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Gas prices causes 1 Kansas City food truck to rethink business model

Duke's Place says gas prices are causing them to pull out of events they typically travel to
Posted at 9:22 AM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 10:22:54-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Increasing gas prices are putting local Kansas City food trucks in a pinch, and some are having to scale back on events they used to attend.

Duke’s Place is known for their creole, Cajun, soul food. Owner Vanessa Ward and her husband say costs for them are up across the board.

A container of oil used to cost them $21, but now they’re purchasing the same container for $42 and go through at least three containers when they set up businesses.

They are also having to pay a lot more at the pump. Right now, it takes them $100 to fill up their tank and that’s not including the gas they need to keep their generator running. Their food costs are also dramatically up.

“It's been hard, but we don't take a lot of events that are way out like we used to,” Ward said.

Ward said some events require food trucks to pay a fee, but because of the surge in gas prices, they are doing their best to stay in the Kansas City area to cut back on cost. Unlike last year, Duke’s Place said they won’t be a part of Garden City’s Beef Empire Days.

“If we have to stay in hotels, those prices have gone up, you know, overnight stays and stuff like that. So, we're trying to stay closer,” Ward said.

The Kansas City Food Truck Association is made up of local food truck owners, and they say gas prices rising is a topic of concern for many owners. The association's goal is to focus on ways they can support their community.

“Sharing deals, creating bulk buying referrals to other trucks on jobs when a truck is booked and more because we are unable to control gas, our efforts are focused against things that we can do to help one another,” Jon Poteet with the Kansas City Food Truck Association said.

Duke’s Place doesn’t want to increase their menu prices just yet and are trying to stay lean, but with no guarantee as to how many people will show up to an event, it puts them in a tough situation.

“It’s been okay because the events that we do, there's lots of people, the communities that we go to, they love us and so lots of people come out to the communities and that's what we love,” Ward said. “We love serving the communities and you know, we don't make a big profit if our profit margins shrinks, okay, but at least we serve the community.”