Joel Feliciano drove his food truck for months before he discovered a deal to park his business.
The CEO of Orlando-based health-focused eatery Avofuel LLC saw his revenue grow during the pandemic and wanted a permanent place to cater to his customers. He found a spot near the Florida Mall at 1718 W. Sand Lake Road where the landlord offered him a lease that was more favorable for his business than if he would have negotiated a lease before the pandemic. He plans to open the restaurant next summer.
“Right now, not a whole lot of people are looking to get into this type of business, and a lot of landlords are willing to negotiate terms of a lease,” Feliciano said.
Terrence Hart, senior director at Franklin Street of Orlando, said he’s also seen an uptick in food truck operators and other mom-and-pop restaurants looking at physical locations during the pandemic. These small businesses have found many second-generation restaurant spaces, which are usually more affordable to build out for new concepts.
Landlords also find comfort in the social media following of these local businesses — and are willing to take the risk signing leases with concepts with sizable digital followers.
“Owners are more open to these grassroots restaurant concepts that are community driven,” Hart said.