All businesses have some sets of rules to follow when it comes to health and safety. Food trucks are a fairly new development for many states, countries, and cities, and often face challenges from other businesses and governments. Many of these restrictions are local and can be quite specific. The purpose of this article is to describe some present issue food trucks could encounter with the law, and how places are responding to better accept and embrace food trucks to provide mobile meals. Read up and you’ll learn how the industry is changing for the better.
Many cities made laws about zoning, hours, and food restrictions before food trucks were commonplace. These same zoning laws restrict brick and mortar restaurants from serving food in specific parts of some cities as well, including on public or private property. Brick and mortar restaurants also often are not thrilled with the presence of food trucks that can bring outside competition into a city, as a food truck can be driven to wherever it fits.
Other rules are smaller, but more annoying. Different cities can have different laws at different times, including how long you can park and where you can park. These random different laws can lead to a disruption in business as the driver figures out where to go next.
So now that we know about a few issues regarding food truck legalities, how are they changing?
Hours and placement have long been restrictions for food trucks, but in some cities, that problem is changing. Winona, Minnesota previously had more specific requirements about when and where a food truck could operate which were previously limited – opening up food trucks to operate in more parts of the city in which they wish to operate. The city also considered removing the requirement that a food truck must have an actual restaurant within the city to operate a food truck there. The city initially created the ordinance to keep restaurants from having a disadvantage.
The COVID19 Pandemic also made for serious changes to Asheville, North Carolina’s perspective on food trucks. They were previously limited to certain portions of the city. When grocery stores were understocked and overburdened during the height of the pandemic, food trucks were allowed to move freely so long as they filed an electric report to the city including there upcoming whereabouts. This changed helped the food trucks feed more people who otherwise might have limited access to groceries and travel, especially for those with a tough time leaving the house in the pandemic. Additionally, food trucks are entirely outside while some restaurants closed due to indoor conditions with viruses. Food trucks were able to serve food deserts, places that don’t hae a very local grocery store, with ease and without government lag or intervention.
Food truck franchises are also getting more hours unrestricted in some parts. One city raised the number of consecutive hours a food truck can operate from four to six, citing health and safety concerns regarding the heating and cooling of cooking oil, as well as people generally being out more.
The city also suggested that restaurants and food trucks should not be subject to the same laws as they operate completely differently.
Now that we have provided a few examples of how some local laws have changed regarding food trucks, you can begin to understand why a food truck franchise is becoming easier to own and operate without worrying too much about local authorities.
Why does this matter?
Food trucks do operate differently from restaurants. Initially, cities imposed many restrictions on when, where, and how a food truck could operate. Many reasons were cited, including the safety of people gathering around a large vehicle, and whether or not the food truck concept was unfair to local businesses who could not move.
The number of food trucks is growing substantially as more food truck franchises pop up and people are more consistently on the go. As you can see from the above examples, changes to the law have accompanied their popularity and growth, as city councils see potential tax revenue and happy residents who are developing wants for go to food trucks and restaurants.
Keep in mind that many of your food truck laws will be local. The examples above also happen in particular cities and issues may or may not be enforced. Law changes have generally occurred in ways that are specific to food trucks, including operating hours and places, as these are issues that are quite unique.
These changing laws have helped make food trucks into a less stressful business than they used to be, and don’t have the same upstart costs or requirements as a brick and mortar restaurants. Your best bet is to read and understand your local laws for businesses and restaurants so you can understand what your city wants. You can then do your best to be flexible with local laws and hopefully spend less time planning around potential issues and more time cooking and serving people.
Thankfully, the laws regarding food trucks have changed quickly in some places to adapt for new businesses starting. These changes make starting a food truck franchise even more attractive, as the startup costs can be lower than an actual restaurant, and can bring both money in your pocket and plenty of variety in your life. You can serve food in many places and don’t need the same surroundings every day. Instead, with changes rolling out, you can spend your time finding places that offer willing customers and planning a menu and marketing ideas that push your business forward.