Has anyone noticed an increase in people wanting to get into the food truck business since those TV shows have been on the air?
Take it from someone who has been through it in another field, TV shows popularizing a certain type of business can also be the death of it. I have recently retired (OK semi-retired) from the tattoo industry after over 15 years in business. The popularity of tattoo reality TV shows has massacred what was once a thriving industry. Initially they brought a huge boom to the business. Suddenly tattoos were all the rage and everybody wanted one. That is until everybody and their brother decided it also looked like a fun/easy/lucrative occupation to be in. (it was until so many got in it)
In 1999, when I opened my first tattoo shop, I was the only shop in town. Over the next few years a couple more opened up but it was no big deal. There was plenty of business to go around. Then the TV shows got popular. Suddenly new shops started popping up left and right, mostly staffed by people who had no clue what they were doing, had not paid their dues in any way, and really had no business in tattooing. Within just the past year 8 new shops have opening in my county. Tattooing is not like the food business. People eat every day, all their lives. Only one out of three people ever get tattooed and most who do will only get one or two in a lifetime. A tattoo shop on every street corner won't work. In the past five years I have seen my average number of tattoos per day drop from 5-7 to 2-3, and the average tattoo price fall from $150-200 to $50-60. Worst of all, this over-saturation of shops has created a climate of bargain hunting and price shopping where quality is a secondary concern. It's gotten so bad that many people will walk in the door, ask the shop minimum, then turn and leave without ever looking at our work, all because our minimum is $10 higher than the shop down the street.
What does all this have to do with the food service/restaurant business? Very little, except I feel the popularity of TV shows with "behind the scenes" looks into the food industry might just spur the same over-saturation of food trucks, carts, and small mom and pop operations as the tattoo shows did for tattooing. Please don't let it happen. That would be a real shame.
Now that I'm (semi) retired from my previous field, I'm looking into something food service related. It's an interest I've had for quite a while (long before the above mentioned TV shows). I've done a lot of research into various aspects of it. For practical experience I helped out a lot at a friend's restaurant/bar, mostly for free in my spare time. Looking at either a hot dog business (brick and mortar walk-up or concession trailer, not a cart or truck), a small diner (see my other recent thread) or Italian/pizza joint. Right now just putting together plans and market studies to see how the numbers stack up.