Independent food trucks may be on the verge of getting boxed out.

A new wave of competition is fast approaching as large corporate chains have recently launched their own mobile eateries. At the same time, cities across the country have started cracking down on food truck vendors with stricter regulations.

Upstarts created the food-truck frenzy. For years, the mobile kitchens have roamed hip neighborhoods hawking innovative dishes. They've tapped into the consumer craze for all things local, artisanal and authentic. But now big restaurants are getting into the game, according to a recent report by AdWeek.

Chains like Taco Bell, Applebee's and Sizzler have each rolled out their own food trucks, the report says. Some of them hand out small samples for free, others sell their fare. Like their independent predecessors, many of the corporate food trucks tap Twitter and Facebook to generate buzz for the vehicles and decide where and when to hit the road.

Corporate food trucks are still rare. Only 6 percent of quick-service restaurants and 4 percent of fast-casual restaurants operate food trucks, according to a recent National Restaurant Association survey.

But big brands are increasingly finding food trucks to be effective marketing tools and "rolling test kitchens” for experimentation with new items, one Sizzler business development manager told AdWeek.

If fending off competition from corporate giants isn’t enough to worry about, mobile entrepreneurs are also battling brick-and-mortar restaurants. Cities around the U.S. are enacting new rules that seek to prevent food trucks from parking too close to local eateries, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Other proposed ordinances aim to restrict the amount of time a truck can sit in one space.

The regulatory headaches threaten to stifle a fast-growing industry. In St. Louis, for example, there are now 29 food trucks in operation, up from 14 last year and zero in 2010, the Journal noted. And according to a 2011 survey, 91 percent of consumers who are familiar with food trucks viewed the trend as having "staying power," while only 7 percent expected their frequency of food truck visits to decrease.

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  • Roving Mammoth – Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

    The Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. offers a variety of dining options for visitors, including a café at the peak of the mountain and barbecue shack. But perhaps the most intriguing dining option available at the resort is the Roving Mammoth, a food truck crafted atop a snowcat that can tackle the icy terrain of the mountain. The truck/machine offers breakfast and lunch burritos. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see America's Best Donuts</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>Facebook/Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort</strong>

  • Del Popolo – San Francisco

    Apart from being visually stunning, this food truck from the former pizzaiolo of the acclaimed Flour + Water in San Francisco is one of the first to offer a wood-burning mobile pizza oven. The truck is crafted out of a twenty-food transatlantic shipping container that’s been fitted with glass windows and doors on one side so that diners can watch their pizza being made.  <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see 8 Ice Pop Flavors You Didn't Know Existed</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>Facebook/Del Popolo</strong>

  • Le Truc – San Francisco

    Located in a renovated school bus, Le Truc offers locally sourced high-end gastro pub fare to hungry San Franciscans. However, for the few with reservations, the bus has room to accommodate 12 diners at a time. Imagine a mobile sit-down dining experience.  <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see What the 1 Percent Eats at the Ballpark</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Flickr/Gary Soup</strong></a>

  • Guactruck, Manila, Philippines

    The sleek exterior of the truck, complete with “wooden” panels, to the floor-to-ceiling window that allows customers to choose the ingredients of their meal and watch it being prepared, Guactruck is at the forefront of food truck innovation. The beautifully decorated interior is lit with energy-saving lights and the food is served in sustainably crafted packaging that customers can return in exchange for a free meal.  <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>This Chef Allegedly Spiked Chocolate with Ecstasy</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>Facebook/Guactruck</strong>

  • ZZ Truck Powered by Sizzler – Culver City, Calif.

    This food truck, backed by the southern California restaurant chain, Sizzler, offers a menu that’s only available on the truck and strives to offer a more high-end dining experience. Guests can order items like tri-tip or pulled pork sliders or umami fries using their high-tech iPad ordering system.  <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see America's Best Family-Friendly Restaurants</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>Facebook/ZZ Truck</strong>

  • Recess – San Diego, Calif.

    Who says adults don’t deserve a mid-day recess? This San Diego food truck is dedicated to offering customers a bit of whimsical fun with their lunch – in the form of rocking tunes and a Kinect built into the truck for diners to play with. The food is prepared using all-natural, humanely-raised meat and locally sourced produce.  <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see Which Processed Foods Are Ruining Our Health</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>Facebook/Recess</strong>

  • Lulu’s Local Eatery – St. Louis, Mo.

    This innovative food truck takes the concept of sourcing ingredients locally to new heights – all of the herbs and some fruits used in their dishes come from their truck-top garden. More specifically, Lauren Loomis and Robbie Tucker, the owners of Lulu’s, grow oregano, parsley, mint, strawberries, and other crops right on top of their food truck.  <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to Explore the Science Behind Flavor Pairings</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Flickr/TFDuesing</strong></a>

  • Bridgeport Pastry - Chicago

    This fully electric “GEM Car” food truck is made by Chrysler and can run for about 30 miles on a full charge. The green food truck offers pasties, which are British savory pies, available in half a dozen flavors ranging from chicken potpie to veggie. <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Click here to see Outrageous Restaurant Marketing Stunts Through History</strong></a> <em>Photo Credit:</em> © <strong>Facebook/Bridgeport Pasty</strong>