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Food Truck Frenzy

What started as a required public noticing on their web site regarding proposed mobile food truck vendor regulations ended up being one of the fiercest social media-driven waves of opposition to a single piece of regulation I’ve encountered in years.
Within a single day, it got ugly fast, with food truckers, food truckees and RGJ all scrambling to find out who was influencing the city to suddenly pursue proposed regulations that were on the back burner for over two years. Some commenters on my Facebook page theorized perhaps the city council had read the recent article posted by the San Francisco Gate regarding the battle between mobile and fixed food vendors in the Bay Area. Others theorized that it was the casinos influencing the new regulations, citing that they would be the only benefactors to some of the proposed rules.
However it seems the root of the problem is not Calvin’s Sausages hanging out at St. James Infirmary at 1 am when all other restaurants within 3 blocks are closed. The core of this movements stems from the food trucks based on Wells Avenue.
But first, the proposed rules.  The  four rules attracting the most attention are;

1. Mobile Food Trucks cannot operate after 10 pm

2. Mobile food trucks cannot stay at one location for more than two hours, and then must move at least four blocks away or 2 miles, whatever is closest, and cannot return to that location within 24 hours .

3. Mobile food trucks cannot have outdoor cooking equipment such as BBQs, grills etc and;

4. Mobile food trucks cannot operate within 300 feet of a similar restaurant, or a church, school, park or city owned property.

Everyone discussing the subject online agrees that health inspections are a good thing. Possessing a valid business license is a good thing. Opinions start to fray when referencing one or all of the above regulations however.
The crux of the issue is Wells Avenue, and the taco trucks that set up shop there. Approximately five taco trucks set up shop every day at the same location, located across the street from more well-known Mexican food establishments like Speedy Burritos and Taco Johns. This brings up the argument, is that fair, valid,  and legal? A couple of the taco trucks on Wells are known for setting up shades structures, tables, chairs, and even an ‘80’s-era TV to watch while you eat. Does that constitute a ‘mobile’ food truck? I decided to check out what other cities do. Upon doing some Googling I stumbled across a report from http://www.nplanonline.org/, an institution to prevent childhood obesity. I then found direct links to NYC and La County's mobile food vendor laws.

Check out the grid below, and you will see mobile food vendor rules for 10 cities. There's a common set of rules running across the top, including restriction to schools, churches etc.

Perhaps most shocking is that mobile food trucks on both private and public property is banned outright in Los Angeles, both for carts and for trucks. Though there's a rogue food movement, they are all actually breaking city law. I'm assuming the cops down there have better things to do than to bust food trucks. So for Los Angeles and surrounding cities, I compiled a list of County and State Laws for California that affect food carts. Some of them are really good, and our city might consider incorporating them into their proposed ordinance.

The rules range from pretty lax to severely over-regulated. I'm sure out of these examples we can formulate an ordinance/rules that are right for Reno. What are my thoughts?

1. Nix the proposed time limit of 10 pm
2. Overturn the Nevada statute dictating that food trucks aren't allowed to park on streets and let cities legislate that, and then; Allow food trucks to be on private lots during day and public lots after sunset.
3. I like NYC's concept of a 'Mobile Food Vendor Food Protection Course' that all mobile food vendors must take ($56.00 one time fee)
4. There should not be any laws restricting a food truck from being near any restaurant, even if that restaurant serves the same type of food.
5. If we have to put a time limit on stops, then increase it from two hours to five hours. Five hours seems like a fair alternative...it allows Gourmelt to be in one spot from 11 am until 4 pm (usually they run out of product before then), and allows Calvin's to be in one location from say 9 pm until 2 am. It also solves the issue with the taco trucks on Wells Avenue who stay parked in their locations full time, even overnight. I do feel that a food truck parked in the same location, even overnight whether open or not, and also puts picnic tables, chairs, and a tv is abusing the concept of a food truck. Perhaps if they choose to stay parked more than five hours they have to get the 'bathroom letter' from a surrounding business. (see Los Angeles County tab below)
6. I want to reiterate that I think it's ridiculous that food trucks cannot park on public streets. No city below restricts parking to private property citywide full-time. Los Angeles requires mobile food vendors to be within a 'mobile food zone' of which none are created because it requires the signatures of at least 65% of businesses within that zone among other outrageous requirements.

So, what are you thoughts? I'm relatively sure we can come to a happy medium using a variety of the rules below, yeah?


Mobile Food Vendor Rules In the 10 Most Populous Cities

City Nutrition Incentives Restrictions on Vendor Proximity to Schools, Churches Restriction on Duration of Vendor Stops Hours When Vendors are Allowed to Operate Are Vendors Subject to Inspection? Are Vendors Required to Operate from a Commissary? Other Special Regulations Fees for Mobile Vendor Permits or License
Chicago Vendors selling only fruits and vegetables are separately classified as “peddlers” and pay a reduced permit fee.1 No regulation. No regulation, though a new proposed regulation would prevent parking within 200 feet of restaurant. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for peddlers of fruits and vegetables.2 Otherwise, there is no restriction on hours. Yes. Vendors must pass inspection before license will be issued.3 Vendors must operate from a commissary or other licensed fixed food service establishment.4 n/a $165 payable every two years for “peddlers” of fruits and vegetables;5 otherwise $275, payable every two years.6
Dallas No nutrition-based incentives. No regulation. Vendors may not stop longer than one hour in one place per day, or operate for a total of three hours in one location within a 24-hour period.7 No regulation. Yes.8 Yes. Vendors are required to operate from a commissary.9 Vendors must provide a monthly itinerary indicating where they intend to stop and operate.10 Vendors also must be able to provide proof of liability insurance.11 $100 for most vendors, but $465 for a mobile food preparation vehicle such as a “hot truck.”12
Houston No nutrition-based incentives. No regulation. No regulation. Vendors may designate a site for 24-hour use.13 Yes. Vendors must pass inspection before receiving a permit to operate. Thereafter vendors may be subject to inspection without notice.14 Yes. Vendors are required to operate from a commissary, and commissaries are required to keep servicing records for each mobile vendor. 15 Vendors in the downtown theater/entertainment district must obtain permission from any abutting fee owner for use of the site.16 At least one person who has obtained a safe food handling certification from the Houston Health Department must be on duty at all times. Certification requires one to take a food management class at a cost of $45.17 $200 for a permit,18 $310 for a “medallion” to be placed on the vending vehicle plus a $200 electronic monitoring systems fee and a $50 pre-opening inspections fee for “unrestricted mobile food units.”19
Los Angeles n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a In the City of Los Angeles, mobile vending is currently illegal. Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 42(b) prohibits sale of any products, including food, on sidewalks. “No person, except as otherwise permitted by this section, shall on any sidewalk or street offer for sale, solicit the sale of, announce by any means the availability of, or have in his or her possession, control or custody, whether upon his or her person or upon some other animate or inanimate object, any goods, wares or merchandise which the public may purchase at any time.”
To operate legally, a vendor must follow the complex process of establishing a “special sidewalk vending district” and at present, no such district exists in Los Angeles.20
New York “Green Carts” legislation amended New York law to set aside 1,000 permits to vendors selling whole fruit and vegetables in underserved communities.21 Green cart vendors also have preference on the city’s permit waiting list.22 No regulation. No regulation. Varies by location. There is an exhaustive 8 page list of restricted streets and time, click here. 23 Yes. Vendors are not allowed to operate until they have passed inspection.24 Yes. All vendors must operate from a commissary, depot, or other licensed facility.25 New York City’s Green Cart Initiative includes a public education campaign. For example, the City published an “Eat Street Smart” brochure to accompany each green cart, discussing the importance of eating fruits and vegetables and ways to do so.26 Permits are valid for two years.27 $200.00: Full-term (2 year) or Restricted Area permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is prepared or processed on-site. (Permit Code H06)
$75.00: Full-term (2 year) or Restricted Area permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is pre-packaged or does not involve preparation or processing on-site. (Permit Code H06)
$35.00: Seasonal (April 1 - October 31) permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is prepared or processed on-site. (Permit Code H03)
$15.00: Seasonal (April 1 - October 31) permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is pre-packaged or does not involve preparation or processing on-site. (Permit Code H03)
No fee for an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Services or the surviving spouse or domestic partner of such veteran, regardless of the type of food sold. (Permit Code H03 or H06)
$56.00: Fee for Mobile Food Vendor Food Protection Course (certified check, government check or money order only). Payment for the course must be submitted separately from the payment for the permit application or any violations of the Health Code or Administrative Code. .29
Philadelphia No nutrition-based incentives. No regulation. No regulation. 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.30 Yes. Vendors must submit to an official inspection.31 Vendors also must perform one self- inspection every three months.32 Yes.33 n/a $125 annually for vendors on foot; otherwise $300 annually for all other vehicles.34
Phoenix No nutrition-based incentives. Vendors located on private property may not operate within 300 feet of any school between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.,35 or within 600 feet of any school, or between 7 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. when located on public property.36 Vendors may not stop for more than one hour within an eight-hour period on any public street or alley.37 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. on private property;38 the later of 7 p.m. or sunset and before sunrise on public property.39 Yes. Vendors must be inspected at least every six months under the Arizona Food Code.40 Yes. Vendors must report daily to a commissary.41 Vendors may not operate on any street abutting a public park within 150 feet of a lawfully established park concession.42 $250 first-time license application fee and $30 per year for a vendor license thereafter.43 There is also a onetime fee for criminal investigation fingerprints.44
San Antonio Vendors selling whole fruits or vegetables, fresh fish, or shrimp do not have to operate from a commissary.45 Vendors may not sell within 300 feet of any school one hour before, one hour after, and during school hours.46 No regulation. 7 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset in residential areas. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in June, July, and August.47 Yes. Vendors are subject to routine unannounced inspections.48 Yes. Vendors must operate from a commissary, unless they sell food that exempts them from this provision.49 Vendors may not sell within 300 feet of any food establishment unless the vendor obtains written notarized permission from the owner.50 $48 to $350 annually depending on the type of vehicle used and the type of food sold.51
San Diego Vendors may sell farm produce from the farm property without paying a permit fee.52 Yes. Vendors may not operate within 500 feet of any public school between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on regular school days.53 Restrictions on duration of time vendors are allowed to stop varies by location.54 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.55 Yes.56 Yes.57 Generally, mobile vending units propelled by hand, handcart, pushcart, bicycle cart or by “muscular power either human or animal” cannot be used to sell perishable food.58 $164 to $427 annually depending on the type of vehicle used and the type of food sold.59
San Jose No nutrition-based incentives. Vendors may not operate within 500 feet of any school property.60 Except for “approved location” (stationary) vendors may not stop in one place for longer than 15 minutes in a two-hour period.61 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or sunset; vendors at construction or industrial sites are exempt from this regulation.62 Approved location vendors may operate from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. or sunset.63 Yes.64 Yes. Vendors must operate from a commissary or other approved facility.65 Stationary vendors operating from a designated “approved location” must have liability insurance.66 $418 for an “approved location” permit, but $149 for all other vendors, plus $45 for an ID card.67

1 Chicago, IL. Code §§ 4-244-020, 4-5-010(66) (2010).
2 Id. § 4-244-120 (2008).
3 Id. § 4-8-030(b).
4 IL. Admin. Code tit. 77, § 750.1550 (2010).
5 Chicago, IL. Code § 4-5-010(66).
6 Id. § 4-5-010(31).
7 Dallas, TX Code § 17-8.2(h)(2)(F)(iv) (2008).
8 Id. § 17-8.2(c)(1)(B).
9 Id. § 17-8.2(g)(1).
10 Id. § 17-8.2(h)(2)(B).
11 City of Dallas. Requirements for Mobile Food Vendors. Available at: www.dallascityhall.com/pdf/ehs/MobileFoodVendorRequirements.pdf.
12 Id.
13 Houston, TX Code, art. XI, div. 2, § 40-263(2) (2010).
14 Id. § 40-269(b); See also City of Houston. Mobile Food Service Units. § VIII. Available at: www.houstontx.gov/health/Food/MOBILEREQ.html.
15 Houston, TX Code art II, div. 1, § 20-22(e)(1), (4) (2011).
16 Id. art X, div. 2, § 40-263(3).
17 Mobile Food Service Units, supra note 14, at § XIV.
18 Houston, TX Code, art II, div. 1, § 20-38(b)(1)(2010).
19 Id. § 20-38(b)(2) & (5)(2009)
20 City of Los Angeles, Community Development Department, Sidewalk Vending Program. Available at: www.lacity.org/cdd/bus_side.html.
21 New York City, N.Y., Code § 17-307(b)(4) (2011).
22 Id. § 17-307(b)(4)(e).
23 Id. § 17-315 (l).
24 New York City, N.Y., Tit. 24, Health Code § 89.5(a) (2011).
25 Id. § 89.05(a)(2).
26 New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Eat Street Smart. 2008. Available at: www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/cdp/greencarts-brochure-online.pdf.
27 New York City, N.Y., Code § 17-307(e) (2011).
28 Id. §17-308(c)(1).
29 Id. §17-308(c)(2).
30 Philadelphia, PA Code § 9-205(8)(l) (2009).
31 Philadelphia, PA Health Code § 6-301(3)(a) (2009).
32 Id. § 6-301(8)(b).
33 Philadelphia Dept. of Pub. Health. Food Safety for Mobile Food Vendors: Preparing and Servicing Safe Food from Mobile Food Vending Units in Philadelphia. Available at: www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/fslgrs/Retail/FY01/Philadelphia/VendorBrochure.pdf.
34 Philadelphia, PA Code § 9-203(3)(b) (2011).
35 Phoenix, AZ Code art. XIV, § 10-166(B)(3) (2011).
36 Id. art. II, § 31-24(2).
37 Id. § 31-24(1).
38 Id. art. XIV, § 10-166(B)(2).
39 Id. § 31-24.1(c).
40 Ariz. Food Code § 8-401.10 (2000). Available at: www.azdhs.gov/phs/oeh/rs/pdf/fc2000.pdf.
41 Maricopa County Envtl. Health Code ch. VIII, § 3, regulation (5)(e) (2007).
42 Phoenix, AZ Code art. II, § 31-24(5).
43 Id. art. XIV, § 10-162(A) to (B).
44 Id. § 10-162(F).
45 San Antonio, TX Code art. IV, § 13-64(2) (2009). This exception also applies to prepackaged novelty ice cream, individual portion size non perishable foods, and snow cones or shaved ice.
46 Id. § 13-63(9).
47 Id. § 13-63(12).
48 Id. § 13-62(j).
49 Id. § 13-64(2).
50 Id. § 13-63(a)(10).
51 Id. § 13-62(d).
52 San Diego, Cal. Code § 42.0126.
53 Id. at §54.0122(g).
54 County of San Diego, Dept. of Envtl. Health. Construction and Operational Guide for Mobile Food Facilities and Mobile Support Units. Available at: www.sdcounty.ca.gov/deh/food/pdf/publications_plancheckmff.pdf.
55 San Diego, Cal. Code § 33.1410.
56 Id. at § 42.0103.
57 Id. at § § 42.0130 & 42.0161(m).
58 Id. at § §42.0101.2.
59 San Diego County Code §8 65.104 & 65.106(a)(7)-(9).
60 San Jose, Cal. Code § 6.54.240 (2).
61 Id. at § 6.54.240(1).
62 Id. at § 6.54.205.
63 Id. at § 6.54.260(R)
64 Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 113715 & 113725 (West 2011).
65 Id. § 114295 (West 2009).
66 San Jose, Cal Code § 6.54.270.
67 San Jose, Cal Resolution No. 74981 (2009).

Source of Grid: http://www.nplanonline.org/

Specific Rules in Los Angeles County

Because Los Angeles bans all food trucks and sidewalk vendors, I am including county and state codes that food trucks within the Los Angeles area follow. Even though they are illegal, there are still 50+ food trucks in the Los Angeles area that go 'rogue'

County and State Rules Include:

• You must obey the posted parking restrictions, including, but not limited to, restrictions on stopping, loading, and parking from either posted signs or painted curbs. Beyond this there are no restrictions on exactly where food trucks can be located.
• You must dispense food from the sidewalk side of the street. No truck may dispense food street side
• You must have a CONSPICUOUS litter receptacle which is clearly marked with a sign requesting its use by patrons In-truck hatch receptacles are NOT sufficient.
• Trash shall be removed from all areas VISIBLE around the truck. The truck shall take all bags with them when vacating an area. Trash is to include all materials originally dispensed from the truck as well as any other items left by patrons, such as cigarette butts.
• The “hatch” of a truck shall be at least 7 feet above the sidewalk in order to avoid patron collisions.
• Trucks must be parked at a Commissary every night.
• Trucks must have a ‘bathroom letter’ from an accessible bathroom with hot water (103-108 degrees), single serving soap, paper towels, kept in clean working order, if vending for over an hour (Cal Code: 114315). In order to operate anywhere for over an hour, you must have permission to use a bathroom within 200ft travel distance of where you’ll be doing business.
• Trucks must have current and valid registration clearly marked on their plates while vending on the street.
• Trucks should have all their permits readily accessible while doing business.
• You must have a business license for the municipality you are doing business in (even if it’s a private catering event). (In Los Angeles this license is free)
• You must have a health permit for the municipality you are doing business in.
Santa Monica Specific Codes:
• SMMC: 6.36.010
• SM: You must be 35 feet from the closest truck
• SM: On a sidewalk of less than 8 feet you must keep 4 feet of the sidewalk clear
• SM: You must be more than 10 feet from the entrance to the front door of a business or 4 feet from a building
• SM: You must be more than 10 feet from any street corner
• Every employee must have a seat with a working seatbelt while moving [Cal Code 27315]
• Trucks shall be cleaned and serviced at least once per day [Cal Code: 114297]
• Employee entrance doors to food preparation areas shall be self-closing and kept closed when not in use [Cal Code: 114303]
• The exterior of a mobile food facility and the surrounding area, as relating to the operation of food service, shall be maintained in a sanitary condition. [Cal code 114317]
• Preparation kitchens must be approved by the Health Department.
• A properly charged and maintained minimum 10 BC-rated fire extinguisher to combat grease fires shall be properly mounted and readily accessible on the interior of any mobile food facility that is equiped with heating elements or cooking equipment [114323(e)]

New York City Rules in More Detail

New York City is restrictive in other ways. Not only do they ban food trucks from metered spots, but they have an exhaustive list of streets and times that food trucks can operate and where. http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/permit/mfv-restricted-streets.pdf
There is a food truck inspection conducted by the city, not the county health dept, http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/permit/mfv_cart_truck_inspection.pdf
And finally the fees for setting up shop are as follows:
  $200.00: Full-term (2 year) or Restricted Area permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is prepared or processed on-site. (Permit Code H06)
  $75.00: Full-term (2 year) or Restricted Area permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is pre-packaged or does not involve preparation or processing on-site. (Permit Code H06)
  $35.00: Seasonal (April 1 - October 31) permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is prepared or processed on-site. (Permit Code H03)
  $15.00: Seasonal (April 1 - October 31) permit fee (check or money order) for units in which food is pre-packaged or does not involve preparation or processing on-site. (Permit Code H03)
  No fee for an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Services or the surviving spouse or domestic partner of such veteran, regardless of the type of food sold. (Permit Code H03 or H06)
  $56.00: Fee for Mobile Food Vendor Food Protection Course (certified check, government check or money order only). Payment for the course must be submitted separately from the payment for the permit application or any violations of the Health Code or Administrative Code.
So while NYC is restrictive in terms of locations and times, it’s quite easy in terms of permit fees to get a food truck going in NYC.

Seattle's Neutral Approach

In July of 2011, Seattle dramatically relaxed mobile food vendor rules to be more like Portland's approach to the issue. Prior to this decision, only popcorn, coffee and hot dog vendors were allowed to use public streets.

In Summary:

Curbside trucks pay $2.25 per hour for a four-hour time slot per day to park in the street. Otherwise they can park in private parking lots. They have to stay away from residential neighborhoods, high schools and keep at least 50 feet from restaurants. Food trucks must be parked within 200 feet of a restroom; employees must have access to a  restroom and if a vendor offers seating for customers, there must also be restroom access for patrons.



Post your comments
Posted by: DJ - 12/13/2011 10:46:13 PM
Wow man, thanks for doing all that research. This is super informative. I completely agree on your proposed regulations as well. Reno is seeing a good thing happen with all of the fantastic food trucks like Gourmelt, Steffan's and Kenji's. Why strangle such a great thing in its infancy?

Posted by: Brooks - 12/13/2011 11:18:23 PM
I moved to Portland for a couple months where food carts are a culture. I'm don't know what their regulations are, but most of the "carts" I've seen are more permanent. Technically they have wheels, but some haven't moved for years. I'd like to see Reno work with the downtown parking lot to host a collection of food carts on weekend nights. Or a casino parking lot could play host on Saturday nights. You might end up with a spin off blog: http://www.foodcartsportland.com/

Posted by: Kristen - 12/14/2011 7:29:34 AM
I think this is great! I've been racking my brains since the issue came up on what could be suggested that would be helpful before I contact the people trying to put these regulations in place, and this seems pretty darn fair. Good research. Make sure this gets to City Of Reno!

Posted by: MPVDCS - 12/14/2011 10:42:41 AM
Once again, the City of Reno employs the old Capitalism for the Rich and Socialism for the Poor Manifesto. Wealthy banks can now gamble with derivatives, stocks, get the best Fed interest rates, but lowly local banks must strictly adhere to countless regulations and get hand-me-down interest rates from regional banks. Wealthy casinos and restaurants get to exist anywhere, next door to competitors, and they can open 24 hours. Do you know there's often a Burger King next to a McDonalds or Jack in the Box. Is there a friggin LAW AGAINST THAT??? But oh no, Socialism for the poor, the food truck must be in a different zip code than a restaurant with similar food. No free market for you, you're poor. These food trucks are a great way for the poor to engage in all-American entrepreneurism and contribute, create jobs, fill demand, you know, all that great American stuff, but wait, they're competing with existing, richer Americans, so let's just close them down at 10 PM, make them move every 2 hours, make them set up 500 ft away. If this is the strategy, how about we allow Silver Legacy to force the Golden Flower nearby to close at 10 PM and move away, because the Silver Legacy has a Chinese and Asian noodle menu. Isn't that insane??? So why are we discriminating against food trucks? Capitalism for the rich and Socialism for the poor, that's why. Who's the victim here? Oh that food truck being opened past 10 PM, my neighborhood is going to hell. You know what, with that food truck open, they scare away criminals. Oh that food truck being so close to a taco restaurant. Uh, the taco restaurant is CLOSED at night, and if I wanted to sit down in a restaurant, I would. If I want to quickly pick up tacos and leave, I go to a food truck. Why waste natural resources forcing everyone to open a building to serve food????? Portland does it right. Reno should also raze the old CitiCenter and open a food truck/cart park there like they do in PDX. How about Capitalism for the poor and Socialism for the rich. Let's tell Silver Legacy to close its restaurants and 10 PM and since they serve similar Asian food as Golden Flower, they have to move 300 feet to the east.

Posted by: Mike - 12/14/2011 12:13:32 PM
I lived in Austin, TX for a few years and they seem to have worked out a hybrid system of food trailers in semi-permanent locations (some right next to schools and churches. Oh, the horror) and more mobile food trucks, which tend to be the only option for late night eats, especially downtown. I would be interested to see how both Austin and Portland, who have developed a thriving food truck culture, compare with the more densely populated cities on your list. Parenthetically, many of the food trucks in Austin have actually opened brick and mortar restaurants once they've achieved a certain level of success ala Franklin BBQ and Barley Swine. It seems to me in an economy like this that the City of Reno would encourage any entrepreneurial activity that would eventually lead to the vibrancy of the community and the City's coffers.

Posted by: Mark - 12/14/2011 12:45:44 PM
I agree with a lot of it. Primarily that city council takes a look at all this and educates themselves as to what other cities like Portland do, and how they regulate it. Portland does seem to have it right. I also like the idea of having semipermanent carts on vacant unused city land, like citicenter, and maybe charging a small use fee once it becomes very popular and there is more of a demand for the site.

Posted by: Michael - 12/15/2011 10:33:42 AM
In Portland, they allow food carts downtown and it has caused a huge explosion of some excellent food all hours of the day. Check out: http://www.foodcartsportland.com/ Portland embraced the food carts and it helped to inject life into their downtown and I think our downtown could learn from Portland.

Posted by: Wiley_n_Reno - 12/15/2011 8:34:10 PM
from my Boston clubbing days I remember there was nothing better than a Italian grilled sausage covered with peppers w/ onions off a cart after leaving a bar at 1:30AM. Now leave it to the geniuses of Reno to try to kill the late street life of a supposedly tourist friendly town. Haven't they figured out that their "let's keep them in the casinos anyway possible" business model DIED in the mid-1990's?

Posted by: Mike c. - 12/17/2011 1:44:58 PM
I'm all for allowing food trucks to add a dynamic flavor to downtown. It gets people socializing, along with more foot traffic (which Downtown desperately needs). Get rid of overregulation and absurd business rules. Let this business model thrive and develop into a vibrant street-market scene. Pass this along to the city government.

Posted by: Anthony - 12/18/2011 12:26:31 PM
You never mentioned anything about Portland Oregon and Food carts...obviously it works in portland where there are over 500 carts.Portland has been the Model for Seattle and SF.I think the solution in Reno should be a cart pod in Mid-town where it would make sense.The property could be a lot where the owner leases to the carts and goes through the city planning process of a special use permit. I know SUP and the other restaurants might not like it but they arent open at 10 pm anyways and the pod would be allowed to operate late so people dont have to go to Mcd's or the casinos.

Posted by: Laura Burrell - 12/18/2011 1:01:36 PM
As a Mobile Food Consultant, people and businesses are constantly asking is the Mobile Food Industry a Fad. I advise that city councils in towns and counties throughout the US are constantly voting on the the expansion of Food Trucks in their municipalities. In addition, the Food Industry is a 600 billion dollar industry a year and these numbers more than likely do not account for the Mobile Food Industry. This is evident this is an untapped market with unlimited growth and staying potential. It is fun, exciting, and offers great business opportunities in regard to new business and employment. My biggest concern is Restaurants being able to manipulate the city council into believing they are losing business. Look at the burger industry - there are blocks where ten restaurants sell burgers - MAKE A BETTER BURGER - Citizens should have the right to eat where we want! Should a town's council be able to force us to eat from certain establishments and force individuals from opening businesses? Especially in today's economy, should we limit the expansion of new business? We should all say no! We are opening Restaurants NOT Gambling Halls, or Liquor Stores!! i am a Mobile Food Consultant thats gets individuals and restaurants mobile with Food Trucks or Carts without breaking their banks within 90 days. This assistance also includes working with their health department in getting the truck approved. Laura Burrell - Mobile Food Consultant 267-738-1656 - customfoodcartsandtrucks@gmail.com Call for our portfolio of trucks.

Posted by: oldjohnny - 12/19/2011 9:59:42 AM
I like the idea of regular health inspections of food trucks, just as with established restaurants. I do have to disagree with Laura's post though. Yes, free market competition is a good thing, however, the person that spends the money to open a restaurant year round, employ people, pay the many expenses that come with owning a restaurant should have some say as to the operation of transient restaurants opening across the street. Food trucks are mobile, with no roots to the surrounding community, no employees other than the owner, and do not add beauty, style or stability to the neighborhood they are parked in. If Laura's will were imposed, there would be 25 food trucks surrounding a group of closed eateries that couldn't keep up with the low overhead of the food truck operators and were forced out of business.

Posted by: Mike - 12/19/2011 4:33:15 PM
So, now there's a cost threshold for competition? You don't get the opportunity to compete unless you've met some sort of square-footage and employee minimum? By that argument, online retailers shouldn't be allowed to operate either. Simply leasing space in a building doesn't afford you the right to dictate how your competition operates. As long as they're subject to health regulations, an unorthodox distribution method should not preclude a food truck from entering the market. As for no roots in the community, it's not like food trucks are dropped into a city by some foreign entity and taken away from whence they came each night. These are legitimate businesses, run by local operators with a stake in the community they serve just as much as any restaurant. It is true, some restaurants may go out of business, but if their business is that tenuous, wouldn't that have happened if a competing brick and mortar restaurant had opened nearby? With regard to style and beauty, this argument is subjective. I happen to think mobile food trucks and trailers bring a style and beauty all their own. In Portland and Austin, they indicate a thriving food culture that is allowed to innovate by virtue of the low overhead. As a food lover, I think that's a pretty beautiful concept.

Posted by: Gorilla Man - 12/19/2011 8:38:22 PM
Leave the mobile food trucks and carts alone!!!They sell great FOOD..and This is a 24hr town so they could do whatever they wish...if their not allowed to sell FOOD after a certain time...well then I will suggest going after the businesses thaT SELL ALCOHOL,,AND PUT THE ALCOHOL CURFEW AT 1AM instead PPL AND LAWMAKERS NEED TO focus on the crime that is occuring around the city AND BUILDING TOWARDS A BRIGHT FUTURE...NOT DESTROYING...THOSE PPL JUST WANT TO MAKE AN HONEST LIVING WHEN THE ECONOMY IS SOUR...AND GLAD THEIR NOT SELLING DRUGS OR ALCOHOL TO THE PUBLIC....hERE IN RENO WE HAV THE PRIVILEGE TO COME OUT OF CONCERTS AND EVENTS AND GREAT FOOD COULD BE WAITING FOR US AT THESE FOOD TRUCKS LATE AT NIGHT..REMEMBER WE ARE A 24HR TOWN<
Posted by: oldjohnny - 12/22/2011 10:10:25 AM
Mike, previous post just reflects a business owner's perspective. Food trucks have great food, and I am not saying they shouldn't exist. Imagine you just shelled out $200,000 for a taco restaurant franchise, selling great $5.00 tacos. You did your research, you know the area needs, and can support a good taco restaurant. You have a nice restaurant in a small mall, with tables and wait staff, and have rent and wages to pay. A month after you open, a taco truck pulls up across the street, also selling great tacos, but they can sell them for $3.00 because they have no rent, franchise fees or wages to pay. How would you feel? I like the idea of an area that the trucks can park and compete with each other, open whenever they want to be open.

Posted by: El Pollo Rey - 3/29/2012 2:51:47 AM
It is frustrating as this will surely affect the influx of prospective operators. This new wave of gourmet trucks is really a hit.

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