MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — Food trucks are finding ways to adapt to the pandemic and make it during difficult times, flipping their business model in a way that could be an example for other restaurants to survive.
Instead of waiting for people to come to the food trucks, the food
trucks are coming to the people.
“Yeah, we’re definitely rebounding,” said Chris Zabala, who operates a truck called Fresh Catch Poke.
Zabala says the existing food truck business model blew up when
the pandemic hit. Corporations closed and big gatherings were cancelled.
“Our business was primarily a corporate business and we would go to the tech companies around the Bay Area. But now, we had to pivot. We go to apartment complexes and food pick ups,” Zabala said.
On Friday, Zabala and his business partner Michelle Nguyen rolled their truck into The Americana in Mountain View, a large apartment complex off the El Camino.
A hungry crowd lined up minutes later.
“It’s an unusual location, but I live like a one minute walk from here, so it’s very convenient,” said complex resident Simon Ly.
Besides apartments, groups of food trucks are setting up in neighborhood shopping center parking lots.
One meet-up organized by Tasty Mob sets up every Thursday and Saturday at the Cambrian Park Plaza in San Jose.
“There’s some people who dine here, they drive up, some eat in their cars. The captive audience is no longer able to get out to the retail brick and mortar restaurants,” said RJ Castro, who organizes Tasty Mob.
Castro said the food truck model might be something brick and mortars
can incorporate or switch to as a way to survive the pandemic.
“We’re mobile and we don’t have those restrictions that indoor dining has on them,” he said.
Castro said food trucks are surviving at a time when many other restaurants are closing. And to hear the customers tell it, they don’t have to compromise on flavor.
“This gives us a lot more variety. I get kind of tired just cooking at home all the time,” said Ly.