Local food trucks having to adapt due to COVID-19


TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — Local food truck owners are having to find new ways to keep their businesses going.

News Channel 11 continues to check on small businesses throughout the Tri-Cities, as many have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

A lot of food tucks in the region rely on other events to keep their businesses going.

When those local events had to be canceled because of COVID-19, food truck owners had to come up with a way to adapt.

One local food truck worker told News Channel 11 that they’ve been gathering health measures from local health departments to ensure they adhere to the CDC’s guidelines.

“We reached out to the health department to see what we need to do to keep our customers safe,” David Frost with Curbside Kitchen Inc. said.

They were relying on several local events to make an income and have recently just opened back up at their location in Kingsport.

“We are at our base at Colonial Heights and its been pretty steady there,” Frost said.

To keep their costumers safe, they are not putting their tables out and are only letting people get to-go orders.

“We have it marked off so people know how far to stand apart,” explains Frost in regard to how he’s keeping customers apart when standing in line.

“It really took us by surprise honestly; it all happened pretty quickly,” said The Pakalachian Food Truck owner Mohsin Kazmi.

The Pakalachian Food Truck is based out of Abingdon, Virginia and has also relied on events to sell their food.

“Our events are based on activities in the community,” said Katlin Kazmi. “A lot of those got canceled. So that was immediate with our food truck gigs if you will. All of those that have been canceled, canceled our food truck events.”

This caused them to take the month of April off.

“As a food truck we were able to sit down for a second and gather our thoughts in times like this, and we’re actually kind of ready to get going now,” said Mohsin Kazmi.

The community is still reaching out to them and asking them when they’ll be about to buy their favorite foods again.

“Starting in May, every Thursday we’re going to do take-home meals of Curry Me Down South,” said Katlin.

Alley Kat in Downtown Johnson City hasn’t been too fazed by this pandemic.

They are still selling out almost every week.

“The community has kept us going during this time for sure. So very thankful for that,” said Alex Weaver, co-owner of Alley Kat.

With a minimum amount of employees and business still booming they are still able to keep cutting paychecks.

“We haven’t been affected too much because we are just a food truck and we only have two or three people working,” said Weaver. “So, thankfully we haven’t had to like layoff any employees or anything like that.”

To keep their customers apart, they have taken away their outdoor sitting area and have opened online ordering.

“We’ve opened up online ordering and just different ways for customers to make it easier on them,” said Weaver. “So, they don’t have to come and pay when they get there, and so it’s all online on their phone. So we’ve kind of adapted and are doing things that we probably should’ve done a year ago, but we went ahead and took care of that now. So it gave us some times to actually get some things done.”

All three businesses say to check their social media pages for updates.

They want to continue serving their communities, and they want the communities to continue supporting small businesses.

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