By Shey Li Liew
Perth’s first full-time food truck park has opened at the Old Swan Barracks.
Perth Mess Hall will be open every weekend with a rotating roster of more than 50 food trucks, with eight different trucks every night on the weekends.
Operations manager and founder Todd Kempton got the idea to open a permanent venue for food trucks after visiting night markets in Asian countries that are open all-year-round.
“It’s not a new concept, I’m quite sure that they exist in the east coast of Australia,” said Kempton.
“Once I started researching, I realised there were quite a few places in Australia doing it, but just not in Perth.”
Kempton is working to achieve more consistent and better business opportunities for the food truck industry.
“Events are kind of…all their price is different, size is different, organisers are different,” he said.
“Having it consistent so when they (food truck vendors) book in here, they can have a pretty good idea of how many people are going to be here.”
Although Perth Mess Hall tries to provide that consistency to vendors, Kempton says their business is dependent on Perth’s weather.
He says their food truck park will have to close if it’s really wet, but will stay open if the rain is light as there’s an indoor area for customers to dine in.
Dr Martin Brueckner, a sustainability lecturer at Murdoch University has worked in the area of business management. He says the food truck industry has become competitive to restaurants due to its mobility.
“Rather than having people to get to the restaurant, food trucks have the advantage to move close to people,” Dr Brueckner said.
He thinks the permanent food truck park brings competition to Perth restaurants that specifically cater for fast food.
He says these restaurants need to highlight their unique selling point, especially their customers’ dining experience.
The Australian Hotels Association, Australian Trade and Investment Commission and WA Mobile Food Vendors Association were contacted for comment.