Peanut butter-based cuisine to Chinese food, the food truck wrap projects profiled in this two-part series leave the mouth watering. The graphics that promote each business leave spectator’s eyes sparkling as well. A good wrap draws in potential consumers.
Successful food truck wraps promote a business from far away and up close. Digital print enables every angle to shine with high-quality ink and durable media. While many traditional vehicle wraps are used as showpieces and kept indoors, food trucks are constantly out on the streets and susceptible to a variety of elements.
Established in November 2010, LA Wraps—located in Torrance, CA—offers services ranging from design, full and partial vehicle wraps, wall murals, perforated window graphics, die cut vinyl vehicle and window graphics, and personalized wraps for bicycles, motorcycle helmets, and even medical helmets. A staff of 13 outputs wraps that travel from the West to the East Coast in a printing warehouse around 4,400 square feet.
LA Wraps incorporated wrapping capabilities into its business right away. “We had already established ourselves as a leading printing company in our area and to fulfill our vision we wanted to be a full-service large format printer,” explains Brandon Park, president, LA Wraps. That full-service vision translated to today 75 percent of all wrap printing as vehicles.
The company works with media from Hexis USA when creating specialty wraps that require finishes such as carbon fiber, reflective material, alligator, and chrome. The media’s durability and flexibility is ideal. When it comes to printing graphics on vinyl, 3M Commercial Graphics is the vendor of choice. The durability of this media is the prime consideration.
“Because of hot summers and air quality we need a material that can stand up to various weather conditions,” continues Park. The media also must be compatible with the print service provider’s (PSP’s) Roland DGA Corporation printers and UV resistant solvent-based ink. This ink type in particular is used to prevent fading and/or graphic damage due to prolonged exposure to sunlight.
LA Wraps’ experience with food truck wraps is similar to many PSPs; trucks are wrapped once and generally not re-wrapped again for awhile. Expanding companies many return to the shop for a second or third truck but that is rare. This PSP receives orders for new food truck wraps about once a month.
According to Park wrapping a food truck versus a standard vehicle differs in the time and care devoted to the job. With food truck companies focused solely on their image to get customers to try their food, the design process takes several weeks. LA Wraps’ customers work closely with designers until the artwork meets their vision. Some customers start with nothing at all, and designers work from scratch to create an entire, cohesive branding message.
In addition, many of the trucks include unique characteristics. Vents that cannot be blocked, doors that slide and swing, and other elements slow down the ultimate time it takes to the wrap entire truck. Park believes the experience just strengthens the shop’s abilities. Citing that the challenging situations help them to expand their expertise and perfect their wrapping abilities.
LA Wraps’ work for new customer Yo Prapioto presented challenges in both the design and details of the truck. The eatery brought to the table the innovative idea to market sushi inside a burrito. To advertise the food, he hoped to incorporate themes from both cultures. The PSP’s design team worked with the customer to create a mascot and complementary graphics that were eye catching and memorable.
From first proof to install took about a month. Media was printed on a Roland printer with 3M vinyl. The wrapping of the vehicle was the next hurdle. This particular truck had vents, which meant each vent slit had to be cut and wrapped individually. Ridges, hinges, doorways, and other parts of the truck required careful calculations to make sure it all fit.
The end result was a thrilled customer and challenges overcome. In particular, the customer was pleased with all of the help in designing the brand and appreciates LA Wraps incorporating his creative ideas. He said the company helped him realize his vision for an amazing truck.
Catch the Truck and Ride the Wave
As Arete Digital Imaging and LA Wraps demonstrate, the food truck wrapping business is involved. Smaller customers expect many types of services not traditionally required by a larger corporation. Design elements can start from scratch and truck types are not found in many vehicle template libraries.
A strong desire to create innovative, unique wraps and a patience to detail with small nuances makes for a successful food truck wrapper. These eateries on wheels are not disappearing, as popularity moves from the West to the East Coast, more PSPs will need to become up-to-date on this latest vehicle wrapping trend. Quick turnarounds and durability issues are familiar challenges to contend with. A print provider up to the task can overcome them and welcome a new revenue stream.
Click here to read part one of this exclusive online series, Comfort Food Goes Mobile.