It’s no secret that many independent (and even big chain) restaurants are struggling these days. That’ll happen during a pandemic that forced restaurants to reshuffle their operations and limit capacity for half the year. While food trucks would seem well-positioned to withstand times like these, the fact that folks are leaving home less often has made things challenging for these mobile restaurants.
Maybe the secret to surviving these tough times is a little bit of help from strangers on social media. At least that’s what happened with Taqueria El Torito, a humble Humble, Texas-based food truck whose fortunes changed for the better once Twitter got word of its owner’s struggles.
After an incredibly slow business day, Giselle Avilles (whose account is now private) tweeted in the hopes of driving some foot traffic to Taqueria El Torito. “I wouldn’t normally do this, but my dad’s taco truck business is struggling, he only sold $6 today. If you could retweet, I would appreciate you so much,” her tweet read before including an address of where the truck could be found.
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And retweet they did. With help from both locals who’d already tasted Taqueria El Torito to others across the country who just wanted to take a second to support a small business, Aviles’ tweet was shared 10,000 times. social media metrics like this don’t always translate to real-world results, but it sure sounds like they did in this case. According to Today, Aviles said her dad’s truck sold out by the time the lunch rush was over and had to close to restock. That’s a far cry from selling just $6 worth of tacos and tortas in one day.
With customers who saw Aviles’ viral tweet mentioning to her father that social media drove them there, it seems he’s now convinced of the merits of this marketing channel. She parlayed that into a new Instagram account for the truck that’s already racked up more than 3,500 followers since its first post on September 7.
Short of a massive expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program (and a significant simplification of the application process), there’s no magic bullet that will ensure every restaurant and food truck survives the unprecedented challenges 2020 has had in store for them. Still, you never know if something as simple as a tweet could be what makes the difference.
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