The Burden of Regs on Food Truck Start Ups

Joined May 5, 2010 a person can build and open a restaurant right next door to competition, but a food truck owner has to stay a certain amount of feet away from said competition in certain cities.
I would say that a lot of the regulations make it difficult if not impossible to open a business.
Location is key too huh?
Joined Feb 8, 2009
How would anyone like to spend Two Million on a B&M and have two food trucks selling food outside their restaurant. These rules and regulations are there because of the cry's of the business owners who pay taxes. I live a few hundred miles from Portland, Oregon. This city has always welcomed food trucks and food pods in and around the city. If you see a lot of regulations it's a sign the city isn't real welcoming and is taking the side of the tax paying business community. I have heard Chicago is a hard place to set up a food truck.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Oh my bleeding heart....

In Vancouver the "ratio" of commercial property taxes to residential property taxes is 1: 4.33. That is to say for every 100$ the homeowner pays, the business owner pays 433$.

The restaurant owner is no exception and pays a lot of tax. When the food trucks started parking in front of the restaurants and stealing customers, the business owners lodged complaints with C (sh)itty Hall. As a result, each food truck must have a bricks and mortar mother kitchen, and must pay for a parking slot which is auctioned off on a yearly basis.
Joined Nov 2, 2016
Last time I checked, Food Trucks paid taxes as well. To take the argument that you don't want food trucks because you spent Two Million on a B&M is irrational. Does that "two million" keep someone from opening a competing restaurant next door?

My view is it is completely different cuisines. I don't go to a food truck in place of a brick & mortar. I go to each because they specifically cater to the food needs at the time.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
The average cost of starting a food truck includes $28,276 in permits, fees, and compliance, and 45 government-mandated procedures that take an average of 37 days to complete
...and brick and mortar operations that are starting up don't have to deal with similar??? Took me a lot longer than 37 days and a myriad of hoops that had me about to go postal. I had to prove to the city that my quiet dinner restaurant with a classical guitar player wouldn't disturb the residential house on the street behind the restaurant with our loud raucous behavior (we stopped seating at the seemingly ungodly hour of 9PM). The residential house had either a large extended family or multiple families living in it that every night had parties and music going on outside until midnight or later. That was just one of the hoops, the list goes on and got even more absurd. The ABC board didn't like that I was close to a church. I was close to a school. I could go and on.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
12 years ago we bought a strata unit in a brand new building and started the lengthy process of converting said unit to a chocolate and pastry shop.

C(sh)itty of Vancouver had insisted that all 8 ground floor units of the building were to be commercial units, yet none of the units complied or met basic code for commercial units, basically the c(sh)itty allowed the developers to provide a cement box with 1 door, one window, one breaker panel, and.....nothing else. Not even a hole in the floor slab for a crapper, not even a naked 40 watt lightbulb hanging from a wire--'cause there was no wire, anywhere. This, apparently met all occupancy codes for the building.

In order to get a business license, all codes had to be met.

That meant installing wiring, lighting, washrooms, grease trap, commercial plumbing, flooring, security systems and guards. The price for this in 2007 was $74,000 cdn. That was just infrastructure, I did all of the trim work, millworker, custom cabinets and displays, buil-ins, countertops, and installed most of the equipment myself. I was lucky, if we wanted a full kitchen with ventilation (aka a vent hood) it would have cost another $40,000. This was for a 900 sq. ft unit, but even if it was double the size, the cost would have only been 10% more.
But wait! C(sh)itty hall had one more "eff you" up its sleeve, since we invested $74,000 in leasehold improvements, we increased the value of the property, and therefore increased our property tax significantly before we even got our occupancy permit or our business license.

The above scenario vs. a $30,000 truck that you can move anywhere and park is a huge difference...
Joined Oct 1, 2006
Hi flipflopgirl!

I read the article and the information is based on a report issued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the reporter, Jibran Khan, is from Mumbai, India so I thought the article presented a pro-food truck point of view and it pointed out how completely different the regulations are from city to city but. So dectra is correct in stating that the article is skewed. After all, the mission of a Chamber of Commerce is to promote people starting their own business.

This part of the article made it easy for me to understand what the point is.
"...the Chamber of Commerce hopes to help food-truck owners advocate for themselves, enabling them to come to their local governments not simply with complaints but with examples of how other jurisdictions have successfully lessened the load. It is in the interests of all cities to foster businesses, and to develop thriving food scenes that draw in visitors."

OK, I wouldn't mind seeing some uniformity of regulations that both B&M and food trucks can live with. The food truck industry has morphed and blossomed from "Gut trucks" at construction sites and industrial areas to some pretty darn good food and regulations are lagging behind this trend. That's what I took away.

What info did you think was "misleading" enough to ask the question about factuality? There are three appendixes in the 60 page report this article is based on: Technical appendix, about the authors and about the organization (Chamber of Commerce). NDP analytics had a significant presence in the list of researchers if that helps anyone... NDP has done work for the White house and for Politico and many others. They did only use data from twenty cities and ranked them for ease of regulations.

I think in Austin, Texas they have dedicated a vacant lot to essentially a food truck park. Maybe that model could work in other cities.
Joined Jun 27, 2012
sgmchef sgmchef ... my question was in the title... regulations.
Do not want this thread to be construed as a political rant so I leave it at that.
The closest I have gotten to the food truck world is helping friends who make the festival/county fair/antique show circuit (most times the legalities are taken care of by the show for a fee) so I s'pose I was taken aback re the number of hoops you have to jump thru to get a truck on the street (other than the usual HD commissary requirement).
I applaud your patience re reading the 60! page research paper this article was based on.


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