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Comfort Food Goes Mobile


Pnut Butter Bar Truck Wrap


By Melissa Donovan


Part 1 of 2

Vehicle wrap opportunities continue to grow. What was once a small segment of the graphic arts is now a mega powerhouse. A vehicle promoting brands and companies isn’t a new concept. Truck wrapping isn’t either. But combining trucks with food, to provide food truck wraps, is a whole new stream of revenue for any print service provider (PSP) already offering wrapping services. This two-part series looks at print service providers (PSPs) creating wraps for food trucks.


Groovy Peanut Butter

90 percent of Los Angeles, CA-based Arete Digital Imaging’s offered services are vehicle/fleet wraps. Tony Jollett, owner, Arete, has a background in large format print. He worked for outdoor campaigns as an initial stepping stone into the graphic arts. In 2005 he began Arete, primarily wrapping cars for local radio stations.


Today the shop’s 14 employees wrap close to 50 local radio station vehicles. However, Jollett made it a point to expand and dabble into other areas. A small portion of the business is devoted to in-store signage. During the economic downturn, Arete’s usual clientele was holding back on marketing spend. To supplement revenue, Jollett decided to reach out to smaller potential clients via the Web.


With food trucks becoming massively popular, many of the contacts that came out of the Internet marketing campaign were those looking to enter into the business. Today Arete wraps one to four food trucks a week. Each is unique, as that is the name of the food truck game. “It’s a symbolic industry. The cooler the truck, the more novel it is. Then more entities want the truck placed in front of restaurants or at big events,” explains Jollett.


Changeover in the food truck segment of the wrap market is low. Smaller companies means tighter budgets and wraps are not changed out on a regular basis. Sometimes there may be a re-wrap, but that is unlikely, and it’s very rarely in the event of a media failure.


Arete relies on 3M Commercial Graphics media for its durability and consistency. Wraps are printed on either latex or solvent-based Hewlett-Packard (HP) devices. These are eight and six feet in width. The printers are ideal for the shop because of the consistent results, easy switch out of printheads, and no banding.


To match the fine output quality, the PSP’s in-house design team provides high-quality graphics and branding campaigns from the ground up. Most of Arete’s food truck clients already have a logo and together they come up with a comprehensive message.


Food trucks present wrap challenges. The sheer size of a vehicle, for one, is daunting. However, one of the more interesting hurdles is working with a custom template each time. Each truck is different in size, where windows are placed, how many doors it has, and the wheel size. Every time Arete wraps a truck it must measure every element and create a brand new template.


In addition to inconsistent dimensions, the PSP must also contend with a variety of conditions. According to Jollett, many trucks are used prior to purchase and come into the shop pretty beat up, while others are specifically manufactured with the intent of becoming a wrapped vehicle.


The latter was true for the most recent project created for the Pnut Butter Bar. The owner originally worked with Arete in the real estate field and always wanted to be a chef. Now in a new phase of her life, she approached the PSP to wrap a truck for her new business endeavor—cooking and selling products that involve peanut butter.


Designing the truck involved a lot of back and forth between the client and Arete. She was hoping for a design evoking the 1970s, something with a groovy feel. Once the art was decided upon it was printed on one of the HP latex devices with 3M media. In-house installers wrapped the truck in about a day. The client loves the design and is seen all over Los Angeles, CA in the truck at many different catering events.


In response to the economic downturn, Arete took the time to translate previous skills into an entirely new revenue stream. Food truck wraps are an extension of its radio station vehicles wraps but allow the print provider to touch a completely different market.


The next article in our two-part series on food truck wraps chronicles LA Wraps of Torrance, CA.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.


Dec2012, Digital Output DOFT1212

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