“Yeah, I’m ready for this year to end,” said Pam, co-owner and cook at the Hula Truck, a mashup of Filipino-Hawaiian food, which has been hurting for business since the pandemic swept through the Bay Area. Her words pretty much sum up how many of us are feeling.
At this point, there’s little we can add to the conversation about how challenging 2020 has been for Off the Grid as a company, our employees, our network of Creators, and our community at large. Everyone is well aware of the consequences and the irreversible impact of Covid-19.
Pam, who co-owns the Hula Truck with her family, has survived on business from small food spots and catering opportunities here and there. But it hasn’t been easy, and there has been a lot of downtime sitting idle. For others, the outcome has been a little more grim.
Of course, not all is a wash. While still difficult, 2020 has provided opportunities for some small food entrepreneurs to capitalize on new business lines. Little Green Cyclo, for instance, had more time and resources than ever—as business from its food trucks and bistro slowed to a halt—to build out its direct-to-consumer line of canned Vitnamese coffee drinks and coffee beans. Their new products are now stocking the shelves at over a dozen stores across the Bay Area, providing a much-need super dose of craft caffeine to residents.
Other opportunities, like private events and corporate catering, have proven fruitful for trucks like Cielito Lindo, which is known for its shrimp tacos and fully loaded burritos. All the dishes are cooked up by owner Gustavo, originally from Acapulco, Mexico, who follows recipes he learned from his mother and grandmother. Despite lost sales from large events and markets, he has remained positive.
“I think that everything is going to be okay—little by little,” Gustavo told us. “People are learning how it’s all working and I think we’re going to be great.”
Like a lot of the small businesses in our markets, we’ve had to get creative.
We’ve had to pivot, restructure, and look for fresh starts. Through it all, we’ve been heads down in survival mode, launching new initiatives and doubling down on lesser-known business lines. We’ve had to make difficult structural changes to the organization, limit events, cancel employee gatherings—and it has all been hard and very heavy.
But in the 10 years that Off the Grid has been around, “heavy” and “hard” are not words that are usually used to describe this company. Fun food experiences for the whole community are what makes the company thrive. Internally, it remains a really fun place full of fun people and we’re determined to keep it that way.
Taking a note from Gustavo, we’re also seeing that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re leaning into opportunities to end the year on a hopeful note. We’ve done a lot to turn this ship around. We’ve also received a lot. And we’re beyond grateful to you, our community, for all of the support, donations, and love over this past wacky year.
If you’ve got it in you for one more generous gift, we’re ending 2020 with one last fundraising push. Join us as we end this year with some cheer, and a giving campaign to benefit our hardest-hit small food businesses.
Here’s how you can help out the food community that has fed you over the past decade.
In an effort to give back, our last fundraising campaign of the year “Off the Grid Gives” launches next week.
Throughout the next two weeks we’ll be burning the bad, welcoming the new, highlighting food business, playing games, giving away prizes, and raising money for our network of local food Creators. Here’s how you can join:
1. Buy some merch
From December 21st – 31st we’ll be hosting a virtual store and donation site. Purchase some OTG 10-year anniversary swag on our merch store or plug in any amount you’d like to give. All proceeds from the merchandise will be matched by Off the Grid and donated to hospitality workers and businesses affected by the most recent shelter in place orders. Our goal is to raise $15,000.
2. Play with us
From December 28th – 30th we’ll be running a virtual “spin to win” trivia game to test your food knowledge, giveaway Amazon gift cards, and encourage giving. Come play, help us spread the word and give back while also winning a little somethin’ for yourself. Sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned for the gaming link to go live.
3. Spread the word
Tag us on Instagram with photos of your favorite food truck dishes or best moments with Off the Grid over the years using @offthegridsf and #offthegridgives. Tag friends to join and be entered to win some amazing foodie and art prizes!
Together we can make little difference in someone’s life.
Maybe it all amounts to a small holiday bonus, or maybe it’s something more. Right now, every little bit helps. And if we can help bring a smile to our collective community’s face, then we’re doing exactly what we set out to do.
Happy holidays, friends of Off the Grid. And cheers to a better New Year. We wouldn’t be what we are without you.