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Food truck vendors find success at Munchathon

The food-filled event generated publicity and profit for food vendors in Orange County.

By Kristen CervantesPublished: July 18, 2011 11:34 AM

Photos by Kristen Cervantes
Hundreds of hungry foodies walked, ran and devoured their way to the first Munchathon food festival in Oak Canyon Park on Saturday. The grub-filled event successfully promoted Los Angeles and Orange County food trucks to a variety of enthusiastic “munchers.”

A few of the top food trucks included: The Lime Truck, Nom Nom and No Jodas. The event wasn’t just a way for food lovers to indulge - it also provided publicity and revenue for food truck companies.

"Being able to be in one city one day, another city the next day and follow the crowds, it's great," said Andrew Gruel, chef and owner of SlapFish food truck company. Gruel, who believes social media and word of mouth are the best ways for food trucks to gain exposure, explained the advantages of working out of a food truck.

"We're mobile ... so we can go to the customer. The cross promotion is huge on food trucks. You're going to touch a different audience every single day," said Gruel.

The food-filled affair was influenced by the Travel Channel's "Man v. Food," which made a special appearance, and CBS' "The Amazing Race." An early morning 5k run/obstacle course continued with fun activities and a DJ played a variety of tunes in the afternoon. Participants raced in tasty apparel, such as bacon strips and hot dogs, and roamed around a sprawl of over 50 food trucks and vendors.

One of the more popular food trucks, White Rabbit, sells Filipino fusion cuisine and will be featured in an upcoming episode of "Man v. Food." The Los Angeles-based company is one of many food trucks transitioning to the Orange County area.

"We have a good following in Orange County, so we definitely wanted to make our presence known more out here and we're definitely going to evolve towards Orange County ... hopefully we'll be here more often," said Michael Dimaguila, owner of White Rabbit.

Instead of selling food out of a traditional restaurant establishment, businesses are utilizing the mobility and popularity of food trucks as a way to reach more customers. The goal for the Munchathon was to gain profit and publicity for local food trucks and sponsors, according to the event's director, Ashley Eliot.

"We wanted to bring L.A. trucks to this area [Orange County]. There's a huge need for the trucks here. We want exposure for those vendors, whether local or in L.A., for people to really try the food and get to know the vendors ... to do something fun, different. Keeping [the food trucks] diverse was huge," said Eliot.

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