Wednesday, 3 December 2014

On Food Trucks and Frucks


These days, between work, study and parenting, I am generally doing very well if I know what day of the week it is and arrive home before 9:30pm.
And while writing crosses my mind once in a while, I have been extremely busy, studying change... I know, fancy that, the change addict, studying change. 

It has been so hectic; my daughter even informed me this week, that she would appreciate at least “one day of parenting” a week. 
If your children are requesting parenting, you know things are bad and your schedule is managing you, not the other way around and so I am counting down the days until my last exam in about two weeks time.  

That and I have also started a new project in the food truck industry which is adding to my schedule.
And while the industry is relatively large overseas, here locally, it has barely begun.  And I cannot help but wonder exactly how it will adjust to the South African market, or rather just how the South African market will adjust to it. 

In one of my previous positions much of my marketing work was to reposition an American social development concept for a South African market. 
You see, South Africans culturally are quite big on slang.

So you see, How are you in South African is ‘how’z it?’  In other country’s ‘how are you’ is ‘how are you’?
And hey my brother is “hey bru.” 

A washroom / restroom is referred to as a ‘loo’. 
That’s fine / cool is ‘sharp’.  It took me a long time to figure out what that was because the pronunciation was ‘shap’. 

Slang here tends to be highly economical in its usage of phonetics and generally efficient. 
Similarly there are eleven official languages and so if there are concepts that don’t quite translate, they simply become adopted, words like tsotsi (street savvy thug), lekker (tasty / great) to mention but a few. 

That said; it brings me a question.  What will be the street lingo be for food trucks?  I know; food trucks are food trucks.  But in what markets are they food trucks?  Not the SA market. 
I have my concerns about the language of food truck or mobile kitchen.  The streets will never adapt to lingo like that.  Mobile kitchen is simply too long, food truck conjures up images of a delivery truck with food and so generally the market will pick up on that and build an association.
So we explored a few ideas with my daughter (on my one day of parenting this week) and made a few suggestions.  One that we liked and thought had some potential was mobicat which was short for mobile catering unit, not bad - but already a brand, or koscaddy (kos is food in Afrikaans), not bad but maybe a little long.  Has a nice ring to it though.  And while we explored a few more options, have actually not come to a conclusion on the matter.

That said we do have some concerns. Knowing that ‘how are you’ is ‘how’z it’ and ‘hey my brother’ is ‘hey bru’, we are concerned that the shortened version of food truck...          
I am not so sure I would like to tell people I work in the frucking industry.  Aside from the standard reply to that statement which would be; ‘Sweetheart, we all work in frucking industries’, I myself might have the urge to ask someone working in the frucking industry whether an average day at work is spent vertically or horizontally? 

It has the sort of sound to it that might suggest most working time is spent on the back which would be a gross violation of reality. 
I mean, can’t you hear it.  ‘Where did you get that?’ ‘I got the burger from the fruck on the corner’.  

‘Well which fruck did you get it from, the one with wheels or the one wearing jeans with the chef’s hat? 
Not good people.  Not good at all. 

I cannot help but wonder why food trucks have less of a presence in Canada when in the US it is an enormous industry.  And the answer is simple.  They would be ‘FRUCKS’ there too.         
Because driving that thing through winter would be a mission and when it gets stuck on snow filled roads believe me, it would most definitely be a ‘Fruck’ and I am quite sure that the ‘food’ in ‘food truck’ has been adequately replaced with another adjective.  

That said, ‘fruck’ is a word that would be easy to place into the market... no effort at all, and the entertainment value is somewhat high level... 
But as a parent, I must conclude that it’s just not a good idea.  Because we will have created the excuse for children, who when accessing alternative adjectives for expression and emphasis, will tell us implicitly that:

‘I did not say what you think I said Mom,’ I said ‘Fruck’. 
‘You know, Fruck, short for F-O-O-O-O-D truck.  Hellooo... where you been, Ma?’  ‘Where you been?’