The food trucks and small businesses on Temple’s main campus have been faced with many challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Coming up in a few weeks, March 11 will mark exactly one year since Temple made the transition to fully remote learning. With only an estimated 13% of classes being held in-person during the spring 2021 semester, the amount of daily foot traffic on campus has gone done significantly.
The food trucks have been heavily impacted by the lack of students attending class and gathering on campus during the week. Some food trucks that once received business from hundreds of customers a day are now predicting their sales have dropped by 80-90%.
Obaid Ullah, owner of New York Halal Gyro, says, “The pandemic has affected us a lot. I would say we lost like 85% of customers, which means we lost a lot of business here.”
In order to stay open, the food trucks owners have been monitoring CDC guidelines closely and are adhering to many safety precautions.
“We have germicide and are doing wipe downs constantly. We are constantly changing our gloves and we always wear masks and change them about every four hours,” assures Chris Foley, an employee at The Crepe Truck.
While the food trucks do not pay rent directly to the university, some other small businesses on campus are still required to.
Fame Amzoski, owner of Fame’s Pizza and Grill, states, “They only gave us a deferral for two years, but we’re still responsible for the rent, where we believe they should give us some kind of break.”
In addition, some food truck owners would like to receive more support from Temple. Erugen Cinemn, owner of E&E’s Gourmet Food Truck, was hopeful the university would begin allowing the food trucks to accept Diamond Dollars.
In response to the university’s actions, assistant vice president of communications, Ray Betzner says, “We recognize this has been a difficult time for many local businesses that rely on large numbers of students as their customers. Unfortunately, city health restrictions prevent us from bringing back large numbers of students and employees at this time.”
Temple has yet to announce any plans for the fall 2021 semester, but food truck and small business owners on campus look forward to whenever more students can return safely. In the meantime, many food trucks and eateries on campus remain open for business Monday-Friday and are eager for customers to stop by.