Running this site we get a lot of questions from the public about street food in New Orleans. The first question is always:
Why doesn’t New Orleans have more food trucks?
The second question is usually,
How can I open a food truck in New Orleans?
Using a bit of sleuthing and research (well, actually we went down to City Hall to find the right people and offices), the answers are pretty simple, but not what any food truck lover wants to hear. While many of our neighboring cities such as Houston, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and even Jackson, Mississippi have thriving and growing food truck scenes, New Orleans has lagged behind.
The reasonNew Orleans has so few food trucks compared to many other cities is simply because the city barely allows them.
Specifically, when we spoke with the fine folks at the business permitting office of New Orleans government they explained that according to City Ordinances, New Orleans is limited to approving no more than 100 “Mobile Food Vendor” permits at anytime. Not per year – 100 mobile permits are allowed, period. This could be everything from snoball stands, to taco trucks, to carts and wagons that only operate for fairs or festivals. It does not include the famous Lucky Dog carts however, since they seem to have some magic permit all their own within the city.
The city also limits areas that mobile vendors can operate. Off limit areas include but are not limited to, The whole CBD and Warehouse district and the French Quarter. Mobile Vendors (in theory, but not always enforcement), must move every 30 minutes and are only allowed to park on a specific block one time per 24-hour period. There’s lots of other rules as well including forbidding mobile vendors to sell seafood of any kind (no, we are not kidding),. and limiting mobile vendors to parking 600 feet away from existing, “lawfully operated restaurant, cafeteria, public or private school, or any concession operated by a booster club sanctioned by the department of recreation. ” A link to the City’s Ordinances can be found here. The City’s mobile vendor guidelines is available here. Additional city information can be found here, or at the City’s Bureau of Revenue.
So, how can you open a food truck in New Orleans? We suggest contacting the Mayor’s Office to state your concerns and wishes for more food trucks in New Orleans.