Meals on wheels: Applebees, Taco Bell go mobile with roving restaurants

Meals on wheels Applebees, Taco Bell go mobile with roving restaurants

First the drive-through, now the drive by…

The next step in commercial food-mongering is seemingly upon us, as fast food corporations and big-name restaurant chains take to the open road, infringing upon territory made popular by high-end food carts.

The growing food cart craze has already begun sweeping the nation. All over the country foodies, hipsters, and office workers are flocking to these city-scattered oases of artisanal eats. The winning combination of cheap meals and organic (often locally grown) ingredients have given hungry folks a fresh alternative to the hum-drum offerings provided by nationwide chains and fast food joints.

But that looks like it could change as a number of big businesses like Taco Bell, Red Robin, Applebee’s and — everyone’s favorite sneeze-guard laden buffet — The Sizzler are looking to get in on the action. Even companies like the Gap and NBC (destroyer of Olympics) have taken to the road, with the latter offering up some mobile meals of its own at this year’s SXSW.

Of course, these mobile networks of taco trucks and vegan vans aren’t going to be replacing traditional brick and mortar spots anytime soon. Many, like the Sizzler, are using them as test kitchens. In some instances, culinary creations from these mobile installations have proved so popular that they have been implemented into the regular menu.

Truth be told, we’re not sure how we feel about this. Part of the charm local street carts and taco trucks carry is just that, they’re local, they’re diverse, and they’re just all around better. As a matter of fact, it can be said that food carts serve as the antithesis of the fast food and restaurant chain industry.

Does the future of the fast food industry mean roving-restaurants? Not likely. Despite our skepticism, though, this seems like it could very well be a growing trend, and like any trend big business will be there to capitalize.

[Image credit: Adweek]