasi Boyd, head of marketing, Custom Vehicle Wraps, is a “child of record labels”. In the early 1990s he was heavily involved in street marketing for various music promotions. Morphing from this to corporate marketing, Boyd was recruited to work with Glacéau, makers of VitaminWater and SmartWater, to raise brand awareness in Northern CA.
Driving throughout the area and handing out complimentary beverage samples in a white van was not the best way to attract crowds. Around the time of the anthrax scare, potential customers were concerned about accepting free drinks from an unmarked van. To remedy the lack of exterior signage, Boyd and co-workers took stickers intended for vending machines and placed them on the van.
With the response strong, he decided to invest in custom vehicle wrapping by purchasing customvehiclewraps.com and the 877-WRAP-123 phone number in 2003. Today, Boyd works with a vast network of installers and design firms to create wraps and is learning how to install on his own.
He looked to purchase foodtruckwraps.com and others related to food trucks after watching Food Network’s recent reality show, The Great Food Truck Race. To become a viable contender in the space, Boyd and his sales counterpart use their marketing backgrounds and visit food truck events to speak with potential clients. Of note Off the Grid, an association that holds events daily in San Francisco, CA for street food vendors. Fridays are the biggest—with 10,000 to 15,000 people attending.
Custom Vehicle Wraps keeps the orders coming in with help from its Hewlett-Packard (HP) Designjet L26500 latex printer and Mimaki USA, Inc. JV33-160 solvent device. Boyd says while the HP Designjet L26500’s “green” inks are a selling point, it is ideal for the business because of the quick turnarounds so frequently encountered. The latex ink dries quickly, which allows the team to laminate as soon as a graphic comes off the printer.
The Mimaki solvent printer, on the other hand, is still relevant, according to Boyd. The machine is a workhorse and the print quality is high. While customers choose the HP Designjet L26500 for its eco-friendliness, others look to the Mimaki JV33-160 because of its established place as a mature device.
Preferred media depends on the customer. “Food truck clientele are knowledgeable about wraps, sometimes they come in with pages of paper printed from the Internet,” explains Boyd. Some request 3M Commercial Graphics and others Avery Dennison Graphics and Reflective Solutions.
A Taste of the Orient
Recently, Custom Vehicle Wraps created the first in a series of four trucks for James Chan’s Bao and Bowl. This 30-foot Cantonese food truck, which offers dim sum, bao, and rice bowls, is the largest truck Boyd’s team has ever wrapped. Chan contacted Boyd while driving the original unwrapped truck up from Southern CA. He wanted it wrapped fairly quickly, in a two to three day time span.