Yet these rolling restaurants are on track to be nearly $3 billion industry by 2017

Some call it a trend. Many call it a fad. Others call it a business. Food trucks have become a hot item, especially in metropolitan areas. The National Restaurant Association, estimates that food trucks generate $650 million in annual revenue. By the year 2017, it’s expected to be a $2.7 billion national industry.

Despite food trucks’ popularity and a projected market share jump of 3 to 4 percent in the next five years (according to Intuit), a recent survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute indicated that nearly half of respondents both nationally and statewide have never purchased food from such trucks.

Purchasing Lunch or Dinner from a Food Truck

Of the 1,022 adult respondents in the nationwide poll, 48 percent said they had never had a meal food from a food truck. Another 24 percent only frequent a food truck once or twice a year, while 3 percent purchase food there once or twice a month. Only 11% buy lunch or dinner at a food truck from one to three times or more a week. The institute’s statewide poll of 535 adults yielded a similar result: 45 percent had never eaten food from a food truck.

How often to you get food from a food truck? Would you say …      

National Florida
4% Three or more times a week 5% Three or more times a week
7% Once or twice a week 7% Once or twice a week
13% Once or twice a month 14% Once or twice a month
24% Once or twice a year 27% Once or twice a year
48% Never 45% Never
3% Don’t know / not sure 3% Don’t know / not sure


Peter Marian, a Saint Leo University instructor of international hospitality and tourism, said he thinks Hollywood—movies, TV shows, and so on, have made food trucks in vogue and their offerings sexy. “Current TV shows such as ‘The Great Food Truck Race’ and the movie ‘Chef’ have increased awareness of food trucks,” said Marian. “Food trucks are very trendy right now, especially in downtown, metropolitan areas.”

Many local events now such as festivals and fairs have food trucks provide a portion of the customer demands. “Where there are crowds of people, there are hungry mouths to feed. It’s all about timing and location for the customer to connect with a food truck. Additionally, convenience and quality play key roles in someone choosing a food truck rather than another food option,” stated Marian.

The following two questions were put to respondents who said they get food from a truck at least once a year, and 501 people answered:

What is the most important reason why you get meals at food trucks?

  National   Florida
45% Convenience 46% Convenience
14% Affordability 13% Affordability
21% Quality of the food 23% Quality of food
6% Healthy choices 4% Healthy choices
12% Something else 11% Something else
1% Don’t know / not sure 2% Don’t know / not sure


What is the most important reason why you don’t get more meals at food trucks?

  National   Florida
22% Lack of convenience 19% Lack of convenience
15% Too expensive 18% Too expensive
10% Lack of variety 9% Lack of variety
8% Quality of the food 11% Quality of the food
10% Not healthy enough 13% Not healthy enough
17% Concerns about food safety 14% Concerns about food safety
13% Something else 10% Something else
4% Don’t know / not sure 6% Don’t know / not sure


The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about Florida and national politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

This Saint Leo University poll of 1,022 adults nationally and 535 Florida adults was conducted between May 25 and May 31, 2015. The margin of error on political questions (of likely voters only) is approximately 3 percent (national) and 4.5 percent (state) +/- with a 95 percent confidence level. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantages of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 dollar deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.

The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.

Media Contacts: Kim Payne, staff writer and media coordinator, at or (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.