The Memphis Food Truck Association held its inaugural meeting Monday night, voting unanimously to form an alliance supporting the city’s mobile food vendors.
About 60 people showed up to the event in the Broad Avenue Arts District arranged by Taylor Berger of YoLo Frozen Yogurt & Gelato.
“The energy level was really high. It felt like a community already,” Berger said. “I hadn’t really experienced anything like that in awhile – just the kind of grassroots community level enthusiasm, it was just electric.”
YoLo is one of 45 operating food trucks that have been authorized by the Shelby County Health Department, with more than 30 pending applications. Berger said many of the meeting’s attendees had recently been licensed, had pending applications or were considering the idea at various stages.
“There has been frustration with individual food trucks reaching out to parks and companies and not meeting a lot of success, but a lot of optimism was met by reaching out under one banner with one voice that we could broker some really good deals for everybody.”
The group discussed the Food Truck Fare, happening Thursday, May 10 at Court Square. Participating vendors are Fuel, YoLo, Square Meal on Wheels, Memphis Munchies, Kona Ice, Revival Southern Food Co., Mark’s Grill, Healthy Delicious, Rockin’ Dough and Scooter’s.
What’s more, Natalie Wilson with Shelby Farms Park reviewed the first food truck rally scheduled for June 30, to coincide with the U.S. Navy jazz band playing in front of Patriot Lake. In fact, she’s working on up to eight more dates in July and August for free Thursday night concerts where food trucks could vend.
“That’s really exciting,” Berger said. “There are not a lot of family-friendly things to do for free during the summer, especially on Thursday nights, so I think that’s going to be a hit.”
Meanwhile, Jim Duncan and the Botanic Gardens are considering inexpensive weekly summer movie screenings, yet another chance for food trucks to collaborate together and reach a wider audience than if they were doing it alone.
“Like the classic movies – everything from Indiana Jones to Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Berger said. “That would be huge, I think it’d be really popular and a great opportunity for food trucks, so hopefully that will go through as well.”
Berger said about a dozen people signed up at the end of the meeting who were interested in being board members. Several people also volunteered to head up the association’s social media efforts (Facebook.com/MemphisFoodTruckers and Twitter.com/MemFoodTruckers) and arrange workshops to get everyone on the same page.
But perhaps the biggest accomplishment of the Memphis Food Truck Association’s debut meeting was nailing down its contact base.
“We’ve got everybody’s contact information solidified so now we’ve got a great distribution list,” Berger said. “We’re going to keep everybody updated on everything.”