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Food Trucks Slammed By Pandemic Downturn

Food Trucks Slammed By Pandemic Downturn

While social distancing measures appear to effectively flatten the curve, the economic impact on most businesses continues to sting. Restaurants operate exclusively with take out and delivery orders. However, food trucks don’t ordinarily offer those options. Without bustling business districts and campuses, many close down for the outbreak’s duration.

Since they provide food, the Massachusetts executive order considers them essential businesses. However, vital hubs for food trucks such as Harvard Science Center Plaza and the Financial District emptied out. In the absence of important hot spots, food trucks struggle to identify viable areas.

Some also run catering orders, a valuable additional source of revenue. Though, with Governor Charlie Baker’s prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more in one place, little demand exists for catering. Meetings, lunches, and events remain on pause until further notice.

Food Trucks Cut Staff, Adapt

As business dries up for food trucks, many are forced to cut staff. One popular chain, Chicken and Rice Guys, which offers halal food, closed all of its trucks. “We tried operating them but literally had four orders in three hours,” CEO Ian So told Eater Boston. He also said they discussed potentially transitioning to suburban business, but opted against it.

Their usual posts at Harvard University, Boston Public Library, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston no longer offer lines of hungry customers. As a result, they furloughed the entirety of their truck staff.

Some attempt to operate through the economic downturn. Daddy’s Bonetown Burgers continues to sell orders to some regulars and occasional walk-ups. They also utilize an online transaction system that eliminates the need for cash, a helpful safety measure during the health crisis.

Furthermore, transitioning to deliveries provides additional business. Food truck businesses adapt to compete in an unfamiliar market, using Google forms and social media ads. It allows several to retain their staff in hopes of weathering the coronavirus storm.

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