A significant portion of street stalls/kiosks consists of food trucks and street vendors that primarily operate in urban environments with ample foot traffic. In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, nationwide lockdowns, expanded work-from-home (WFH) opportunities and greatly reduced urban traffic contributed to substantial sales and outlet losses for food trucks and street stalls, most of which rely heavily on office workers and nightlife to drive sales.
Shopping malls in the US were gradually closing their doors well before the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020. Thus, mall-based food kiosks were already at risk of closure well before the nationwide lockdowns necessitated by the pandemic.
Foodservice players in every format have been forced to find ways to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate lost sales and reduced customer traffic. In terms of adaptability, food trucks have several advantages over traditional standalone foodservice outlets.
Along with the pandemic and greatly reduced sales in 2020, many foodservice operators were forced to permanently shut their doors, while others continue to struggle. While painful for owners, staff and the industry at large, some opportunities to rebuild or restart will surely be sought by former and struggling brick-and-mortar restaurateurs.
Although street stalls suffered heavy losses in 2020 as customer footfall dried up, urban vendors aim to rebound quickly as commuters/workers and nightlife return to cities. While no such returns had begun in force in major cities across the US by 2021, positive news about vaccine distribution and the prospect of the resumption of normal daily activities have provide some optimism.
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