Food trucks businesses booming during COVID-19

Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 5:00 PM EDT
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As restaurants adapt to carryout only, food truck owners, who specialize in "to-go," are reporting business is thriving despite COVID-19.

The Zapata family owns Taco Gringo, a rolling restaurant that typically serves the late night crowd in downtown Toledo. But with bars closed, the owners are changing the business model.

Instead, they are setting up shop every night in South Toledo, offering dinner to-go. The plan is working. In fact, the family is investing in another food truck that should hit the streets in the coming months.

For others, like Chef Rob Campbell, rolling out a food truck is a way to make ends meet. Campbell is a well-known chef who worked the Toledo restaurant scene for years. Recently, he's been working for a catering company in Monroe, but right now, he is laid off.

He decided to get creative and with the help of his boss, dust off a food truck and fire it up for business. He just opened and is tossing pizza in a stone oven across from Franklin Park Mall.

"It's been great. It's just me and the kids. We aren't trying to set a record or anything, just supplement the income a little bit when we are down," said Campbell.

For others who own both brick and mortar shops and food trucks, the mobile spaces are proving to be lucrative. Holy Toledough Handcrafted Donuts owner Chris Ritter is doubling down on his food truck. Due to COVID-19, he said it's the best way to do business right now, especially with so many unknowns.

"For right now, this is perfect. You don't have to go inside of a restaurant, sit too close next to someone. You can get outside and come get food to go," said Ritter.

The immediate future of street fairs and festivals are unknown, and if they're canceled, that could hurt food truck businesses this summer. For now, as people seek out local businesses to spent cash, food truck owners are riding the wave and cashing in.