Airlines let food trucks do the promotion

Airline Food Trucks_catering promotion_b680x302

This case appears in the October 2014 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing campaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

Food trucks are a hot phenomenon these days, evolving from chip stands into quality gourmet food on the go. As experiencing the products and services offered onboard has become an effective marketing tool for airlines to engage savvy consumers, a handful of airlines have capitalized on the food truck trend for marketing purposes.

For more on how airlines are using their onboard catering to engage the general public, see our contribution to this New York Times article “Ground-Level Tastings of the Best Food in the Sky.”

Air France, Austrian, Delta, United, Stockholm Arlanda Airport
For example, in March 2011 Air France sent their own gourmet food truck around the streets of New York City as a means of promoting their on-board catering services. The Air France truck featured dishes by Michelin Star Chef Joël Robuchon and was stationed at locations that were announced via Twitter and Facebook.

On a similar note, nearly a year prior to Air France’s food truck debut, Austrian’s coffee truck toured the streets of NYC as well. Austrian’s initiative was centred around its direct flights to Vienna, and the coffee service was a homage to traditional Viennese coffee and was distributed freely.

Also on the food truck and aviation roster in NYC was Delta Air Lines, who served hot cocoa, while United Airlines promoted the launch of a new route from San Francisco to Taipei this May by partnering with Taiwanese food truck Mamaliu to offer San Franciscans free lunches courtesy of United during a week.

The first airport to use a food truck to promote the restaurants and cafes present at the airport has been Stockholm Arlanda, which sent the Arlanda Food Truck around Stockholm during the fall of 2013.

The latest airlines to join the food truck bandwagon are Lufthansa and Korean Air.

Earlier this year, Lufthansa and its inflight catering division LSG Sky Chefs introduced regionally-inspired menus in Business and First on outbound US flights. With the onboard recipes, saying that the airline aims to offer a ‘Taste of America’ by featuring local culinary traditions and ingredients from across the United States.

To promote the new regional menus, LSG SkyChefs is touring six US cities over the next weeks highlighting local culinary specialities. During the tour, LSG Chefs demonstrate how locally sourced ingredients are used in preparing on-board meals and offering the public the chance to sample dishes served onboard such as Pumpkin Ravioli, Ancho Chili Dusted BeefFilet or Soda Pop Braised Short Ribs. These images and video show the foodtruck activities.

The #TasteOfAmerica tour will be in the following cities: New York City (Oct 7; images), Charlotte (Oct 9), Miami (Oct 10-11; images), Atlanta (Oct 14), Dallas (Oct 16-18), and Los Angeles (oct 21). Those interested can follow @Lufthansa_USA on Twitter for times and locations.

Korean Air
Korean Air, meanwhile, is offering Houstonians a taste of its in-flight meals in order to promote its non-stop flights between Houston and Seoul which it started this May.

Aimed at prospective business travellers, the truck – fully wrapped with the Korean Air colors and images – serves 250 meals on weekdays during lunch hours at the so-called ‘energy corridor’ of the city near the headquarters of General Electric Oil and Gas and Chevron. On weekends it sets itself up at local events in the Houston area.

Two flight crews from Korean Air, along with a catering chef who will prepare the sample meals, are running the food truck. Foods that are available for sampling include bibimbap – a dish of rice, vegetables, meat and hot pepper paste – galbijjim – baised beef short ribs – and Bulgogi deopbab, a bowl of rice topped with bulgogi or grilled marinated beef.

The meal service kicked off on September 29th and runs through Oct. 26, and Korean Air plans to serve 100 bibimbap, 100 servings of bulgogi deopbab and 50 plates of galbijjim per day.


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