Washington food trucks head to the suburbs to find customers
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by Cyril Julie
The coronavirus epidemic has emptied downtown Washington of its popular food trucks ever since their main customers — lunchtime office workers — fled in March the safety of their homes.
To survive, the truck operators followed them into the suburbs, taking orders online and advertising through social media.
With drastic staff cuts and major belt tightening, the toughest operators have managed to survive — up to now.
One of these operators is Jason Tipton, co-owner of the “Dirty South Deli.”
Tipton recently parked his blue food truck in a residential neighborhood in north eastern Washington and handed out pre-ordered sandwiches wearing a face mask. He also catered to some new customers.
“It’s a good surprise, it’s nice,” Tipton, 42, told AFP. “Today was very busy,” he smiled.
For this micro-enterprise with four employees — two of whom are in lockdown — adapting to the new circumstances is key to survival.
“We have an online tool now to take orders, we advertise our tours on Twitter and in the Facebook neighborhood groups, and we use word to mouth,” Tipton said.
Tipton has also found customers in places on the outskirts of Washington near the University of Maryland, where teachers and students live. (AFP)