Part Two- “Mobile Food Vendors with Deep Pockets”
First in my opinion don’t even consider doing a Food Truck in NYC as a “Street Vendor”, defined as someone vending on the public streets of NYC. There are just too many issues- no permits legally available, a vicious bureaucracy looking to fine you and a myriad of other obstacles.
However I’m not saying not to do a Food Truck in NYC. There are several other ways to do it without going to the public streets. To do this you need what is called ‘The Restricted Area MFV unit permit”
Being a Street Vendor in NYC is easy and fun- NOT
Last night I went into NYC for the “Street Vending 101” course given by the “Street Vendor Project” www.streetvendor.org . It was presented by Sean Basinski one of the founder of the project. The SVP was started to help out the 10,000 people with Street Vendor Licenses in NYC, over 1000 are members. After listening to Sean describe the way the city treats street vendors it is obvious that they desperately need this representation. 99% of it’s members are hot dog cart, nut cart, fruit cart, books cd’s and hat and glove type vendors and most are recent immigrants. The most prominent ethnicity is Bangladeshi. Only 10 of the members have “Gourmet Food Trucks”
Sustainable Food and Chez Panisse Cafe
Over this past weekend, I experienced firsthand sustainable food at Chez Panisse Cafe located in Berkeley, California.
Alice Waters is the chef credited for creating the sustainable foods movement when she opened Chez Panisse close to 40 years ago.
Chez Panisse Cafe has been opened for 30 years and after sampling the delicious whole wheat sourdough bread served with the incredible olive oil (okay I will admit I ate nearly the entire loaf!) and then sharing a rocket salad and clams for lunch, it's no wonder why the cafe was jammed packed. Sustainable food philosophy is to source fine local ingredients that not only are organic but also seasonal. I believe it is evident in the taste of the sustainable foods as well since there is more flavor to these food products than mass produced food.
Well I must say my first impressions of dealing with the NC Health Department were way off the mark. I talked to the gentleman who is in charge of regulating Mobile Food and he was very friendly and helpful.
He asked me what I was planning on selling and went over the requirements. It’s all pretty much the same as a brick and mortar place but his biggest concern seemed to be the water supply. They have several different volume requirements depending on what type of truck you are doing. The lowest for a truck dong packages products, then more progressively for a hot dog truck, full serve and finally more if you are be a dipping (that’s what they call the thing with the slow stream of water the you dip ice cream scoops into, live and learn). I’d have to have 70 gallons of potable water and a waste water storage container that is 15% bigger. No big deal.
George Starts a Food Truck
I’ve decided to get back into the trenches. I really don’t want to work for someone and want my own food business. I don’t have the capital to open a brick and mortar business like a restaurant or deli but I still want to do food. I’ve decided to start a “Mobile Food Truck”.
This whole segment has been going nuts for years on the left coast and is really starting to get legs here on the right coast, especially in NYC. I’m in Nassau County just outside of the Apple and the only thing you see out here are hot dog wagons. I don’t want a hot dog wagon. I have nothing against them, in fact when I was weighing my options after I decided to leave EMS in NYC a dog wagon was one of my top three choices. I am so happy I chose to go to the CIA in Hyde Park instead, best 2 year vacation I have ever had.
I have been lucky enough to be temporally assigned to a new property (within my company) in Napa Valley, CA. at the Silverado Resort. If you have ever been part of transition team at a large property you know how demanding it can be. Long days for multiple weeks combined with living out of a hotel room can be a rough and sometimes an overwhelming experience. Being away from loved ones and breaking your normal routine can take its toll if you don’t have a little fun.