The District's food truck industry slammed the city on Thursday for a batch of new regulations that it says will undermine business and confuse the owners of the mobile restaurants.
"The entire process is structured to limit vending in some say," said Mike Lenard, a Food Truck Association board member and owner of TaKorean food truck. "[The regulations are] so unclear, so ambiguous and vague that it's really not fitting to be a contract between the government and an industry."
Food truck owners have taken particular aim at restrictions that would limit where they can operate and the authority of the District Department of Transportation to regulate the industry.
Under the rules proposed earlier this month, DDOT would have broad discretion about assignments of newly created Mobile Roadway Vending locations, which could only operate between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays.
"That power didn't really exist previously," Lenard said. "There were obviously regulations before, but it was mostly along the lines of public health and safety."
Che Ruddell-Tabisola, the executive director of the DC Food Trucks Association, warned the new rules could hurt the industry.SClB"Food trucks are good for our community and our economy," said Ruddell-Tabisola, who owns the BBQ Bus truck. "We are offering our customers variety and great cuisine at great prices, adding to the vibrancy of downtown and creating hundreds of jobs. These benefits could be lost if Mayor [Vincent] Gray's proposal was adopted."
Brandon Byrd, who owns Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, said he already has a difficult time finding a spot because of the limited number of food truck "hot spots" throughout the District that attract hundreds of customers.
"Food trucks are a destination," said Byrd, who argued owners don't want to monopolize certain areas. "People come to where multiple food trucks are."SClBThe new parking regulations aren't the only new rules that the city has slapped on food trucks this year. On Oct. 1, the vendors had to begin charging a 10 percent sales tax on their foods, an effort to raise millions in new revenue for the city.