Skip to comments.Dallas' Food Trucks Are Banding Together to Take on the City's Overregulation
Posted on 03/29/2014 8:02:11 PM PDT by nickcarraway
If you think you had it hard during these past few cold months, you should talk to a local food truck owner. Winter is tough on sales for any outdoor food service operator, and this past season was particularly nasty. Spring will bring relief but even that will be short-lived as the following summer months drive customers back into air-conditioned bricks and mortar restaurants. "You get into this wash, rinse and repeat," says Jeremy Scott, who owns and operates Tutta, a food truck serving freshly baked pizzas loaded with smoked meats. Scott recently looked at his sales through two of these laundry cycles and he's not too excited. "I was expecting a lot more growth," Scott says, and while he knows he can't do anything about the weather, he's hoping some changes to the rules that govern how food trucks operate in Dallas can provide some relief.
See also: How Dallas Killed Farmers Markets
There are easier ways to grow a mobile vending business than shaping your local city code. Some operators opt to buy a second truck, allowing them to cover more ground. Others are just using the truck to raise money for a bricks and mortar location. But those measures don't address the root problem: that Dallas' policies are having a negative effect on food businesses with wheels. Scott is one of a growing number of members of the new DFW Food Truck Association, a grassroots organization working to ease these regulations.
"Dallas is very restrictive," says Melinda Haring, an activism manager at the Institute for Justice. Her organization has helped food truck operators in other cities, including Washington D.C., build public support for changes in legislation to help foster robust outdoor vending scenes. She's visited Dallas and provides knowledge and support to local food truck operators here.
"Food trucks in Dallas are banned from public property, except in the Central Business District," Haring says, noting the zone requires special permits in addition to the standard ones. Trucks can park on private property, but only with the owner's permission and only if that owner has restrooms available to the public. Even when operating on private land, food truck operators are required to keep their permits up to date and file itineraries with the city. The paper work can be time consuming and if it's mucked up, you won't be allowed to operate that day.
The regulations in L.A. focus more strictly on health and safety requirements, which is part of the reason you see so many food trucks parked there. Same with Baton Rouge, a much smaller city that has a sizable food truck scene. "They are very laissez faire," Haring says. Trucks are required to pass a state health inspection and pay $200 for an annual permit and that's it. They can park their trucks about anywhere.
That's why the DFW Food Truck Association recently sent a letter to members of city council, formally introducing the organization. The letter makes no demands, but does spell out the challenges faced by food operators in Dallas, and refutes the common conception that food trucks negatively impact the business of traditional bricks and mortar restaurants.
When asked what he has planned next, Jeremy Scott says they're simply working to raise awareness. They've started a petition to measure support for changes in food truck regulations and they're meet regularly to discuss issues.
Scott says he wants to work with Dallas to help food truck entrepreneurs work profitably, and keep Dallasites are well fed. He also made it clear he doesn't intend on giving up until Dallas' food trucks have more freedom.
So move to LA or Baton Rouge. Not that hard to do since you do have wheels.
These are issues where the tea party can win at the local level, and build alliances that people wouldn’t expect, and the GOPe would never bother.
Our local community college has a wings trailer and a pizza trailer parked in two different locations during most of the mid day.
Another couple of roving Bar-B-Que trailers rove around the city and pop up in various Quick Stop parking lots.
I’ve eaten at all of them more than once and all serve pretty good chow.
Don’t try to convince the rulers that there rules are onerous just move somewhere that doesn’t suck that bad yet.
Well he doesn’t seem to mind that he doesn’t have to pay state taxes ..he complains about paperwork that he has to do. I mean hundreds of junky food vendors are all over and the media found a disgruntled one and suddenly it is a huge story. Typical.
The article mentions the “Institute For Justice” this is a great organization that does a lot to defend personal freedom and property rights.
Businesses do pay state taxes
Tried to do the food trucks a couple of times. They were overpriced for what you get.
Dallas needs a small nuke.
Fastest thing in Dallas county is Amon Carter on a bicycle, pedaling west, trying to get away.
Not that I don't love my neighbor, but a small nuke would help.
It's a northeastern liberal.
I don't agree. Thinking like that got us to where we are. How about fight back? In might not apply to the pols in Dallas but people - in general we are fighting communists. Vote. Organize. If that doesn't work then investigate and smear the bastards. They are cowards - intimidate them. Frighten them. Get loud be angry get violent. In other words use their own bloody tactics against them. A sizeable portion of the population votes for demonrats only because (like obutthole) they are so arrogantly sure of themselves. In contrast to the RINO's who are always sniveling and apologizing. Be bold - be like Reagan. Do whatever it takes.
A.C. had the right idea packing his own lunch.
That was my point. I was being sarcastic. He said they should just move.
There are so many opportunities at the local level to promote less regulation or less restrictive legislation (more flexibility).
But my experience with local tea party types is they want more regulation and more restrictive regulation, especially in the area of zoning.
Elections have consequences.
Dallas is also anti First Amendment as hell. Hope their restrictions on protesters get creamed by the ACLU.
Only when Democrats win.
LOL! Reminds me of when I was stationed on the USCGC Gallatin, home port in Governor's Island (NYC) NY. When we were in port, the local "mobile vending" truck would come around to the docks about 7:30PM or so. The announcement over the loud speaker would blurt "the roach coach is on the approach!" LOL
Good Luck food truck alliance! Go get the b@$t@rds!
We have a sort of business income tax in Texas The franchise tax or something