‘Roughing it out’: Food trucks struggle with lack of events

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s third wave has forced the cancellation of many events again this summer, leaving food trucks without an important source of revenue.

Fired Up has been serving artisanal pizzas since 2014 and relies heavily on events to make its dough for the year.

“Festivals like we normally do like the fringe, and we do Summer in the City in Steinbach, we do the Winkler Harvest Festival. So of course, those were all cancelled last year and again this year,” said Marisa Pasquarelli, owner of Fired Up

Newer on the scene is Champs Food Truck, which is facing a similar pinch with no events again this year.

“That was everything our first year out. We didn’t even go to the streets, we went to the events,” said Charlie Villapando, owner of the truck and Charlee’s Restaurant and Lounge.  “Success in that end, but now without the events, now for us to find ways to even earn a living, right?”

To get by in the pandemic, Villapando is getting creative in finding spots to sell his Filipino fusion food.

 “Parking up and posting up in parking lots or having little small drive-bys and stuff like that. Just every which way we can make something,” he said.

Likewise, Fired Up is finding it tough in the pandemic. The truck is currently depending on corporate lunches.

“We’re just basically roughing it out,” Pasquarelli said. “With not having a regular spot, we are still relying on the business we’ve dealt with in the last few years.”

Even though business is more challenging than usual, it isn’t stopping food trucks from looking to the future and remaining optimistic.

Villapando will soon be launching another truck later this summer.

“To spread a little joy in anyway we can,” Villapando said. “Dining closed, so once one door closes, another one has to open and another. So it’s going to be cool.”

As business remains tough, both food truck owners say they’re looking forward to later this year when many bookings have been postponed to.

“We have some weddings from this spring which have been postponed to August, and a good portion of September. So we’re hoping there isn’t another wave around then,” said Pasquarelli.

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