An app that connects hungry truck drivers to restaurants looking for business launched this week, adding to the plethora of efforts aimed at helping truckers find something to eat while on the road during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It addresses problems truckers are having trying to find food,” said Richard Hankins, CEO of My Truckin’ Tech, a Dallas-based firm that provides back office solutions for drivers and carriers.
Among the roadblocks truckers face are restaurant closures and the inability of Class 8 big rigs to pull into drive-thru venues like McDonalds.
“At the same time, we saw that some of our own favorite restaurants are closing the doors now and in some cases permanently,” Hankins said. “So we’re looking at both sides of the coin – seven million truckers that need food, and thousands of restaurants in need of customers.”
The My Truckin’ food app is a flexible solution based on supply and demand – after logging onto the app, drivers press the “I’m hungry” button, which adds them to a pool of hungry drivers that shows up on a bubble map. Participating restaurants check the map for a critical mass of hungry drivers, then drop a pin showing where they can set up a mobile food operation nearby.
Drivers then place an order online, drive to the location and pick up the food.
The goal is to have one available food provider for every 30 “hungry” drivers in an area, according to Hankins, adding that the bubble maps turn a brighter shade of red as the need increases.
Launched on May 4, the app does require buy-in from multiple stakeholders to be successful, he acknowledged. “We’re relying on word of mouth,” he said.
The logistics are likewise complicated. Vendors will need vans or other transportation to ferry the food from the restaurant to the drop-off site. They also need permission to set up their operations. At this time it’s unclear whether restaurants would be able to set up at truck stops or rest stops.
Hankins said he is currently in talks with an unnamed truck stop to allow My Truckin’ Tech to set up on site with literature and a food truck that will take orders through the app.
The app is now live for both Android and iOS. It is not available on Google, so Android users will need to download the app from the Amazon App Store.
His company is not taking a percentage of revenue generated from food sales, but the nominal app fee will cover costs, according to Hankins.