Are you a fan of food trucks? If so, how do you go about locating your favorites in a quick and easy way? Do you look out the window for food truck sightings? Have you figured out places where your favorite food trucks frequent, only to learn that they can sometimes be fickle and switch things up from time to time? Do you scan Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates? If so, those days of snooping around are over, thanks to ingenious Buffalonians who are coming up with reliable food truck tracking systems.
If your stomach is grumbling at this very moment, and the idea of tracking down a food truck is on your mind, look no further than Trucktor Beam! Web developer Ryan Frawley (Supreme Lord of ‘I’s and ‘O’s), and his business partner/web designer Collin Corcoran (Minister of Visuals), have come up with a handy mapping interface that tracks the trucks in a clever and visually appealing way. For the users of Trucktor Beam, the service is free and there’s no signing up – just click on the link and before you know it you are scoping out trucks around town.
The concept for Trucktor Beam came about when Ryan and Collin were working together at Comand Solutions in Allentown. “We were both fans of the food trucks,” Ryan told me. “One day Collin came to me and showed me his concept and I immediately knew that it was needed in Buffalo. Since we were already in the business of creating websites, we didn’t need to go to anyone to design or build the site. We just began to work on the project.”
The grand plan for Trucktor Beam is to make the business scalable. Once the Buffalo market is firing on all cylinders, the team plans to take the tracking site to other cities. “In fact, we have already been approached by individuals in other cities, including Toronto and Virginia. They like the way the site looks and the way it functions – notice the logos that can be seen on the map pins (a feature that it unique to the Trucktor Beam and helps users to easily identify the trucks). The local food truck industry has also embraced us, and we’ve signed up a bunch of trucks as you can see [on the map]. We have a super user-friendly app for people, as well as for the trucks to work with. The trucks can schedule their locations, or adjust their travels on the fly (and then send out push notifications to app users). When the user clicks on the truck in the navigation bar, the map automatically pulls up the truck’s location, the truck’s bio (coming soon) that includes the menu, and ordering capabilities (tap-to-call coming soon). At the same time, the trucks will be able to pull up “heat maps” that will identify clusters of real time app users.”
Trucktor Beam already has an app for Android and is scheduled to release one for the iPhone in early June. “We’ve had about 25,000 page views in the last month,” Ryan pointed out. “Eventually we will incorporate additional tech advancements into the app including geo locators, a time slider (for tracking the future movements of the trucks), and other fun and practical user features (for the trucks and the truck-lovers).”
“The most important thing is to showcase all of the incredible food offerings that we have here,” Collin chimed in. “These trucks are just as great as Buffalo’s restaurants, and add a ton of diversity to the food scene. Ryan is originally from Westchester, and I’m originally from Binghamton – I’ve lived in Cleveland, Pennsylvania and NYC. We’re both huge fans of the overall food scene in Buffalo – we have some incredible options to choose from, and the food truck industry elevates Buffalo to a level where it can be hard to even choose where you want to go and eat.”
I asked the Trucktor Beam guys what they thought was missing in the realm of local food truck cuisine, and they had this to say:
Collin: A chicken wing truck
Ryan: A real NYC-style pizza truck
If the food truck industry continues to grow at the rapid pace that has already been set, I’m sure that it won’t be long until they both get their food truck wish… until then, they still have plenty of yummy trucks to choose from, with an easy breezy tool to track them!