Food trucks find good parking spaces in the suburbs
Food trucks, the darlings of urban-dwelling foodies and office workers looking for quick lunch options, have hit the road in search of customers, and some are finding them in nearby suburbs surrounding cities such as Austin, TX, Nashville and Seattle, The Associated Press reports.
The move by office workers and others out of cities has negatively affected a business that looked unstoppable prior to the pandemic. The food truck industry expanded at a nearly seven percent compounded annual rate between 2014 and 2019, according to IBIS World. A study published in March by Reportlinker.com forecast annual compounded growth of six percent through 2025. Of course, all of these sales numbers and projections were made pre-pandemic.
As a result of COVID-19’s spread, large numbers of workers, not furloughed or laid off as a result of the virus, moved their workplaces from urban offices to their own homes.
In July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26 percent of Americans were engaged in telework, down from 31 percent in June. Those most likely to be working from home are those in management, financial and business operations (46 percent), followed by those in professional and related occupations (44 percent). Only five percent of people in service occupations are working from home, according to the government’s numbers.
B.J. Lofback, who operated a truck serving Korean food in Nashville prior to the pandemic, shifted to just making lobster rolls once the full effects of the pandemic on his business became clear. He took his truck to nearby suburbs where he found plenty of customers.
“The economics just worked,” Mr. Lofback told the AP. “Me personally, I’m hoping that even if a vaccine dropped tomorrow and herd immunity was accomplished tomorrow, I hope neighborhoods still have us out.”
- The suburbs to the rescue! Food trucks hit by virus find new foodies. – The Associated Press/USA Today
- Food Trucks Industry in the US – Market Research Report – IBIS World
- Global food truck market is expected to grow with a CAGR of 6% over the forecast period from 2019-2025 – ReportLinker/Globe Newswire
- Supplemental data measuring the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the labor market – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect food trucks to continue to expand their routes into suburban areas after the pandemic has passed? Is now a good opportunity for restaurant operators and food retailers to be pursuing food truck opportunities?