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Food Trucks

Food trucks get ready to scout for parking spots

Posted by Staff / March 19, 2014

Food Trucks TorontoFood truck owners are in a better mood this morning thanks to new food truck rules drafted yesterday by the Licensing and Standards Committee at City Hall. A number of changes were made to the controversial city staff report that will make it easier for food trucks to serve up fish tacos, pulled pork sandwiches and gourmet cupcakes next to the sidewalk on bustling city streets.

Key revisions made to the staff report include:

  • Removal of the controversial BIA provision meaning local councillors and BIAs can no longer block food trucks from operating within their neighbourhood boundaries.
  • Removal of the two truck limit for the number of food trucks allowed to park on a single block.
  • An extension from 3 to 5 hours for the length of time a food truck can operate in a parking spot.

While food truck owners were overall very happy with the changes, there are still some components of the report that are less than ideal.

There was no movement on the recommended $5,000 licensing fee, and food trucks would still be required to park at least 50 metres away from a restaurant. But as Tom Antonarakis, owner of Buster's Sea Cove, told us at least the fee is manageable if food trucks are allowed to park street-side all across the city.

The report goes before City Council on April 1st and, if approved, will take effect this Spring.

Discussion

14 Comments

Charles / March 19, 2014 at 05:57 pm
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The changes overall seem for the better but the 50 metre rule is ridiculous. Not only is it incredibly hard to find a spot in the downtown area that is 50 metres away from all restaurants, food trucks are arguably not competing with many of those restaurants nearby. Someone who wants to buy a pulled pork sandwich off the street for lunch would not sit down at a high-class restaurant if the food truck wasn't around. Unless there are exceptions to this rule, it is too simplistic and inefficient.
george / March 19, 2014 at 06:18 pm
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Do people only eat at "high class restaurants". When even a small restaurant has to pay $10,000 in rent, how is it fair with a truck park outside (that has $5000 licence fee?).
Charles replying to a comment from george / March 19, 2014 at 06:43 pm
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You're right, george. What I mean is that the 50 metre rule should apply if restaurants in a 50-metre radius are those that would see less customers as a result of a food truck parked nearby. But I don't think the rule should apply in every case. For example, a food truck in the Entertainment District will definitely be within 50-metres of restaurants. However, it's a lot less likely that restaurants will lose customers because of a food truck since those restaurants tend to be "high class restaurants." I know there are also more affordable restaurants in that area but I am just using this hypothetical to illustrate a point. Basically, there are multiple markets for restaurants and this rule should take that reality into account.
Merle's Pickled Cabbage Head Truck / March 19, 2014 at 06:58 pm
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I'm parking in front of Rob Ford's house! He eats cabbage & people buy them to throw at Rob!
papa / March 19, 2014 at 06:59 pm
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if a food truck puts you out of business, you had no business being a business. Sure it'll clear out a few unfortunate souls in the short term - not saying that doesn't suck - but the market will correct itself. 5 years down the road the starting point will be a truck, not a huge investment in brick and mortar to sell sharma's or pulled pork sandwiches on the go.
Merle's Pickled Cabbage Head Truck / March 19, 2014 at 06:59 pm
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Never mind...thought it was "Ford Trucks" not "Food Trucks".
Angry Driver / March 19, 2014 at 07:39 pm
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Councillors ate free fast food from Food Trucks while meeting to discuss changes to the bylaws. Seriously!?! How many free lunches have these politicians had. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Talk about conflict of interest. I wonder if Porter is handing out airline tickets to Councillors too? I used to live in a trailer park, when I moved to Toronto I thought those days were behind me, now I have to compete for Parking with a fleet of Gravy slogging huckster trailers from Ajax? WTF. Rob Ford is the Mayor...
MikeD / March 19, 2014 at 07:57 pm
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Obviously Angry Driver does not understand what a food truck is.
Andre / March 19, 2014 at 10:41 pm
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Why is it the city's business to protect restaurants from competition? Do people even think before they comment? Consumer choice should be paramount, and if a restaurant can't compete, that's just the market sending a signal!
Dale / March 19, 2014 at 11:37 pm
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Agree with Andre. Competition helps all. Why do we have so much time and restaurants receiving "fails" every week from the city rating system.Restaurants in the fast convenient food category will have to up thier game
Lots of talk / March 20, 2014 at 06:54 am
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Where are these trucks anyway, and who cares
Dan / March 20, 2014 at 08:26 am
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Over priced crap like the frozen garbage they sell at Busters in the st lawrence martket to tourists. Who wants to pay 11 bucks for some fish tacos or 14 bucks for a poutine that comes out of a truck. Smarten up people, support local restaurants.
NAPSTER / March 20, 2014 at 10:43 am
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These restaurant owners whining about food trucks remind me of Metallica vs Napster. I understand their first instinct is to protect their interests but that's rather short sighted. Ultimately the people want what the people want, there's no stopping that. Rather than trying to resist change, embrace it, ride the wave and if your bricks and mortar business needs to evolve with the times so be it. You might just find that the excitement surrounding food trucks is good for everyone in the business of serving food in Toronto. I for one would be hesitant to support any local restaurant that is known to be holding back the development of a vibrant and diverse food scene in Toronto.
Paul Krol / July 10, 2014 at 03:38 pm
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The 50metre rule does sound ridiculous, on the other hand I sort of get what some restaurant owners have worries about. Theoretically a certain type of food truck in front of a certain type of restaurant, can definitely have an awful impact on the restaurant. But then again...so what? What's stopping some other restaurant to open next door and take away its customers as well? I know i'm going in circles here..but ultimately its best to allow competition and that is the best outcome for most.

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