Record-high diesel prices at the pump impacting some Norfolk food truck owners

food trucks impacted by rising diesel costs
Posted at 6:41 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 21:52:51-04

NORFOLK, Va. – With record-high prices for diesel, some businesses on wheels are slowing down. Several business owners are making changes to keep their food trucks running.

Capt’n Crabby Owner Steve Jones said on hot and sunny days, he’d have both his food trucks running, but these days, the rising price of diesel is keeping at least one of them in park.

“We used to go to all seven Hampton Roads cities, and now we’re very limited to basically ones near us – between Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and Hampton – because of the rising diesel cost,” said Jones.

Jones has already cut back on how far he’s driving his food trucks and worries if diesel keeps going up, he’ll have to stay off the road even more.

“The rise in costs have been astronomical and have been hurting my pocket,” he said.

Diesel has now hit a new record. The average price for diesel in Virginia today is $5.61 compared to $3.02 one year ago.

It’s a trickle-down effect that Jones said has caused sales from his Capt’n Crabby food truck to dip by 20% over the last few months.

“It almost comes into an instance where we have to have certain minimums and requirements just to go to certain destinations just to feed certain people because of the rising fuel costs,” Jones said

Over at Miss Kims Mobile Kitchen, the orders keep coming in.

Owners Dale Chu and his wife say they don’t use a lot of gas to fill up their generator for their trailer but say inflation on food prices have caused them to pay more to keep the business running.

“Prices on the chicken when we first moved here were about $1.80 per pound, and you could find it anywhere,” Dale Chu said. “Chicken is now about $2.98 per pound, and it’s really hard to find it.”

So far, Chu said they’ve been able to hold the line on their menu prices.

“If I had staff and with the rise in cost and employment and everything, then yeah, we would have had to pass some of that cost down to our customers, but right now we’re doing OK,” he said.

With gas prices expected to rise in the summer, both Chu and Jones say they’re ready to adapt.

Related: Local small business owners, food delivery drivers weigh in on impacts of rising gas prices