When it's not creating e-bikes and scooters, Peugeot Design Lab can sometimes be found putting its talents toward evolving the world of food trucks. Two years ago it revealed the innovative Le Bistrot du Lion. That food-dishing, music-spinning rolling cafe made such an impression on Gillardeau, the oyster specialist commissioned its very own food truck, a four-wheeled oyster bar that can track down crowds and serve up delectable shucked treats from the sea.
"The design of the Peugeot Bistrot du Lion food truck, which I found out about soon after it was presented in April 2015, really impressed me," explains Véronique Gillardeau, co-director of the well-known French oyster company. "I wanted to be able to offer tasting sessions at markets with a 'traveling shop' that was stylish, modern and practical."
Gillardeau really wanted to be able to connect with food truck patrons on a more personal level than the average food truck would allow. So instead of requiring the shucker to serve down to customers from the high window typical of other food trucks, Peugeot's design puts that shucker on the ground, behind a slide-out oyster bar that stores neatly inside the Expert van.
Peugeot's solution brings the food preparation experience outdoors, like many a good raw bar, provides an actual bar on which patrons can enjoy the oysters, and puts the shucker on the same level as guests, who can watch the oyster preparation. A built-in disposal hatch eats up discarded shells to keep everything neat and clean. The design definitely looks to successfully create a more personal, engaging experience than that of simply receiving food from a truck window.
The oyster bar hardware isn't nearly as large or complex as the Bistrot du Lion's set-up, comprising the bar top, worktop and surrounding structure, a refrigerator, sink, hot water heater and storage. According to Peugeot, a single person can set up the sliding, folding bar equipment in mere minutes. When all packed up, the van maintains its 16.3-ft (5-m) length and 6.2-ft (1.9-m) height, ensuring that it can easily travel and park anywhere other vans can, including underground parking garages.
The converted van has been named "La Marcelle," in honor of Marcelle Gillardeau, the daughter of the company founder who worked for the family business in the early 20th century. It has been on display in Bourcefranc-le-Chapus, France since International Women's Day on March 8 and Peugeot says there will be more such food trucks in the future.
As much as we enjoy looking at innovative vehicles on display, this is one we'd really prefer to experience ... by enjoying an overflowing plate of luscious oysters.