Two Complaints about Websites - Food Trucks

  1. Finding food trucks that are OPEN NEARBY. Yelp puts food trucks by their home location and includes them in searches and there’s no way to see where they are nearby. Google I think just doesn’t include them ( or maybe it does ). Why do I have to page through a whole bunch of good sounding things and found out that it’s the parking lot where the food truck parks when it’s not working???

  2. Food Hours vs Bar Hours. When I’m searching for food in a time range, don’t tell me the hours when drinks are served and food isn’t. I know it’s kind of a pain to have two open hours, but it’s so crucial when searching for food at 10pm or 10:30pm and you’re getting all these bars that serve food and may or may not have the kitchen open and you have to freaking call them or just know the kitchen hours.

I asked a friend at Yelp about this once and they denied that it even happened, and i whipped out my phone and showed them, and they said “most of us have kids and aren’t out searching for food at that hour” and … I also know the problem can be more complex ( like, 4 different possible hours, including happy hours, including when the location is open but drinks aren’t served either, or there is a limited menu, but FOOD VS NO FOOD is a perfectly reasonable cutoff, don’t let perfect be enemy of good!!!)

2a. Food hours while driving in Google Maps. Every time I use the “search for food on my route” WHILE I AM DRIVING I get a list of closed places. Well, dur, this feature is most useful if I’m driving at night and I’m starting to get hungry and tired, and I’m really not interested in what is on my route TOMORROW MORNING when I’m obviously not going to be on that route. This is so obvious I wonder if there’s a patent out and they don’t implement it because of that, but, er! And, the more obvious right thing is whether it will be closed or open when you’ll be near it but I’d even give them a pass on that. Just filter out the things that will be closed when I’m searching.

Sorry, just needed to write this somewhere. I have tried different google product forums.

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I’ve found that most good food trucks use Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook, to communicate where they’ll be. But those posts are only as good as the truck makes them. I’ve been following two trucks lately. One posts where they are on the day they’re there but not an advance schedule. The other posts so much general material that it’s hard to figure out if they actually do want to communicate where they’ll be.

To some degree I think that food trucks that are at breweries and similar venues rely more on the venue to do their ‘marketing’. I’m pretty sure the venues schedule trucks way in advance, so they know they’ll have food for people, and I kinda feel that some trucks miss the opportunity to create their own following.

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Yes,

I want yelp to STOP returning “food truck results” when the result is the food truck’s parking space and they are closed. There is no restaurant there, there is no one selling food there.

Yelp and Caterers is the same thing, they should simply NOT be in the “restaurant” and “food” category.

The problem of actually finding open trucks is different! And one has to do twitter and whatnot. I don’t do facebook products by and large, which leaves twitter, and twitter isn’t very location aware.

i think you’d have to stop food trucks from creating presences for their businesses (that means using the only address they have… where they park at night). That’s what searches are bringing up. I guess I don’t have much experience with this but it seems to me that the trucks’ only have two ways of communicating where they will be - one is putting their schedule on a website and the other is through social media. A search engine, unless I’m missing something, can’t distinguish those two from a business’s general presence mined from things like their company identity, corporate listings, license info, etc… Just my 2¢ FWIW.

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Next time you visit a food truck you like, ask the people running the truck the best way to connect and store that info in your phone. I have done this all over the country while working. Plan ahead a bit, make a quick txt , rec reply and I’m golden.

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― Jonathan Gold