Macy’s Hits the Road With Cross-Country Food Truck Tour

By D. Channing Muller August 2, 2011, 9:10 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of Macy's

Macy’s took its brand mobile earlier this summer with its inaugural Macy’s Chefs A-Go-Go food truck tour. Festivities kicked off in Miami on June 28 with local chef Michelle Bernstein, and the truck is making 15 stops in eight cities around the country through September 30, in an effort to increase the company’s social media presence and draw in new customers.

“Macy’s has always believed in doing the most dynamic and engaging special events, and mobile marketing—particularly food trucks—is the thing of today and hopefully the future,” said Amy Kule, the brand’s group vice president of national events and partnership marketing. 

The company tapped into the members of its Macy’s Culinary Council, a group of recognizable chefs with different specialties, to bring a star-studded element to each stop. Chefs like Marcus Samuelsson, Ming Tsai, Todd English, Cat Cora, and others have joined the traveling truck in New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Macy’s paired up with a local foodie event in each city, beginning with the Biscayne Triangle Truck Round-Up in Miami, and continuing on to the Union Square Green Market in New York on July 16, Eastern Market in Washington on Friday, and Harlem Week in Manhattan on Sunday; it will appear at the Saturday Market in Portland, Oregon, on September 7. The truck stops at each location for about four hours, and has attracted nearly 1,000 people each time. Attendees who “like” the company on Facebook receive a free reusable shopping bag, in addition to the complimentary meal provided by the city’s chef.

“[The tour] was never intend as a money-making adventure,” Kule said. “It’s more about getting our council out on the road and creating a sense of fun and adventure for our current and potential customers.”

In exchange for the complimentary meals provided, Macy’s is asking diners to donate to its partner Feeding America, a nonprofit that calculates that $1 can provide seven meals to a person in need. “If we can go out and give free food to someone, perhaps they will give a few dollars to someone who doesn’t have the opportunity to have a meal when they want it,” Kule said. The money collected via the Feeding America Tip Jar will be donated upon the tour’s completion.

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