Austin Food Trucks Hit Road Bumps in COVID-19 Pandemic

AUSTIN, Texas – The food industry is fragile and the decline in sales due to COVID-19 has resulted in layoffs and possible restaurant closings.

  • Some food trucks are moving into residential areas
  • Businesses must first check with HOA

But what about smaller businesses like food trucks?

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“I am the owner, I am the cook, I am the only employee. I do everything. “

Malavita Barese runs Mama Mal’s, a food truck that is permanently parked at one of Austin’s most popular music venues – the Saxon Pub. But with live music silenced due to the coronavirus, their business collapsed.

“My food truck sales have dropped dramatically by 75 percent, which is very difficult for me right now,” she sighed.

Even with adjustments to keep costs down, from cutting her hours down to offering takeout orders, she’s still hectic.

Photo of a food truck in a parking lot in Austin (Victoria Maranan / Spectrum News)

“I try a little bit of everything to survive,” said Barese.

“If these people don’t make an income, we won’t be the food truck capital that everyone thinks we are,” said David Poku of the ATX Food Truck Fest. “After that there will be no more food trucks.”

Poku manages several food trucks and at the moment said things are looking grim.

“I cannot be naive and assume that this will be over in two or three months,” he said.

“It’s funny, everyone is referring to their HOAs and saying, ‘Can people bring food trucks to us? ‘and it’s pretty smart! “Exclaimed Poku.

Poku helped several food trucks coordinate with the properties when and where to open a store. The out-of-the-box idea could be key to the survival of these companies.

“We all have to make progress so they can somehow generate an income,” said Poku.

Unprecedented times require unprecedented action, also at a cost.

“I’ve worked really hard on it and I have to make a decision whether to close this in the next 60 days,” said Barese.

She applied for small business loans to keep her truck open, but because she had no employees, she was unable to qualify.

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