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The Biggest Change to Expect at Truck Stop Restaurants Across the Country

There's nothing like finding a hidden gem of a place to eat on a long drive, but things might be a bit different during your next road trip.
truck stop

There really is no experience quite like that of a truck stop restaurant. It's all about convenience, so you're looking for something quick that still tastes great and there are plenty of hidden gems you'll find at truck stops all over the country. But in the wake of the pandemic, things at truck stop restaurants are going to be different.

And you can expect to see one major change.

See, now that dine-in restaurants are starting to reopen, it's going to be a different experience as you'll most likely have to wait longer for a table that is six feet apart from other tables, and everyone will be wearing masks. At truck stop restaurants though, you're most likely going to have fewer menu options.

"We're limiting our menu choices and I think that's a good discipline going forward," said Jon Pertchik, CEO of TravelCenters of America in an interview. "We have menus at our [restaurants] that have something like 67 and 72 or 77 items. A lot of the items just never sell, and we need to have the prep. We need to have the storage."

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So essentially, the menus are going to be more limited, and not every option that you're used to seeing will be offered. Having more of what the most popular menu items are on hand and stocked makes the most sense, as most restaurants are easing back into business so most likely, they're all working with a limited staff, too.

"It's driven by what has historically been in demand. I'm hopeful that we're still able to fully serve our guests and make them happy but do so in a way that's much more efficient," Pertchik added.

Currently, more and more dining rooms in many states have reopened, but they are with limited capacity, with truck stop restaurants specifically operating at 25% to 50% occupancy. Social distancing is a factor as well, as tables are six feet apart and guests are being seated at every other booth where booths are available.

So while more obscure menu items might not be available, at least more and more places to eat at truck stops are opening, a sign of more good things to come.

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Jennifer Maldonado
Jennifer Maldonado is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and health content. Read more
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