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Raleigh's food truck ordinance gets mixed reviews

Posted September 7, 2011

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— The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that will allow food trucks to set up on private property, effective Oct. 1.

The 6-2 vote is drawing a mixed response from food truck operators, who welcome the move, and restaurant owners, who say they are concerned about how it might affect business.

"We had other hopes for the decision," said Parker Kennedy, who owns Caffe Luna in downtown Raleigh.

Although he welcomes food trucks in Raleigh, he says he would prefer that they not set up outside established downtown restaurants.

"It's a zero-sum game. If somebody eats at a food truck, then they're not going to eat at a brick-and-mortar restaurant," Kennedy said. "Instead of having 80 restaurants, now we may have 120 restaurants."

There are some restrictions.

Food trucks must have a permit and be  be at least 100 feet from the main entrance or outdoor dining area of restaurants and at least 50 feet away from any food-vending cart.

Food truck can open for business in Raleigh Food truck can open for business in Raleigh

They also will be allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily but must close at 10 p.m. if they are near residential areas.

The City Council will take another look at the ordinance in six months to see how it is doing.

Still, for food truck owners, this is the news they were looking for.

Brian Bottger, who owns the Only Burger food truck, which frequents North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus, says food truck owners have wanted to operate in downtown but haven't because they aren't clear on the rules.

"It's a good day, and it expands our market a bit," he said. "It allows us to come to Raleigh with confidence."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • uncfan89 Sep 8, 2011

    ewingfield,See my earlier post on the regualtions for these units. Wral will not let me repost the earlier one for some reason. If they are permitted by one Health Dept. and operating in another county they are suppose to let the county they are operating in know that they are there, but I don't know of any regualtion that would prevent them from operating in the same place for more than a week.

  • mpheels Sep 8, 2011

    It's interesting to see so many folks who are gung-ho for capitalism on other articles, but anti-competition when it comes to food trucks. There is some overlap between food trucks and casual/quick-serve restaurants, but those aren't the restauranteurs complaining. It's the owners of the nice places raising a stink. If I'm going to a restaurant with table service for dinner, a food truck is not going to deter me. I expect the bulk of the food truck business with take place from 12am-3am in the downtown and Glenwood South areas when people are leaving bars, looking for food. Honestly, I can see myself going out for a nice dinner before a concert or play downtown, then stopping by a food truck for dessert after the show. Of course, I won't be having my nice dinner at any of the restaurants that oppose the trucks.

  • wa4dou Sep 8, 2011

    I don't eat food from street vendors, roach coaches, etc. I'm also quite particular where I patronize restaurants, knowing even then, how atrocious the standards of sanitation really are.

  • NCPictures Sep 8, 2011

    "If you have ever been to NYC. There is nothing better than food from the small food carts." ---vraptor

    LOL!!!! I hope you are kidding!! I lvied in NYC for 2 years. Only New Yorkers would settle for food like that. Just take a look around at all of the garbage in New York, the terrible airports, crumbling roads... New Yorkers settle for second best, yet they THINK they are better than everyone else.

  • ewingfield Sep 8, 2011

    Does anyone know what the permitting process is like? Do they have to get a new permit for each location? How much does it cost? I know about 10 years ago there was a guy who tried to do a cool taco truck, and he told us there were all kind of weird regulations on the permits, like not being able to repeat the same place (after 1 week) for a year, etc. I would be interested if any of you know.

  • simplelogic Sep 8, 2011

    "Only Burger is the best burger in the area."

    Hmmm...sounds a lot like a solicitation for a business...

  • simplelogic Sep 8, 2011

    Any of you transplanted Yankees in need of a Buddy's pizza fix should check out Klausie's Pizza truck! IT'S THE SAME!!! Delicious and only available on the truck. Seriously good stuff.

  • mailmosley Sep 8, 2011

    Maybe its just me but I think we have too much government telling us what we can and cant do. Of course our founding fathers never imagined food trucks, but I really dont think they would have had a problem with people selling tacos from a horsedrawn wagon, nor would they have thought it was governments role to regulate such activity.

  • johnniepettiford Sep 8, 2011

    Food Truck can win a lot of business because we are always in a hurry. McDonald's did not get to "a billion burgers sold" with quality food or quality service. The did it with speed.

  • Raditude Sep 8, 2011

    I don't think a food truck in front of a restaurant will deter me from eating in that restaurant. I think the food trucks will be great for people who don't have time to wait, but I prefer to sit down and relax and have someone bring my food to me.