What you will be Eating on the road
Diet on the road for truck drivers is challenging. In the old days, while far fewer truck stops were available to select from – those that did exist generally operated full service restaurants. There were obviously diners at both ends of the spectrum – really good food and really good service, to the bottom of neither good food or good service. During your trucking career, you will be eating on the road a lot.
The growth of fast food in the America economy has crawled it’s way into trucking and traveling industries. As a result, not only do fast food purveyors dot many freeway intersections, they are not the primary food source food in many truck stops, they are the only source of nutrition.
While there is growing pressure for fast food outlets to provide more healthy servings, there is still going to be a gap between having eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast or two bacon & egg biscuits. A sit down and order from a menu restaurant will always have more options then an order by the number menu on the wall. The larger your selection to option from, the better you can pick food that will satisfy you and provide you with the energy and refreshment to keep you healthy and capable of doing your job. Clearly, the less selection, the more you are settling for something to eat.
The cost of Eating on the road.
Eating in restaurants are seldom cheap, however, when the restaurant has a captive audience then it often becomes even less value in your food purchase. This can be a factor of the cost of doing business in the the location or it could be a simple factor of the restaurant owner realizing you have limited options. In the case of the cost of doing business, rent is often a large operating factor. (Think about airports or large shopping malls where there is high demand for space.) The demand for space at or convenient to major freeway intersections, greatly drives of the cost of buying and developing the land. This means that the businesses located at this locations must either move customers or charge the customers more for services – or both. The result is that while easy to get to while traveling, you are more likely to see more crowds and slower service or higher prices.
Unfortunately many truck stops now view the restaurant as more then just a source of income, they view it as a guaranteed revenue. They achieve that by leasing out the space as opposed to operating them. Operating a truck stop, means the manager must be aware of competition from new or existing businesses, be concerned with maintaining inventory to sell yet not stocking stuff that won’t sell and thus losing money on it. Hiring, training and maintaining a staff is always a major issue. When a truck stop operator opts to off-load some portions of these responsibilities, the restaurant is generally one of the easiest to do. And by owning or contracting with a franchised fast food, they gain the national advertising and the simplification of management.
A lot of truck drivers are now discovering the value and convenience of pulling into a large grocery stores (or sometimes even small groceries) and visiting their service deli’s. While not all offer made to order sandwiches, many do have premade salads, sandwiches or other selections that can be eaten cold or (if the truck has a microwave) warmed up. In order to get more value for their dollars, many drivers, since so many newer trucks have mini-refrigerators, are buying a selection of lunch meats, bread and other condiments as well as ‘TV dinners’ and preparing meals in the truck. This is not only economical it can be very much more nutritional as you are selecting the food you like and prefer. Many drivers still enjoy at least one meal a day in some form of diner/coffee shop/restaurant venue simply because of the personal interrelations, as truck driving can be a lonely at times lifestyle.
Regardless of your personal options for obtaining food and refreshments while on the road, it is important to consider the cost value you are receiving and also the nutritional value. Proper nutrition is important to maintaining your health and well being and a sick truck driver is not an effect truck driver.
Sometimes it will be truck stop dinners, other times full service and family diners near by, and then of course fast food of many flavors. You will also likely visit a grocery store and buy simple fixings. Regardless of the source – learn to enjoy your meals while eating on the road.