Mobile Foods

            Welcome to Mobile Foods!

Mobile Foods is a cross platform application for mobile devices and web browsers. It uses the GPS on vendors’ phones or tablets to update vendors’ current locations automatically. Of course, it also provides vendors with numerous other services to help them make smart decisions. Different from its competitors, the concept of Mobile Foods is unique in that it serves food truck vendors as primary clients. Mobile Foods, a marketing company in your pocket.

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Idea Summary

Write a summary paragraph: In about a paragraph, describe what problem you are solving, how many people are experiencing the problem, and what your solution is.

Mobile food vendors have very little information on their clients or market opportunities for their operations. In addition, vendors have no way to reach their clients in real time without constant effort. There are between 40,000-60,000 vendors in the U.S. serving 15.6 million clients and there continues to be strong growth in the industry. Mobile Foods will help mobile food vendors be more profitable by giving them the data they need.

Tell us more about the problem you are solving.  Why is it a problem and how big of a problem is it?

Currently websites and services for mobile food trucks rely on mining Twitter feeds which causes problems when vendors do not update their Twitter feeds. This leads to incorrect mapping of vendor locations and the display of outdated information from old feeds. Additionally, data mining via Twitter feeds is only a one way flow of information. Vendors would benefit significantly from their clientele providing tips as to where their services are needed. Currently available services list food trucks from all over the world so they lack a comprehensive list for specific areas. This leaves clients of mobile restaurants with few vendor choices and little usability.

Who do you think your target customers are and how many are there?

Mobile Foods has two markets, Vendors, and their Clientele. There are an estimated 40,000-60,000 vendors operating in the U.S. and the number is increasing as restaurants and chains look to mobile food vending for inexpensive growth. There are an estimated 20,000 mobile food vendors in Austin, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles County alone.[1]

·       There are currently 270 million internet users and 116 million mobile web users in the U.S.[2], [3]

·       Android and Apple make up 68% of smart phone operating systems.4

·       The U.S. Census shows that 80.3% of the U.S. population lives in metropolitan areas.

·       Approximately 15.6 million people eat at mobile food vendors in the U.S. already.[4]

·       Approximately 73 million people say they would eat at a mobile food vendor.5

Clientele will be mobile web users with Android or Apple devices such as smart phones and tablets, as well as those with internet access who live in metropolitan areas. Limiting these numbers to groups living in metropolitan areas, and to people currently visiting mobile food vendors, there are approximately 4 million domestic users which use mobile Android or Apple devices, and approximately 11 million domestic internet users.

Internationally the Mobile Foods application will be available through Android Market and the Apple App Store.  The Android Market and Apple App Store offer paid apps to 128 countries[5] and 122 countries[6], respectively, worldwide.


[2] Internet World Stats

[3] Neilsen Research

[4] National Restaurant Association



Do you think your customers are looking for a solution?

Literature reviews and personal experiences show that people love mobile food but complain about how hard it is to find. Mobile Foods’ executive summary has generated excitement and interest as to when the application will be released.  According to the National Restaurant Association only 14% of food truck customers are able to find the food trucks using twitter and other social media. In addition, six out of ten people say that they would visit a food truck if their favorite restaurant opened one[7]. Mobile Foods will help mobile venders connect with these customers by helping the customers find the food trucks and giving information about these customers.

[7] National Restaurant Association

Tell us about your solution.  How does it work and what are the benefits?

Mobile Foods is a cross platform application for mobile devices and web browsers. It uses the GPS on vendors’ phones or tablets as a beacon to update vendors’ current locations automatically. Many vendors already use mobile devices to process credit card transactions, meaning the physical infrastructure is already in place. With automatic updates there will be no need to constantly and manually update social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and Foursquare again.

    (This section is omitted. For details, please refer to our complete business plan) 

Do you have any intellectual property (IP) that can be protected?  Is it protected?

(This section is omitted. For details, please refer to our complete business plan)

What's your plan for developing your product or service including some dates and milestones?  

The applications will be developed using Accelerator’s Titanium Development Studio.  Titanium’s ability to reuse code between Android, iSO and the mobile website will save in development cost.  The desktop version of the website will be developed using Google APIs and Adobe’s Dreamweaver software.

·       Free-lance programmers will be chosen by the second week in May from

·       Web designers will be chosen by the second week in May from

·       Beta version of the applications will be ready by the end of June with the final version being launched sometime between August and the end of October.

·       Website place holder will be launched by the end of February with the desktop and mobile version of the website launched alongside the applications.

Mobile Foods is currently engaged in the following.

·       An alpha version of the Mobile Foods application is currently in development

·       Market research and surveys to restaurant owners and vendors.

·       Full literature review will be conducted by May 2012, including trends in the legal environment for vendors.

·       Work has already begun to establish a relationship with the National Restaurant Association.

How much funding to get to a company exit?

There is no plan for an exit strategy.  Mobile Foods tools will focus on Google’s maps and applications, because of this we would look to Google to integrate Mobile Foods into their applications and/or data collection if exit is deemed necessary.

Tell us about yourselves (Who is on your team, what are you studying, what year are you)

Dong Kang: I am a Duke graduate student in the department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. I am a native Chinese and I got my BS from University of Tokyo, Japan.  I am always willing to participate in anything exciting and this event is definitely one of them. I have experience in Java, and will try hard to push this project forward. I will also make use of my language abilities to expand this project internationally.

Erik Jensen: I am a marketing student at the University of WI, La Crosse. I have been self-employed since 16. My work has involved several small businesses in such varied fields as insurance, construction, entertainment, and education.

Chris Pierick: I am a research technician that works in the Cullen lab at Duke University. I have a BS in Genetic, Cell Biology and Development from the University of Minnesota. Programming has been a hobby that I am passionate about and I am very excited to work on a project like this with Dong and Erik.

Use of Funds - if you won $50,000 how would you use it?

Most of the funds would go directly to legal fees (4k), professional services (1k), product development (33k), and design (3k). The remaining 9k would be used to purchase QR codes, contact vendors, and generally promote Mobile Foods.

Starting March 21st, vote for us on the Duke Start-Up Challenge Facebook Page!  And be sure to join us for the Grand Finale on April 20th at 7:30pm ET in Geneen Auditorium at the Fuqua School of Business, or live on Duke's Ustream Channel.  RSVP for the event on Facebook