The Growth of Food Trucks During COVID-19

2020 has been a crazy year, but especially for small food businesses. When businesses were ordered closed and social distancing requirements went into effect amid the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants were among the hardest hit. But not all food service businesses were affected equally: “Food trucks” or Mobile Food Services by their very nature have more flexibility to continue to operate. This in turn has some successful food truck companies expanding and new ones rising, bringing in those same customers from the restaurants.

Statistics from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns (CBP) program even show an increase in employee pay. Employees of food trucks in Virginia, for example, saw one of the biggest increases in their average annual payroll: up $9,282 from $14,529 in 2013 to $23,811 in 2018 and continuing to rise in 2019. Some people may think that food trucks are found mostly in warmer climates but that’s not quite true. Only five of the top 10 states with food trucks are in the South or Southwest. The rest are in the Northeast, Midwest and Northwest.

This industry has gained a foothold in counties that never had food trucks before.

How are these food truck companies being so successful?

Food trucks are all about speed and convenience, which makes them perfect for diners who expect to get delicious food without a long wait. Many traditional restaurants have implemented makeshift drive-thru options to maintain sales during this time. Others are relying on their takeout and delivery options, but these still require customers to wait for the foods to be prepared and delivered. These efforts help to keep restaurants in business, but they are not a sustainable model without heavy reorganization. Food trucks, on the other hand, were built for moments like this.

Having a following certainly helps bring in more customers, but businesses of any size can build up their brand and generate local hype. A local food truck can build this type of brand recognition by putting quality before everything else. As each new visitor tries your food, they will notice the quality and become your biggest marketing tool. Soon, the whole town will have heard about this food truck that they just have to try.

By tweaking the business dynamics, many food truck owners are finding innovative ways to reach out and help their local community. Food trucks are gaining momentum by creating a presence in the neighborhood and building goodwill with their customers. They are finding ways to be resourceful and valuable to their customers by partnering with food delivery services and other food truck owners. By assessing their consumer’s needs, they are shifting the focus to customer relations and promoting positivity with good food.

Interested in starting a food truck business? Now is the time to try!

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