In recent years, various car washes in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley have joined forces with local food pop-ups to serve a new type of customer: hungry ones. In particular, these customers come for the hot chicken sandwiches that have enjoyed a spike in popularity in Los Angeles.
The business idea is so simple I’m actually kind of mad I didn’t think of it first. Sure, many chicken sandwich shops take the traditional route and open up a physical restaurant, but others went for a more entrepreneurial route. They, according to this LAist story, inhabit car wash parking lots typically after the car wash closes.
The relationship is quite symbiotic, the outlet points out:
Poultry peddlers get a visible, reasonably safe spot (with parking) to sell their wares. Car wash owners earn a little extra money from a space that would otherwise sit dormant at night. It’s a well worn path. Taquerias — like Leo’s Taco Truck at the corner of Glendale Blvd. and Temple St. in Historic Filipinotown and Tacos Super Gallito at Bluewave Car Wash in Westwood — have been operating out of car washes for more than a decade.
The business include Spicy Boyz Chicken, located at the Vineland Car Wash, Chips N’ Chicks at the Tujunga Car Wash and Hawaiian Hot Chicken at the Northridge Car Wash. Jalopnik reached out to the car washes to see if they saw an increase in business from the chicken sandwich stands, but did not immediately receive a response for comment.
There are challenges, of course. Since the food stands don’t own the parking lot, they need to set up anew every day and break down and clean up after each night. A car wash might close late, which impacts setting up, LAist reports. But still, judging from pictures and video, it seems like a really cool and relaxed place to eat.
Food and cars have always made for a good combination. Many car shows take place around food businesses because people like to eat while socializing and checking out cars. It’s called “cars and coffee” for crying out loud. My university car club used to hold car meets at the off-campus Wendy’s parking lot. The examples are countless.
If you live in the Valley, tell me how good these chicken sandwiches are. And head over to LAist to read the full story.