As COVID-19 swept across the U.S. and the world, one of the first places to experience enormous closures was airports. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was no exception and saw several quick and full-service restaurants shutter their doors. Essential airline and airport employees and travelers were left with only a few options for grabbing a quick meal. Our team here at Off the Grid leveraged its experience with mobile food services and partnered with SFO. Now employees and travelers can enjoy delicious, fast meals from our extraordinary Creators (our food trucks and restaurant partners) — and safely order ahead and pay online using our new Off the Grid Experience app.
The Challenge: Finding Tasty & Fast Meals in Terminal 1
The travel industry and its affiliate businesses took a significant hit from the pandemic. Travel has increased gradually since its near halt last spring, and some airport businesses have reopened — but not all. SFO’s Terminal 1, which wasn’t overflowing with dining options to begin with, was down to only four eateries. Given that most SFO employees often have limited time to order, pay and eat a meal, they didn’t have time to go to other terminals or leave the airport. Except for some full-service restaurants, airports (including SFO) aren’t exactly bastions of innovative cuisine. Essential airport employees quickly grew bored with the limited Terminal 1 dining options.
The Approach: Off the Grid Leverages Its Mobile Food Services Expertise
Off the Grid has been organizing and coordinating with more than 320 Bay Area food trucks and restaurants to deliver diverse, delicious food to workplaces, events, community gatherings, cultural institutions and festivals for 10+ years. It has always been part of our mission to support locally owned, small businesses, including BIPOC-owned ones (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). Since the pandemic squashed all large gatherings and closed many workplaces, our food Creators suddenly found themselves without a steady income. Our Off the Grid team quickly shifted gears and dedicated our efforts to COVID-19, Black Lives Matter and wildfire relief — which also brought relief to our Creators and helped them keep their businesses afloat.
More recently, we recognized a need to feed essential SFO workers. We knew precisely how to solve the problem of limited food choices quickly — and help our Creators remain solvent. We partnered with SFO to provide tasty, quick meals served from our fantastic food truck partners.
The Solution: Food Trucks — Safe, Fast & Diverse
Food trucks have turned out to be one of the safest places to order food during the pandemic — they are outdoors, require fewer employees to prepare and serve food, and it’s easier to maintain social distancing. Our Off the Grid team realized food trucks were the perfect solution to solving SFO’s challenge of offering a wider variety of safe dining choices.
Two trucks per day park just outside Terminal 1B on the Departures Level near Door #1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Now employees and travelers have multiple options that change daily to grab a savory lunch. Check our Events Schedule to see which trucks are serving up the good stuff. The rotating choices include:
– Cielito Lindo
– Curry Up Now
– Curveball Sliders
– Da Poke Man
– Hula Truck
– I Love Cheesesteak
– Korean Bob Cha
– Oaxacan Kitchen
– Rice Bucket
– Senor Sisig
– Sip N Slurp
– The Rolling Duck
– Waffle Roost
Off the Grid Experience Mobile App Enhances Safety and Saves Time
We’ve taken it one step further and launched our mobile app, Off the Grid Experience, allowing customers to browse menus, order in advance, pay online and receive notifications when their food is ready. Now, instead of waiting in line to order and then waiting for food, employees on tight schedules can safely order using Off the Grid Experience. It’s much easier to maintain social distancing and minimize contact with others since the app handles everything.
The Results: Happier and Safer SFO Essential Workers and Travelers
Customers are delighted with the food truck options, and our Creators are enjoying new opportunities to earn an income during the pandemic. Often, online app orders equal in-person orders — and as more workers and travelers learn about the app’s ease and safety, we expect even more orders will be placed via the app.
“Off the Grid has been received extremely well by my employees. They are so grateful for great food at the workplace. So many of my employees were tired of “airport food,” so what a treat has this been. We are grateful for Off the Grid, and the favorite truck by far has been the Philly Cheese Steak Truck.”
Delta Air Lines | Department Manager | San Francisco, CA
San Francisco International Airport
The Conclusion: Off the Grid’s SFO Partnership Is a Win-Win
Our Off the Grid team is proud to partner with SFO and offer a safe, quick, simple solution to feeding essential workers and hungry travelers on tight schedules. Our expertise in innovative mobile food programs allows us to respond quickly to the challenges of providing diverse, delicious cuisine safely during the pandemic. Customers are responding favorably to our Creators’ offerings and our Off the Grid Experience mobile app. Our Creators are benefitting by having regularly scheduled business hours and a steady income.