Business model

Food trucks change business model during pandemic

As businesses struggle throughout the pandemic, some food truck owners have adjusted their business plans to do more business for themselves.

AUSTIN, Texas – Throughout the pandemic, small businesses have borne the brunt of lost customers. As a silver lining over the past 20 months, food trucks have found a way to stay afloat – and even grow.

“I worked from Leander to San Marcos,” said Orlandus Stafford, co-owner of O’s Chop House and Jerk Daddy’s. “I also did catering. I had two weddings, one in 300 … We had birthdays. We did quinceaneras, we did a lot of things outside of our pop-up environment. But other than that, the HOAs and the apartments have been very, very good for us. “

Stafford opened his first catering business, O’s Chop House, in August 2020. He’s made it a family affair: partnering with his brother for the business, welcoming his children inside the trailer and his wife. retire early from his previous job to join him. .

When O’s Chop House first opened, it was just a tent with two plastic tables. Stafford has extended it to his own food trailer, opened Jerk Daddy’s as a second food trailer, and has a third trailer in the works.

“I walked in and talked to my brother, Dream, about my career and where I was headed [after being furloughed]”Stafford said.” We had a discussion like, ‘What do I like to do and what’s my’ super power? ‘So that was cooking, and I love to cook. my whole life of family history, cooking and things of that nature. “

Stafford trailers roam the Austin area, touring neighborhoods, apartment complexes and setting up where people can find them rather than settling in a food truck.

David Poku organizes neighborhood rotations for O’s Chop House, Jerk Daddy’s and 30 other food trucks. He rotates the trucks seven days a week.

“What everyone traditionally knew, like the ice cream man as he walked through neighborhoods, would kind of be a game-changer and create a shift in the food truck community in Austin to where it was going to be. new standard, ”Poku said.

Poku started the ATX Food Truck Festival years ago by developing relationships with food truck owners and other developments to help food trucks find space. When the pandemic started, he made the contacts he knew and found a way to give small business owners the business to survive in 2020.

“The conception of the idea was based on helping food trucks that were in permanent locations,” Poku said. “The traffic is dead, so I developed the connection and the resources with the property managers, the apartments, [Home Owners Associations], and connected the food trucks to go directly, to go directly to these neighborhoods and to serve these communities and residents. It was a way for the trucks to be mobile and to make money without being too affected by the traffic that would die in their usual permanent location. “

The rotations have helped small business owners like Stafford and his family spread their name and food to people across the Austin area, encouraging them to support the locals.

“I am in the process of developing my life as an entrepreneur, moving from the business environment to the life of an entrepreneur, which has been a shock for me. A real shock, but it was a big shock. And the next thing you know, you’ll probably see me in those magazines! “Said Stafford.

Poku hopes to continue to connect property managers with new food trucks in an effort to share the richness and diversity of food that exists in Austin.

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