business news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times has a story about how food trucks adapted to and were in some ways buoyed by the pandemic.

"Food trucks — kitchens on wheels, essentially — are flexible by design and quickly became a substitute during the pandemic for customers who couldn’t dine indoors and coveted something different than their mainstream carryout options," the Times writes.  "That, in turn, has delivered a new client base to add on to an existing cadre of loyal followers. In a very real sense, food trucks are vehicles for equality in the post-pandemic world."

The story makes a point that we've come back to several times over the past year on MNB - that food trucks in a variety of markets were able to adapt when their owners/operators realized that they couldn't do business in traditional ways.  They moved to the suburbs when urban markets dried up.  They used social media to publicize their routes and popularity.  They accepted credit cards instead of just cash.  They did deliveries - going to the customer instead of waiting for the customer to find them - and even allowed people to schedule food pickups.

At the same time, many food trucks doubled down on the core value proposition that made them popular to begin with - developing menus that were inventive and quality-focused, primarily using food as a defining differential advantage.

KC's View:

One of my favorite comments in the story was from Luke Cypher, 34, who expanded the offerings beyond "the already eclectic selections at his Blue Sparrow food trucks in Pittsburgh."

Cypher tells the Times that he "opted not to use delivery apps like Uber Eats or Grub Hub.  'I don’t want to hand my food off to somebody else,' he said. 'If we weren’t going to have the one-on-one conversations with our customers, we were at least going to give it to them directly'."


Lots to be learned here, methinks.