Busy Bee restaurant selling its food truck

Published: May. 1, 2020 at 2:53 PM EDT
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Busy Bee restaurant has announced it is selling its food truck. The restaurant has owned the truck since January of 2017, and the decision to sell it was based on staffing issues and the stresses placed on the restaurant industry by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s very difficult to staff and maintain the quality of product with the Busy Bee name on it. Everything that comes out of the food truck has to be the same type of quality and the same food that we make at the restaurant...And with the pandemic and the closures, I’m stretched too thin...We had had to change something with our business model, and the truck is the easiest thing to let go,” said Larry Sloter, the owner of the restaurant.

Sloter is asking $32,000 for the truck and hopes to put the money toward other projects at the restaurant. Two individuals have expressed interest in purchasing it, and he will be showing it to each of them.

“It’s a great opportunity for someone who wants to get into the industry. Now, with the pandemic, delivery and pickup options are what works best...And you can’t get a restaurant for $32,000,” Sloter said.

He noted that, because it has already been operating as a food truck and is set up to meet Ohio and West Virginia health codes, it offers potential buyers an advantage, as they wouldn’t have to spend time and money having a truck custom built. He will also offer the buyer his contacts with local fairs, festivals, and other events and said he is flexible in terms of discussing other equipment that might be included with the purchase.

“I love the truck, and the food truck industry. I think there should be more of them, and I’d love to see someone be successful with it,” Sloter said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant has made a number of changes to its normal operations. Previously, it had only served breakfast and lunch, but during the pandemic, it has started serving dinner, as well. Everything is currently being served by curbside pickup or delivery. The restaurant is offering family style meals, and some of its popular breakfast items -- like cinnamon rolls, french toast bread pudding, and the Busy Bee skillet -- are available as “take and bake” options.

Sloter plans to continue offering the “take and bake” items, as well as takeout and delivery to some extent, after businesses reopen. And he said it is probable that the restaurant will continue to serve dinner, as well.

“We’re running at basically just above cost. All I’m trying to do is keep my employees working. We’re running really good prices on those things so I can cover food costs and wages and try to keep as many of my staff members working as I can,” Sloter said.

With Ohio businesses getting ready to start reopening, he and his staff are experiencing a range of emotions.

“We’re feeling a lot of optimism because we’ve used the down time very effectively. We’ve completely remodeled our dining room and we’re in the process of remodeling our kitchen...From just an operations standpoint, we’re very optimistic because we’re upbeat about how good the place looks and how much faster we’re going to be in the kitchen...But we’re worried about the reopening...We have a seating capacity of about 60 customers and the thought of only being able to seat 20 or 25 [due to social distancing], it is scary. We’ll continue to have to adapt,” Sloter said.