'We were curbside before curbside was cool': Waterloo food truck owners hungry for business
WATERLOO -- Food truck owners around Waterloo Region are doing their best to cook up some business.
With large gatherings cancelled, their biggest sources of income no longer exist.
“What we did lose was our bigger gigs, all our festivals,” Fo’ Cheezy Food Truck owner Sandor Dosman said.
Trucks typically bring in their biggest bucks during days-long activates such as music festivals, which they often travel across the province to attend.
Breakfast Blues & BBQs Food Truck co-owner Dulce Baptista remembers weekends always been filled with work.
“No food truck ever had weekends off, and now I haven't worked a weekend in two years," Baptista said.
Baptista says Breakfast Blues & BBQs' brick and mortar restaurant on Victoria Street South in Kitchener will not be open at all this summer. The main reason being they don't have a patio space to open even if they wanted to.
According to Baptista, business is down to only 25 per cent of what it was pre-pandemic. Rather than offering take-out from downtown Kitchener, they decided to put all their eggs in one basket and only run the food truck.
“It makes more sense for us to go outdoors where the people are. We can find more people this way.”
Dosman says public health rules say patrons cannot loiter to eat their meals. Food trucks should be considered a take-away meal just as restaurants have been during the lockdowns.
“It was kind of a natural fit. We were curbside before curbside was cool,” Dosman said. “We don't encourage people to hang out and sit on the grass area here, we want them to take the food away as requested by public health.”
There are just over 25 food trucks around Waterloo Region, all sharing the spaces that have been offered to them.
Some local churches that are closed to patrons have opened their parking lots to the portable businesses.
“We donate 10 per cent to the churches. It basically keeps us employed and keeps the churches making some money because they cannot rent their spaces anymore,” Baptista said.
Truck owners are expecting some City of Kitchener municipal lots to be made available in June as well.
Public health rules regulate only one food truck can run in a parking lot at a time to allow physical distancing.
“We don’t get to work a lot. We’re doing maybe two to three shifts a week,” Baptista explained. “We try to coordinate so that everybody gets the same equal amount of shifts.”
Dosman says he’s thankful to have a great group of truck owners to work with.
“We have a pretty good, tight food truck group in the city here, we all work together," Dosman said.
Hungry? Here's where to find food trucks in KW this long weekend:
Food trucks in Kitchener-Waterloo have started a Facebook page, KW Food Trucks, to help share where trucks will be parked and when they will be open.
Below is a list of the food truck vendors who are participating in the Facebook page. Every morning around 8 a.m., a list of locations for open food trucks is posted to the group.
- BeaverTails Mobile KW - Huron Region
- Berlin 95 Diner (offers gluten friendly options)
- Big Jerk Menu
- Breakfast Blues & BBQs
- Café du Monde Crêperie (offers gluten and vegan friendly options)
- Eating Clouds
- El Milagro Food Truck
- Frying Dutchman
- Fo' Cheezy Food Truck (offers gluten and vegan friendly options)
- The Grill on the Go
- Hangry Harry's Food Truck
- Hitched Coffee
- Hottie Cakes Co.
- ish & chips
- Pablas Street Food Of India
- Little Tree Wandering Cafe
- Los Rolling Tacos
- Passado Brasil Food Truck
- Pierogi Pigs
- Schmuck Truck
- SWAT foodtruck
- Sweet Temptations Co.
- The Lab Street Eats
- The serial griller
- Tricity Kono Pizza