Foodservice Equipment Reports

New Controversies Stall Food Trucks

While the West Coast food-truck business continues to boom, other major cities continue to wrestle with the politics of curb-side foodservice.

The city council in Washington, D.C., plans a yes or no vote on newly proposed regulations. Food-truck operators there oppose new regulations and complain about the lack of specifics on the number of parking spaces provided in regulated food-truck zones. They also cite confusion on the District's sidewalk size requirements. The regulations mandate that food trucks only park in spaces with at least 10 ft. of unobstructed sidewalk space.

While council members face a simple up or down vote on the bill, the city could begin cracking down on food trucks if regulations are not passed.

The Washington Times also claims concerns within the Department of Homeland Security over the growing proliferation of food trucks in crowded metropolitan areas. The paper says the department worries the trucks could pose a terrorist threat in heavy traffic and high-profile areas; officials in New York say that the size and the number of modifications in trucks would allow a terrorist to install a large bomb. The propane tanks inside food trucks are themselves explosive devices. In 2011, a food truck suffered a serious propane tank explosion in the District.

Chicago continues to wrestle with the politics of mobile foodservice; food trucks there just got the go-ahead to actually do onboard cooking earlier this year. And the president of the New York City Food Truck Association recently told The New York Times that despite the allure and convenience of cute trucks and clever food options, the business could be doomed thanks to unending and sometimes conflicting regulations required by the city’s departments of Health, Sanitation, Transportation and Consumer Affairs. As a result, it’s nearly impossible to operate a food truck in New York without breaking some law.

One truck owner told the Times that he uses his truck as a moving billboard for his two successful brick-and-mortar restaurants—which require that only a single employee on duty have a Health Department certification. Food-truck employees must be individually licensed—obtaining proper paperwork can take up to two months.

Related Articles

Portland’s Food Trucks To Add New Rules To Menu

Chicago Food Trucks Finally Start Cooking, But D.C. Ops Await New Regs

Chicago Food Trucks Lose Court Fight, Hopes Rise For Legislative Help

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