CDV Mex Food turns a profit while stepping up social distancing

The CDV Mex food truck currently operates on an empty lot, leaving customers with ample room for social distancing. (July 14, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

For many restaurants, it’s difficult to square customer service with social distancing. Even takeaway service can quickly lead to lines of customers crowding around a walk-up window. But what if you run your business out of a truck in the middle of an empty lot?

CDV Mex Food, a pop-up staple of Cordova cuisine, moved into a food truck at the end of June, leasing space in the lot formerly occupied by the Cordova Hotel and Bar, now a featureless gravel square. The lot could comfortably fit several customers, if necessary. Additionally, the business has implemented an online ordering and payment system that automatically staggers customers’ pickup times, accepting at most two orders every 15 minutes.

CDV Mex Food’s online ordering system is run via Square, a company specializing in mobile payment services. Square has recently expanded its online ordering features in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The CDV Mex food truck takes around 40-50 orders on an average day, with over 90 percent of those being made online, said Kristy Andrew, wife of CDV Mex Food owner Jose Manuel Avila Jaguey and bookkeeper for the business. This brisk pace means that the business operates near capacity most days, she said.

Jose Manuel Avila Jaguey, owner of CDV Mex Food. (July 14, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

“This is a new operation for us,” Andrew said. “We wanted to make sure that we could take all the orders and not have a big line of people who may or may not be following the protocols.”

As well as dispensing with the difficulties of setting up a tent, operating out of a food truck has allowed the business to expand its menu beyond tacos and burritos to include sushi and ceviche, a Latin American seafood dish. CDV Mex Food has also expanded its range of meats from carne asada and chicken to pork, steak and shrimp. The CDV Mex food truck will be available in its current location through Sept. 15.

“Things have been really nice and steady,” Andrew said. “This business has done extremely well, and I think it has to do with the measures we’ve taken for social distancing… We’re humbled. We’re very thankful for this community.”