Cooperating food trucks

Wednesday, 10 May, 2017

Food trucks are the fastest-growing sector in the restaurant industry, generating approximately $850 million in revenue in 2015, according to the Rice University study ‘Competition of a Different Flavor: How a Strategic Group Identity Shapes Competition and Cooperation’.

The study, published in Administrative Science Quarterly, focuses on 41 gourmet food trucks in Houston which were found to cooperate extensively and engage in friendly competition to promote the group members’ excellence and uniqueness.

Based on a qualitative analysis of prototypical members of Houston’s gourmet food truck market, the researchers found that members cooperate to help each other meet the central tendencies of the group, such as tasty food and good ingredients, reliable business practices around cleanliness and legal matters, and mobility in terms of truck location and social media. The researchers said members support each other, for example, by fixing each other’s trucks, running errands, donating supplies and volunteering on other trucks.

The researchers also found that members compete to strive for the ideal tendencies of the group — the attributes of members held in highest regard — such as having the best food, most reliable business practices or greatest mobility.

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