The diamond-patterned or “quilted” stainless or chrome is very common in commercial kitchens and food prep areas, especially diners. It’s also making a fairly strong approach into upscale home kitchen remodels. As such, the stuff practically screams “FOOD!”
And yes, it sticks out quite well from all the other step-vans and similar sized trucks.
I would bank on the guess that it’s for thermal reasons. The reason being is that I’ve noticed most oil trucks are shiny although I’ve seen a few white ones. I curse them every time I see them on the highway on a sunny day. I always assumed they were shiny so as not to allow excessive heat build up in the tank.
Nope, nope, nope. Lunchwagons fall under board of health regs, and they have to be cleaned every day. Shiny stainless is easiest to clean (and it looks clean, which appeals to the customers.) The cross hatching keeps the metal from rumbling when it’s driving down the street. A slab-sided truck can be deafening on a rough street.
Just to provide a little knowledge, the material you’re referring to is known as “diamond plate,” at least as far as I know.
AskNott (I’m asking anyway) I’m curious about your claim that the diamond plate is quieter than other materials. For example, semi trailers are not made out of diamond plate, and they don’t seem particularly loud.
The diamond plate ought to be quieter for the reason that it’s more rigid. Lots of semi-trailers have non-flat sheet metal too, and lots of them don’t. But a trailer is connected via a 5th wheel so there’s a lot of isolation, and a roach coach is on the same frame that the truck cab is on, and much more efficiently conducts noise.
Try waving a piece of card stock back and forth and hearing the wobble-wobble sound. Do the same with a hunk of corrugated cardboard and you’ll see what stiffness does.
A trailer has a frame as well and that frame rides on a set of wheels that are in contact with the ground. Just because its connected via a 5th wheel doesn’t mean the trailer is floating in space isolated from the same potholes the tractor is going over. Also, consider any box van - Fed Ex, UPS, etc. No 5th wheel and no quilted material.
Personally, I think the reason trailers don’t use quilted stainless* is that the trailers are constructed with what are essentially studs to which the sheet metal is riveted. Use enough studs and rivets and you can get away with flimsy, not stiffened material. OR you can use a material that is stiffened in another way - vertical ridges for example. My point was that a roach coach could be constructed in the same manner if eliminating noise was the only concern. There is no reasons to chose quilted steel (which is probably more expensive than say, sheet steel with vertical stiffeners) over some other stiffening/noise abatement method. They use quilted though, and I think the reason is tradition and aesthetics. In other words, people associate the material with food.
*Mea culpa on the diamond plate. I realize now that the most common is indeed the quilted material, although I could swear I’ve seen some, perhaps homebuilt, lunch wagons around here that use diamond plate.
I hate to ask, but since several posters refer to these vehicles as “roach coaches,” does that imply that they are frequently infested with such vermin? If so, that’s the last time I deign to partake from one of those traveling lunch counters. Is this a commonly observed phenomenon, or more like an urban legend? xo, C.
It’s like “greasy spoon cafe.” It just gives you an idea of the class of operation. Most greasy spoons have working dishwashers – but you know the fare is more about pragmatism than a fine dining experience.
Anywhere that serves food, you run a risk of roaches. Mobile operations are inspected as frequently as white-linen establishments, and just as interested in staying in business. Don’t go without lunch 'cuz of the nickname.