Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nashville Food Truck App

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By now you’ve probably seen at least a couple food trucks around Nashville. Seems like there are more each day!  These creative mobile food purveyors serve anything from donuts to Thai food and appear everywhere from festivals and breweries to downtown spots for the lunch crowd and late night service near bars. However, unless you follow them on Twitter or Facebook, it’s hard to know where they’ll be and when. Until now!

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The Nashville Food Truck Association has launched a smart phone app, which allows patrons to view all food truck locations and event dates in one place. To celebrate, they’ve named this May the innagural “Nashville Street Food Month.” The goal is to get everyone to try a food truck during the month, and use the app to help locate your favorites. AND, they’re offering $1 off a $10 purchase or more, if you download the app and mention it upon checkout. Pretty neat. 

The app is available for Apple and Android devices. Here’s a quick tutorial on how it works. Once you launch the app, the first screen you see is a listing of all the food trucks that are part of the NFTA. When you tap one of the names, you can get a description of what kind of food it offers, and where it’s planning to be in the coming days.

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Next, click on the “events” tab at the bottom and you’ll see a list of events/locations/festivals/etc. along with times detailing where various trucks are planning to be. The events go as far in advance as the food trucks program it. Currently the schedule is open through June 20. One neat feature is the pre-order option. Some of the trucks allow you to order your food and pay in advance, then just head over to the planned location for pickup. I haven’t tried this out yet but it’s definitely a nice option if you’re trying to grab something quick around lunchtime.

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The last tab is “maps.” Originally I thought this would track the truck’s location in realtime (that’s not true). Instead, it picks up the day’s location and pins it on a map. This is helpful since sometimes the locations aren’t immediately familiar to me, like if they’re assembling at a business somewhere that I’m not familiar with. (See “Cogent – HMG” example above. I don’t know where that is.)

I haven’t taken advantage Nashville Street Food Month yet, but I intend to soon! Even though I follow a lot of these trucks on Twitter, having them all in one place will definitely make the process more efficient.

The only critique I can give the app is that, at least on iPhones, if you keep the app open over night, the map doesn’t immediately update with the location of the next day’s food trucks. So if you were looking at Monday’s locations and then check again on Tuesday without closing it, on Tuesday the Monday locations will still show up. A quick fix to this is to just restart the app each time you use it and you’ll be enjoying a delightful gooey sandwich from the Grilled Cheeserie or a Mexican delight from Yayo’s OMG in no time.

Has anyone used the app yet? What do you think? What are your favorite food trucks so far? For those not in Nashville, do you have food trucks in your town? Have you used any other apps to track food trucks?

Curious to hear everyone’s thoughts!

 

 

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