The past 18 months have of course meant our roads have been quieter for food trucks during lockdowns, however. “Staying in business during Covid has definitely been an interesting experience,” explains Ben of The Poutine Machine. “That was a very weird time for everybody.” Yet while the hospitality industry was hit hard during the pandemic, interestingly food trucks couldn’t chime in with this sentiment, finding that serving their community meant they were able to keep themselves afloat, whilst offering light relief during a collective dark period. “Some of the food trucks found success operating as a neighborhood pop up, essentially parking at a pool or community centre and serving the surrounding houses. This idea caught on quickly, as everyone was sick of being stuck at home and cooking for themselves,” explains Ben. Soon, The Poutine Machine was driving around three to four neighbourhoods per week, “and it was the busiest we had ever been up to that point; we doubled our sales from the previous year.” Ben explains that the neighbourhood pop up business lasted after lockdown restrictions were lifted too, due to how simple yet satisfying the food venture is. “So, ironically while every other business struggled during Covid, most food trucks were actually thriving.”
But ultimately, Ben wants just the same thing as Flo and Mimi over in Berlin; a bricks-and-mortar restaurant to welcome his community into. “We have a small but very dedicated fan base,” says the owner of The Poutine Machine, “and we owe everything to their support.” For instance, Ben and his team have started to recognise customers who come to see them often, or the ones who comment on their Facebook posts and share pictures on Instagram. “We learned their names and little things about them, and when they come to see us, it’s like seeing a friend.” Ben describes having a fan base like this “touching,” and it’s no wonder. The amount of strenuous perseverance needed to not only start a food truck, but keep it running smoothly and successfully is no walk, or drive, in the park.