Neal Smoak, Director of USC's McCutchen House says food trucks are way for entrepreneurs to test the market for a possible restaurant. He also says it is a way for restaurants and caterers to expand their customer base.

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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Food trucks are growing in popularity, and gaining more respect.

A new reality show now features Midlands food truck 2 Fat to 2 Fly, and for the first time a truck has been listed by Bon Appetit as a top ten new restaurant in the country.

Dupre Percival has spent more than 37 years his life in the food industry. He owns a catering company, restaurant and a food truck, No Frills Grill, an on-the-go business that he says gives him the ability to meet customers where they are.

"The truck is romantic, having a restaurant on wheels is a lot more fun than one that doesn't have wheels," he said.

Food trucks set up shops on street corners, parking lots and can come together for festivals or other events. Percival and his restaurant are affiliated with a group called the Palmetto Puddin Train Food Truck Association.

"I've expanded that by identifying ourselves with other trucks owners like Chef on Wheels, Queenie's, or Shorty'," he said.

Neal Smoak, Director of USC's McCutchen House says food trucks are way for entrepreneurs to test the market for a possible restaurant. He also says it is a way for restaurants and caterers to expand their customer base.

"Bring the food truck to them, and if they like the food, then they may end up in the restaurant. Then of course the millennials of this age, the social media, the mobile device in their pocket, restaurants are tapped in to that," said Smoak.

For Percival, it is a way to reach customers at every level.

"To have the extension of services through mobility makes it all worthwhile," he said.

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