Food trucks have gone to the dogs… Literally!

Not wanting to leave man's best friend out of the food-truck craze, the San Francisco dog-treats maker Milo’s Kitchen is this weekend wrapping up a cross-country tour of its "Treat Truck." 

The mobile food truck features homemade dog treat samples such as chicken meatballs and burger bites, all served on a silver platter. Also featured are the doggie lounge and a canine selfie station for pet owners to take home a memento of their visit. 

Though the food truck's goodies are free, the tour--which culminates in two final stops in Manhattan today and Sunday--is largely seen as a marketing vehicle for the brand.

Though not quite a small business--Milo's owner, Big Heart Pet Brands, is publicly traded--the idea of the dog-themed food truck is a good one, as it captializes on a trend that plenty of savvy small businesses can take advantage of.

Americans spend big money on their pets. In 2013, spending on furry friends reached an all-time high of $55.7 billion. That's projected to reach nearly $60 billion this year, an American Pet Products Association spokesman told CBS News in March. 

“We saw the food truck craze, and wanted to capitalize on the trend by giving pet-parents and their pets something new,” says brand manager Sonya Thomas. “Pets are part of the family and we don’t want them left out." 

Since the truck began its voyage in California this June, Milo’s Kitchen estimates that more than 1,000 dogs have visited the truck at each stop on the tour, consisting of sixteen cities. “The biggest was Wag Fest in Columbus, [Ohio]” says tour manager Curtis Drayton, who has been with the truck for the entire journey. “There were over 12,000 dogs that came out.” 

Will Milo's give its food truck idea more permanence? “Seeing these successes, we’re definitely looking into something else in the future,” says communication director Chrissy Trempedach. “It’s been a blast.”

Catch the Treat Truck on Sunday at Pier 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What are some more interesting marketing stunts you've seen lately? 

Published on: Sep 5, 2014