Restaurants fighting food trucks with food trucks

July 19, 2013 7:13:44 PM PDT
The booming food truck business in San Francisco is now facing new competition as brick-and-mortar restaurants are bringing their food downtown in hopes of getting a piece of the lunchtime action.

Ever since food trucks exploded onto the scene a few years ago, there's definitely been some tension with brick-and-mortar restaurants. Now, restaurants have decided to hit the road. They don't look that different than typical food trucks and they can now be found bringing San Francisco's restaurant scene to the 9 to 5 crowd.

The restaurants take turns offering food. Tamara Lam-Plattes was thrilled the day she got to order from Shanghai Dumpling King. "Which is like way out in the Outer Richmond. I used to live by there so when I saw that they would bring that here for lunch, that's kind of like, amazing," she told ABC7 News.

Palo-Alto-based "Eat Club" came up with the idea. So far, they have 40 restaurants participating including Bar Tartine in the Mission, Burmese Kitchen in the Tenderloin, and Dinosaurs in the Castro.

"So, we have a team of people who scour the city, who know what's already good, and who find the undiscovered things that people need to know about," explained Frank Han with Eat Club.

The service is entirely app-driven, so everything must be ordered online. Entrees are made ahead of time at the restaurant and kept in warming ovens until they're handed out.

Burmese Kitchen owner Dennis Lin says this has allowed him to tap into the downtown lunch business the same way food trucks have successfully done in recent years. "A lot of Financial District ask me to deliver but I have no way to do that, so this is a good way to do right now," he said.

The supervisor who recently spearheaded rules for food trucks in San Francisco says it appears this new concept falls in line with the city's new regulations. "We want to give them the space to be able to try new things and bring new products to consumers," Supervisor Scott Weiner told ABC7 News.

So far, there's only one of these buses in the city but if it catches on, more could be coming.


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