Food trucks adapt as pandemic cancels events, usual crowds

Posted at 12:59 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 13:59:03-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The coronavirus pandemic has affected the way many restaurants operate, but what about those restaurants that are on four wheels?

“Everyone has a different business model," said Kelly Keegan, owner of Chicago Dawg House and spokesperson for the Omaha Food Truck Association. "The Chicago Dawg House, we do a lot of school catering and large events; so we lost our schools, and we lost our large summer events, so it’s going to be a real challenging summer for us looking for events and when it will really be conducive for us to open up right now.”

Keegan said with many events being canceled, schools closing early and office buildings being empty, food truck owners are having to find new ways to sell their products.

One such owner is Scott Sheehan, owner of Anthony Piccolo’s Mobile Food Venue.

“It was pretty scary at first, but what we did was we worked out a deal with the Douglas County Health Department, where they allowed us to go into neighborhoods," Sheehan said.

He has been getting business through the help of homeowners associations who have invited him into their neighborhoods.

“There’s been an outcry of support for us," Sheehan said. "People have really tried to help us as far as food trucks, because people really, in the area have come to love food trucks. There’s a lot of really popular ones out there.”

Sheehan's also been able to put some of his meals into some local Hy-Vee stores.

While many festivals are still canceled, Keegan said he is hopeful that as more businesses reopen like bars and offices spaces, the more food trucks will be seen on the street again.

“The virus has really changed the dynamic of how our business operate, not just ours, regular restaurants doing take out instead of sit in," Keegan said. "The real entrepreneurs are going to find a way and find the angle. And that's the beauty of this country. If you want to succeed you can.”