Food truck industry helps keep local economies on the move mid-pandemic


FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The food truck industry’s role was re-defined in 2020 when it became a key component in helping keep some local businesses afloat.

“Speaking probably for a lot of breweries and a lot of brewery friends that we have, food trucks are what kept them in survival,” said Michael Cruz, the President of Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. “A food truck was a great way to offer at least a more creative, curated way to serve food and still serve beer.”

There are more than 20 breweries in the Central Valley – many of which were not able to sell beer during the pandemic unless food was available.

Other businesses are also seeing the benefits include Simonian Farms – adding a food truck night for the first time in history amid the COVID-19 pandemic to help make ends meet.

“I think it’s been a great marriage between the food trucks and our business. We were considered essential and of course, everyone needs to eat, and the food trucks are like mobile restaurants,” said Bonnie Simonian, Co-Owner of Simonian Farms.

“They keep so many other farmers, you know, we’re constantly buying lemons for instance to make the lemonade and then as far as people just being able to get out in an outside environment where they can have some mental sanity, I guess,” said Tiffany Cooley, Partial Owner, Yoco Lemonade/Yosemite Concessions.

Some food trucks created during the pandemic – like Yoco Lemonade – opened along with two other new trucks under its parent company Yosemite Concessions. Many food truck owners say business is booming.

“Our business more than quadrupled from the first six months of the year to the last six months of the year. So, overall, we ended up having a better year than we’ve ever had, just this last year by probably about 45% over last year,”  said James Pierson, the Co-Owner of The Rolling Donut.

The mobile restaurants showing up at churches, malls, and even hospitals are feeding essential workers.

“The food trucks in the last year put in a lot of work to feed people and they definitely have been unsung in a lot of those ways,” said the President of Fresno Street Eats Mike Oz.

As the nation returns to some sense of normalcy,  the hope is the food truck business model remains solid.

“My hope would be that the community continues to support all the local food trucks and support local businesses in all shapes,” said Oz.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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