Central Texas food truck owners juggle rising gas, food prices

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Rhonda Bennett is re-entering the food truck industry, but not without a series of challenges.

“The costs are going up, we’re trying to keep costs down for our customers,” Bennett said.

After spending the past six months in and out of the hospital for surgeries, Bennett and her food truck, Bad Girl BBQ, are back to traveling to events and festivals across Central Texas this summer.

“We’re having to fill up on not only diesel for our pickup truck to haul our trailer around, it’s also gasoline for our generator,” Bennett said. “Depending on how long the event is. It may run eight, 10 hours a day.”

For Bennett, supplies like buns have been harder to come by. Ray Perryman, CEO and President of The Perryman Group, an economic research firm, explained Russia may be to blame for this issue she is seeing.

“A big percentage of the world’s grain, which is not only used for bread and baked goods, but also animal feed comes from Russia and Ukraine and those supplies have been challenged,” Perryman said.

Although the prices for some items might be up, others are starting to go down.

“We’re improving the supply chain, we’re improving our production situation and consumers are responding,” Perryman said. “There’s all sorts of things to suggest in a few months we’ll start to see these high levels of inflation dissipate.”

More truck drivers and more goods now being made in the U.S. are also reducing the costs of some items.

Perryman stresses there’s no way to predict with 100-percent certainty whether we’ll see prices continue to drop, but the signs are all there. Still, Bennett continues to pay higher prices for items like ketchup, paper cups and corn chips.

“We might have to cut back a little on the size of our dishes to keep our prices low,” Bennett said. “I really hate to do that, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.”

The future isn’t exactly clear for every item, but she’s focused on continuing to smoke meats, pour queso and please her customers one day at a time.

“Keep the faith and just know that it is going to get better,” Bennett said. “It’s like the old saying `what goes up must come down.’ We’re hoping that holds true.”

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