WASHINGTON DC – Spring, summer and fall, Nevan William gets about 80 customers a day when she parks her kebab truck on Franklin Square. On the first day of winter, she got 18.
Before packing up and pulling away a half-hour early last week, she had made enough to pay an in-truck helper her $90 salary and to cover about half of the $300 in lamb and chicken and gyro meat she had bought that morning.
Such is the equinox in Washington’s lively food truck scene, which blooms for three seasons and can dangle like a twig in the darkest months.
“When the cold comes, they leave us out here alone,” William said, leaning out of the window of Kabab Village and scanning the empty sidewalk.
For food trucks, winter is the season of their disconnect. The long lines of hungry lunch seekers are daunted by the chill wind, leaving mobile chefs to stew with their stew, all but alone with the gumbos, tacos and bibimbap.
Truck owners report typical revenue drops of 50 percent or more during the cold months, with some days dwindling to a just a sale or two when the weather is wintriest. It’s a chilling — sometimes killing — season for microbusinesses that may have jumped in during the summer only to be caught unprepared when January sends the numbers over the cliff.
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