From movies to magazines to websites, a great deal of focus is being placed on food trucks, one of the major new restaurant industry trends. This dining segment is also showing up in smaller, non-chain restaurants that are clustered in areas along the lines of the mall dining court. Unlike mall locations, these operations are usually separate facilities. Even the food truck phenomenon often follows this eclectic approach to dining, offering a wide range of culinary choices in one area. Economics and Changing Tastes The economics of both independent and chain restaurants are opening the doors to some creative solutions to normal restaurant concepts. Two major factors driving this move are the desire to lower the per-unit costs of opening a new location, and the effort to go after new market segments. Kono Pizza, for example, is building kiosks in new areas that cost as little as $150,000, less than half the cost of a standard new location. Management also notes the lower ongoing rent costs and the lack of a need for long-term commitments on leases. In fact, the kiosk approach is also opening the door to new franchise opportunities. Potential franchisees can enter the market with a lower upfront cost and less risk. As more chains evaluate these micro-locations, consumers are indicating they will accept many brands in this convenient format. Food trucks are one of the most intriguing restaurant industry trends. Research shows more than 19 percent of fast casual restaurants are either exploring or intend to launch a food truck option in the near future. These dining options appeal to consumers for more than just reasons of convenience. The growing interest in artisanal foods is a major driver behind the popularity of the food truck. Many time-pressed workers like to eat quickly without compromising on the quality of their food. On top of this, when food trucks congregate in one location regularly, the diner has an assortment of choices in one spot. Restaurant industry trends suggest food carts, trucks, kiosks and micro restaurants will gain an increasing share of diners over the next decade.