New City Ordinance Could Put Food Truck Industry Into Gear

food truck

Food trucks are the latest culinary trend rolling out across the nation, and now, a new ordinance is helping the industry gear up in Detroit, MI.

According to data from Statistics Brain, the some 4,130 food trucks across the nation produce $1.2 billion in annual revenue, with the average revenue generated by just one food truck being about $290,556. Given the fact that these mobile investments are so profitable, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that over the past five years, the industry revenue has increased by about 12.4%, or that one study found more than 80% of participants described food trucks using words such as “exciting,” “fun,” “unique,” and “different.”

And if a new ordinance passes, Detroit may be able to get a bigger piece of that profitable pie.

The new law essentially makes it easier for a business to become a food truck, and find places to legally park, a crucial part of making a food truck successful. If passed, the ordinance will allow landowners to get a permit to zone their lots as a food pod. Food truck owners can then lease a space within the pod from the landowner.

“It’s going to be a zoning ordinance regulating where the food pods can be,” said Detroit District 6 City Council Member Raquel Castañeda-López, who is spearheading the effort. She aims to have the ordinance passed by the end of the year, so that it’s running by 2016.

“That is still being determined, but ideally they would be allowed throughout the city of Detroit so everyone would have access to food trucks.”

The next part of the law will establish an operational framework, which doesn’t currently exist. In other words, the food truck industry would have a set of rule and regulations to follow. Because there’s no framework as of now, conducting business is both confusing and frustrating for food truck owners. For example, some food trucks can’t operate in certain neighborhoods, because it’s not clear whether or not they can.

“People can get permits at the state level, but not the city level,” said Castañeda-López. “I’m hoping this law will make it clear [by answering] this is what you have to do to own a food truck, operate one, and where you can be located.”


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