Food trucks prevail over pandemic challenges
Restaurants have felt the heavy impact of the pandemic, but food trucks have actually seen an uptick in customers since it all began.
In the parking lot of North Shore Church in Hastings, two trucks selling snow cones and BBQ can commonly be found there. Both of them have had to make some changes due to COVID and for the most part they have been seeing good business.
By design, food trucks are only slightly affected by directed health measures. The carry out option helps some customers feel safer than sitting down in a restaurant which many brick and mortar restaurants have had to turn to.
“It’s easy to social distance, you're not in contact with a lot of people. We have a lot of parents coming and picking up six meals for their kids because they've been cooking three meals a day for two months and our clientele has definitely changed,” Mean Bone Owner Jeremy Howard said.
Howard started Mean Bone BBQ and Burgers about a year ago. It was a major risk for them to start up and they were worried COVID would be detrimental for them. They never really had to slow down, just adapt. They began delivering food when people didn't want to leave their homes and they would travel to other towns. Even with events being canceled, they still saw an uptick in customers.
“We had about a week or two with what seemed like depressing phone calls. But after that the factories started calling and they needed somebody to feed their essential employees or hospitals started calling and they needed somebody to park out so their staff could eat quicker,” Howard said.
A few feet away in the parking lot, Tropical Sno has been running for many years. They were able to open at their usual time in late May with some barriers and no contact paying methods. The owner said people are still showing up for their favorite summer treats.
“We also do a lot of events over the weekend and a lot of our big events have canceled [like the] Adams County Fair, tractor pull, all things like tha,” Tropical Sno Owner Daniel Sheehy said. “We've had to adjust a little bit but I think the community was excited to see us open and try to get back to some normalcy.”
Both businesses said it has been a change and are glad to have customers still come to them for a bite to eat. Tropical Sno has adjusted their hours to be 1-9 now and Mean Bone's schedule is based on their food preparation times. Both said they look forward to when they can return to selling their foods at events again.