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Vancouver food truck future uncertain as sales plummet during pandemic


Vancouver's food trucks are seeing a drop in sales during the pandemic

Some food truck owners say they are just trying to survive the public health crisis

Cancelled events, festivals mean more loses for the industry

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s a pretty common sight in Vancouver — food trucks parked around the downtown core and other areas with lineups year-round. But lately, sales haven’t been so great.

Disco Cheetah Korean Grill Food Truck has been on the road for six years, and can usually be seen parked near the Vancouver Art Gallery.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was forced to close and only just reopened in June.

“With sales, it’s dropped about 80 percent. So it’s really hard for us to keep the food truck going,” says Kevin Lee.

“Mostly offices downtown are closed and there’s less employees. We have zero sales from tourists. I think that’s huge. The only reason I keep my truck open is to keep my employees.”

Tourists and warmer weather usually send business skyrocketing in the summer. With borders closed to non-essential travel, there are fewer people lining up than ever before.

That’s where Chickpea Food Truck is finding itself now.

“There is something about food trucks and the sun. When the sun shines, this is when we make the money. When it rains, it’s all gone. You have five months to survive the winter,” says Itamar Shani.

Coronavirus-related cancellations are yet another hurdle slowing business down for food trucks. Several events and festivals have been called off this year contributing further to a lack of sales.

“Every event in the city is cancelled. The farmers’ markets are not the same, the majority of sales are in the summer for those. And my food truck owner friends – the event part is the biggest hit from COVID19 situation,” Shani says.

At the end of the day, both food trucks say they’re just trying to make it through the pandemic.

“This year – we’re just in survival mode,” says Lee.

“We’re just surviving. Business isn’t like before, but our community is helping us spread the chickpeas,” Shani says.