WASHINGTON – In recent months, food trucks have gained both recognition and popularity, and the trend is not showing any signs of slowing down. What’s more, it was ranked as a top trend in the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2011” survey.

More than 1,500 professional chef members of the American Culinary Federation participated in the survey. Approximately one-third named food trucks and pop-up restaurants as the hottest operational trend for restaurants next year (This trend was covered in a feature story published in Meat&Poultry in October, 2011 ).

Newcomers and well-established restaurateurs alike are getting in the mobile foodservice and temporary restaurant market. Start-up costs for these types of ventures are typically lower than traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants and can allow for more experimentation on menus and marketing strategies.

One well-known chef, Ludo Lefebvre, is operating both a food truck and a pop-up restaurant. The LudoBites concept is extending his Los Angeles clientele beyond the walls of the traditional kitchen. He even made it east to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show last May to showcase his truck and participate in an educational session.

The mobile foodservice trend also ties into what the chefs identified as the third-hottest operational trend next year – social media-based marketing (17%).