Taylor Berger addresses participants at the first meeting of the Memphis Food Truck Association.
With an unanimous and heartfelt “aye,” the Memphis Food Truck Association formed Monday evening during a meeting held in an empty store front in the Broad Avenue Historic Arts District.
About 40 food truck operators attended the organizational meeting led by YoLo Frozen Yogurt founder Taylor Berger, who is heading the charge for food truckers in Memphis to organize and publicize.
“The only way we can speak is as one voice,” Berger told the group, explaining that 45 food truckers already hold licenses to operate in Memphis, while another 30 to 40 are waiting for approval. “With almost 100 trucks trying to operate, that means there’s a big appetite in the city for mobile food.”
Amen. Monday's grassroots gathering reminded me a little of the union meetings I used to cover in the mid-70s, only this meeting was upbeat instead of contentious. Eventually, the association will work toward changing restrictive ordinances, but for now organizers are more concerned with teaching truckers how to tweet. The association already has a Facebook page, and its initial focus will be to build a map with geo tagging so customers can find truck locations in real time.
Food truck rodeos are another priority. The season’s first rodeo featuring a dozen food trucks is set for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at downtown’s Court Square. On June 30, another food rodeo will be held at Shelby Farms during the free U.S. Navy Band concert. Food trucks will continue to participate in Shelby Farms' Thursday night concert series throughout July and August, according to Berger.
On a more practical level, Berger also is considering a “Truck Stop,” or commercial commissary kitchen, for the space at 2655 Broad Ave. where he held the Monday night meeting. “Would anyone be interested in a kitchen space for storage, prep or cleanup?” he asked the group. Their answer? Another enthusiastic “yes.”