08.27.2015Personal Tech

Food Trucks Turn to Tech + Best Food Truck Apps

Gone are the days of wondering what’s for lunch in a pinch. In the last five years, food trucks have been increasingly setting up mobile shop in cities all over the country.

The result has been a win for foodies everywhere: quick, easy access to high quality, diverse cuisine.

Pittsburgh is no exception. Steel City was recently named #3 among the Top 10 Foodie Cities in a ranking by Livability.com, and its food truck scene alone could explain why. Poblano and potato tacos from La Palapa. Salted caramel milkshakes from BRGR. Inventive hot dogs from Franktuary. Veggie fried rice from Tartan Express. And it wouldn’t be Pittsburgh without pierogis with sour cream and bacon from Pittsburgh Pierogi Truck. The list goes on. But with so many options, how is a hungry person supposed to pin down these mobile restaurants?

Enter mobile tech. These days, restaurant owners are turning to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a slew of mobile apps to let lunch-goers know what’s on the menu and where they’ll be at any given time. They’re also relying on mobile payment solutions. Jesús Martínez, manager of Mexican food truck La Palapa, said he uses mobile technology to keep in touch with his customers and manage other aspects of his business. “We post our schedule on our website, and people share it online, especially when we’re going to be at a special event,” Jesús says. “I also use my iPad and sometimes my phone to accept credit card transactions over WiFi.”

While social media apps are probably already trusted staples in your app library, here are the best food truck apps that can help keep you connected and keep your belly full.

Roaming Hunger: This real-time food truck map shows vendors closest to you at all times while allowing you to bookmark favorites and sort lists by who you like the best. Get in-depth food truck profiles and recommendations on where to get the best meal.

Food Truck Finder: Connect directly with food truck owners through this app equipped with in-app GPS to provide you with live, turn-by-turn directions to food trucks near you, along with links to each truck’s website, contact information and social media sites.

Follow That Food Truck!: This app opens to instantly display all active food trucks in your surrounding area. Using your phone’s GPS to display locations, this app’s interactive map works nationwide and can be used instantly without any app customization.

TruckMe: Search for nearby trucks, place your order and pay using this one-stop-shop app. It will let you know when you can expect your order and when it’s ready, allowing you to skip lines and receive your food as fresh as possible. What’s your preferred way to track down your favorite food truck?