STUDIO CITY, Calif. – For the past few weeks restaurants have been under major restrictions to only do delivery or take out service to protect Angelenos amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And then last week the L.A. City Council voted unanimously to crack down on food vendors and demand stricter regulations on both vending and health permits.
In the meantime, many of the nearly 50,000 county-wide food vendors have been struggling to do business when most of their potential customers aren’t leaving the house.
- Rideshare Driver Switches to Delivery Amid Pandemic
- Many of LA's Food Trucks Grind to Halt Amid Outbreak
- Pubs and Breweries Shift to Takeout Only Under Closure Mandates
But some food truck vendors are finding ways to adapt and keep on truckin’.
A grilled cheese sandwich definitely falls into the comfort food category. And for moms like Nicole Fefferman, finding things that bring a little comfort to her two sons during the safer at home period is important.
“I think that they understand the importance of why we're doing what we're doing. And they've been really good about kind of making things work," said Fefferman. "Yeah, there's been a few fights and a lots of tears. But overall, I think we're doing OK.”
Fefferman is an LAUSD teacher and her sons attend Colfax Elementary School. The whole family has been housebound for weeks.
But on this day, they all got a chance to leave the house for a few minutes and grab lunch at The Grilled Cheese Truck that was set up a few blocks from their Studio City home in front of the boys’ school. The truck normally sets up outside office buildings during lunchtime. But with most people working from home - or not working at all - the company had to pivot.
Manager Kevin Short said, “What we had was we had a sign-up sheet where people went online, and for every 10 minutes slot three people would sign up and come and order, they would order for their whole family and pick up and then leave and then the next one would come through to minimize crowding.”
Since food trucks don't allow sit down service or large staff and they're mobile, they're in a much better position to adapt to the current delivery or take out only restrictions than most restaurants. In fact, food trucks may become the modern day version of the neighborhood ice cream truck, just without the music.
“To stay in business we gotta do what we got to do. And if this is gonna be the new norm, you might definitely see us in your neighborhood soon," Short said.
With bags of grilled cheese sandwiches to go, lunch for the family is at least one thing Fefferman doesn't have to worry about today.
“I'm going to go home and teach my honors World History class for the next hour via Zoom. And we've got grandparents doing FaceTime. I have to figure out how I'm gonna get toilet paper. It's gonna be a great afternoon,” she said.
Finding ways to adapt and getting comfort from the simple things is something we can all do during these ever changing times.
New mandates on food trucks in L.A. County include:
- Increase frequency of cleaning of menus, cash registers, receipt trays, condiment holders, writing instruments and other non-food contact surfaces frequently touched by patrons and employees.
- Ensure that social distancing of six feet per person for non-family members.
- Limiting the number of people in lines.
- Increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing per CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance of all hard surfaces.