New England food trucks face higher business costs on the road

0

Justin Amevor had wanted to start a food business for years and had his chance during the pandemic. He started DoughBoyz in Worcester, MA with plans to start in the restaurant business and eventually have a food truck called DoughCart. His dream of founding a food company focused on fighting and solving food insecurity became a reality in 2021. But now inflation is making things difficult for Amevor and its customers.

“Everyone is hurting, you know,” he said. “Costs are rising and wages don’t match, so it’s just a challenge for our customers, and we’re doing our best to try to keep our prices low and give them the best food they need.”

Amevor has had to cut back on some of its dishes due to rising food prices, such as its Japanese soufflé-inspired DoughCakes, but it says it allows it to keep other popular options low.

Food truck owners in New England and across the country face multiple challenges this summer, including changes in food prices and product availability, as well as the high price of gasoline, which many food trucks use for travel and, in some cases, refrigeration and food preparation.

Corrie Goldthwaite is the district manager of The Smoothie Bus, based in New Hampshire. The company has three stores and two buses that travel throughout the state and Massachusetts, selling drinks like their Tropical Twist and Peanut Butter Power smoothies. Goldthwaite says total food costs for the company have increased by 18-20% and some important ingredients, like yogurt, have been hard to find.

“Currently, Yoplait vanilla yogurt, you can’t find it anywhere, like it doesn’t exist in our community,” she said.

Cori Princell

/

New England News Collaboration

The Smoothie Bus currently has two buses in operation in New Hampshire. The third will not be operational until gasoline prices drop. Here the truck is at Market Days in Concord, NH on June 24, 2022.

The Smoothie Bus has a third bus which it is currently keeping out of service until gas prices drop. Goldthwaite said the cost of filling the trucks’ generators is almost three times what it was before, and that doesn’t include the cost of gas to drive the truck from place to place.

Seaside Creamery, a Connecticut-based ice cream truck, is used to hitting festivals and different beaches all summer long.

Brandon Folignio, an employee of the family business, said they had to raise prices by 50 cents this year.

“Mostly because of gas prices, we just had to make sure we had a little spread for gas, you know?” he said. “Just in case we have a slow day, we can get gas without dipping into our savings.”

As she prepares for this summer’s Great New England BBQ & Food Truck Festival in Milford, New Hampshire in August, host Jody Donohue says she hears a lot about the cost of gas.

She says some vendors travel long distances to get to the festival, from Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and says many have asked if they could arrive just before the event starts to minimize time. they needed to run their generators. Donohue also said there had been a lot of demand for limited electricity at his site.

“I’ll tell you, many trucks would rather be hooked up to electricity than running their propane or generators, and I get it, it’s expensive and there were several trucks that didn’t participate because I couldn’t promise them those hookups,” she said.

Food Truck DoughBoyz Justin Amevor

Justin Amevor in front of his DoughCart, based in Worcester, Mass. The electric food truck was originally slated to launch in the spring, but needs some final tweaks before it’s ready.

Amevor from DoughBoyz says his food truck is nearly complete and will be ready to go later this year. His DoughCart won’t run on gas; it will be electrically powered. Amevor says the reasoning goes beyond high gas prices.

“We’re trying to reduce all kinds of fossil fuel emissions because we’re trying to be a very sustainable company,” Amevor said.

Share.

Comments are closed.