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July 24, 2020 COVID Stories

COVID Stories: Worcester’s Caribbean food truck easily adapted to pandemic restrictions

Photo | Courtesy of Caribbean Press The Caribbean Press food truck in Worcester

Luckily for Jermaine Smith, owner of the Caribbean Press food truck of Worcester, the food truck industry was easily adaptable for COVID-19 operations.

“Food trucks were one of the lucky businesses,” said Smith, “our food is all take-out, and all we had to do was set up in a location; and we were able to have people come, be six feet apart, and pick up meals that way.” 

Smith’s food truck does a Caribbean twist on the panini and first opened in September.

The Caribbean Press was open throughout the pandemic, with its main location being at White Eagle parking lot in Worcester. 

At first, he was not that busy because of COVID restrictions and the fact that people were not leaving their homes, but recently business has picked up. 

“People weren’t really going out, so everyone in the food truck business was trying to get out there and hustle as much as possible until people were feeling more comfortable and the restrictions in Massachusetts opened up,” said Smith.

In late April, the food truck began visiting a second location at the Austin Liquors’ parking lot on Park Avenue.

The Caribbean Press offers some catering services to customers and local businesses as well. 

Smith did not have to change most of the ways he operates because of COVID, but he does now focus more on cleaning, sanitizing, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

“We’re really trying to follow the letters of the law of how to carry on our business,” said Smith. 

He obtained a ServSafe Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions training certification. 

Smith was the only one working the food truck until business picked up in the last few months, and he hired an employee to be outside of the food truck handling payment. 

One of the biggest challenges for Smith’s food truck and other food trucks is the absence of festivals. 
“At festivals, you can get up to several thousand customers,” said Smith. 

Though there are not festivals to go to, breweries and wineries offer a unique opportunity for food trucks like Smith’s.

“A lot of people are venturing out to breweries because they have a lot of open space and are more spread out, so people can grab their food and then have their table to themselves outside and far apart from one another,” said Smith. 

The Caribbean Press food truck has been to Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co. in Worcester, Sail to Trail WineWorks in Worcester, and Oakholm Brewing Co. in Brookfield. 

For breweries and wineries without kitchens, food trucks offer an easy and COVID adaptable way to add that food element to their space. 

Though the business opportunity of serving large crowds at festivals might not exist for a while, the Caribbean Press food truck continues to find other ways to reach customers safely. 

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