It appears that food inflation may have also affected the pricing of food truck offerings, at least in Austin, Texas.
That’s according to TikToker @notyorbuddy2, who finds it difficult to reconcile that purchasing meals from trucks aren’t much different than what he would pay for at a sit-down restaurant. He adds, in the video, he doesn’t understand why prices would be so high given the overheard of operating a truck versus a full restaurant.
Food trucks typically offer lower cost food options to hungry patrons as a result of their business operation; however, a combination of food inflation spikes as reported by the USDA, and Austin’s food truck culture totaling some 1,200 different vendors, according to the AustinTexas.org site, could be the source of these high prices.
@notyorbuddy2 What do you think? #foodtruck #foodtrucks #austintx #california #food #foodie #restaurant #budget ♬ original sound – NotYourBuddy2
The TikToker asks, “Is it just me or have food trucks gotten completely out of hand? Like I remember food trucks being mostly like taco trucks, hamburgers, stuff like that where you could go and get a reasonably priced meal for like you know and they’re usually really good but not very expensive.
“These days I might as well go and sit down,” he remarks.
He goes on to say, “My girlfriend lives in Austin, Texas and Austin has a huge food truck scene, and to be honest, a lot of the food trucks are fantastic, but like you’ll spend $40 or $50 at a food truck and my understanding of the reason that food trucks were so attractive to the consumer is like you’re not paying for servers, you’re not paying for like the place where you’re dining.
“I know they’re probably paying rent wherever they’re set up,” he adds, “but that to me it’s insane. If I’m gonna pay $30 or $40 at a food truck, I would rather pay an extra $10 to $15 and go sit down and have a meal inside. Or point me to the $2-per-taco taco truck.”
The creator isn’t the only person to complain about exorbitant food truck prices in Austin online. Redditor @greenbug05 uploaded a post stating the cost of eating at a food truck in the area is tantamount to dine-in experiences. In that blurb, the Redditor mentioned a particular food truck costing $27 for two items with tip, noting, “The food was good but the price seems high to me! Food trucks are not incurring renting cost the same way as restaurants but still charging the same price.”
One user replied that this was just a consequence of living in Austin, as the general price of all goods and services are relatively high when compared to other parts of the country: “Everything in Austin is outrageously expensive now. Everything!”
A YouTuber also posted a clip detailing just how high some of the food truck prices in Austin can get. In the video, they compared $10 and $125 food truck steaks, listing the differences in quality between the two.
In October 2022, Community Impact also penned an article commenting that “historically high food prices [have] change[d] Austin’s restaurant scene,” citing food cost statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and writing that the “Texas Restaurant Association data shows 86% of restaurants in the state raised their prices since 2019.”
A number of TikTokers who agreed with the creator. As one said, “Paying $20 for lunch from a food truck is not a good deal.”
Another opined, “The whole purpose of the food truck is to reduce cost by eliminating the building rent.”
There was one user who also expressed that it didn’t feel right to spend as much money for food truck fare as they would at a dine-in restaurant: “I refuse to pay restaurant prices for fast food or food trucks.”
And one commenter shared, “Food truck menus don’t even post prices on them … red flag.”
Someone else said they flat out refuse to purchase high-priced items from food trucks: “Stopped by a new truck that just started in the area. they wanted $4 ea for those small street tacos. $15 burritos & $13 quesadillas. We didn’t eat.”
“Yes. This. I’m not going to stand outside in the weather and pay more then I would for a to-go at a restaurant,” another TikToker wrote.
Someone, looking to drawing a corollary, queried, “Food trucks are the next Airbnb?”
The Daily Dot has reached out to the creator via email.