To the Supporters of New Orleans Food Trucks:
We need your help!
Legislation is currently under consideration by City Council to update the outdated, protectionist restrictions currently limiting food trucks’ ability to serve New Orleans.
The New Orleans Food Truck Coalition, Inc. advocates changing the law. We seek access to the CBD, a lower proximity restriction to restaurants, and more mobile food vendor permits.
Food trucks are a new and emerging segment of the restaurant business. They provide a great opportunity for young chefs to hone their craft, build upon our vibrant, local food scene, and contribute to the free market economy. Food trucks also provide another outlet for established chefs and brands to promote their product to a customer who is not looking for a traditional restaurant dining experience.
By law, we are required to comply with the same health, safety, and fire regulations that are imposed on restaurants. Although some say we do not pay property tax, we are required to operate out of a commissary kitchen. The rent or mortgage we pay for this kitchen goes towards property taxes. Trucks pay the same 9.5% sales tax required of any business in Orleans Parish, and we must also carry insurance as required by state law.
So, what’s the gist of the pilot program to reform the law?
- Increase mobile food vendor permits from 100 to 200. This includes all mobile vendors (snowball stands, fresh produce vendors, etc.), not just food trucks.
- Increase the time that a vendor may stop from 45 minutes to 4 hours.
- Allow food trucks into more of the CBD and Warehouse District, with the exception of the area between Canal and Poydras Streets and from the river to Rampart Street.
- Require food trucks to clean up the entire block on the same side where they park and provide a trash receptacle.
- Reduce the proximity restriction from a restaurant to 50 feet from the front door, while the restaurant is open. Restaurants can waive this restriction.
We’re facing heavy opposition from a small but vocal group of downtown restaurants and property owners, and from the Louisiana Restaurant Association. We believe that there is more than enough business to go around, and we do not pose a threat to restaurants. The number of restaurants has increased by fifty percent since Hurricane Katrina, from 809 to over 1,300 (source: nomenu.com). Still, our local food-service industry is robust.
Frankly, no one going out for a sit down, business, or romantic meal is going to suddenly run to a food truck and eat from a paper tray instead. We cannot serve alcohol, nor do we offer seating, tables, wait service, air conditioning, or heat. The guest experience is completely different. They come to restaurants to dine, and to us to eat.
If you support our cause, here’s how you can help:
- Sign this petition: http://chn.ge/USEpGO
- Call and email City Council: List of names and phone numbers is below. Please contact your representative — or all of them! Our opponents are calling city council and expressing vocal opposition, so we need to counter them in expressing our support
- If you own a restaurant, or any type of business or property in Downtown New Orleans, please email NewOrleansFoodTruckCoalition@gmail.com saying “I support food trucks.” Please sign the email with your name, and, if you can offer the support of your business, the name of your business as well.
Thank you for your support!
The Members of the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition, Inc