Summer food trucks are heading into their busy season, and owners are feeling the pinch of rising costs of supplies and ingredients while also grappling over fuel to keep the fryers going.
With the average price for gasoline sitting at $4.52 and diesel at $5.53 per gallon, respectively, many food truck operators are having to pay over $100 at a time to fill their 20-gallon tanks.
While food truck businesses have traditionally been a cheaper alternative to brick-and-mortar restaurants, the National Food Truck Association tells FOX Business that could change if food and fuel prices continue to remain high.
"It's not just the cost of food," Matthew Gellar, Founding President of the National Food Truck Association told FOX Business. "It's the cost of running that truck, which is a lot of times, much more expensive than just running a small, quick serve restaurant,"
One food truck operator, who has been serving Mediterranean eats on 51st and Park Ave. for 50 years now, is forking over $1,000 a month on fuel alone, more than double on gas expenses last year. The electricity bill is also doubling.
"It truly hurts every time I go to the gas pump," president of Uncle Gussy's food truck, Nicko Karagiorgos, told FOX Business. "We're paying double the price of gas for what we were paying. It is insane."
While prices for gas, supplies and ingredients have continued to climb, Uncle Gussy’s has yet to raise prices on their menu and instead taken the loss of profits.
As U.S. inflation reached a four-decade high of 9.1%, food prices have increased even faster. Food costs jumped 10.4% in June compared to last year, according to data from the Labor Department. Certain categories, including staple ingredients for Uncle Gussy’s traditional Greek offerings like gyros and souvlaki, saw large gains. The price of chicken surged 19% in the past year, the largest increase ever.
However, not all food trucks are able to absorb the costs.
Meatoss, a Brazilian food truck specializing in barbeque fusion, is paying 40% more for gas from a year ago, up from $45 to around $115 or more daily.
The surging costs of fuel are pumping brakes on catering for events. Meatoss owner and chef Daniel Shkmorv tells FOX Business that he has to decline 30-40% of the events they are asked to do.
"We literally say we cannot do it," Shkmorv said. "If my price was 100 people, 1200 dollars we will be there, we will serve them. Today, it must be 15, 16 or 17000 and or I either cancel or they just, you know. Move forward. So this is a big problem."
Shkmorv is also paying more for propane to generate power for the four to five refrigerators.
"The days of like the $2 tacos and the $3 sandwiches are gone for food trucks," Gellar said.