Letter Grades Coming to NYC Food Trucks

Last month, the City Council Health Committee voted unanimously passing a new bill requiring food carts and trucks to post letter grades, just like New York City brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Last month, the City Council Health Committee voted unanimously passing a new bill requiring food carts and trucks to post letter grades, just like New York City brick-and-mortar restaurants. With mobile kitchens growing in popularity, and popping up all over the city, it’s no wonder that the city is treating them just like the city’s restaurants we know and love!

Food truck food grades

We are supportive of our favorite mobile chefs and their kitchens being regulated on par with their brick-and-mortar counterparts, legitimizing and adding credibility to their businesses. However, what seems like a great stride towards equating the way brick-and-mortar and mobile kitchens are run and regulated is actually just a baby step in establishing the same food safety standards for restaurants and mobile vendors.

The disproportionate regulatory environment when hiring employees is the number one impediment to the continued growth and sustainability of the food truck industry in NYC.

While it’s pretty simple for restaurants to continuously hire and replace workers in their kitchens, but the process is surprisingly not as straightforward for mobile vendors.

Requirements to work in a restaurant kitchen or front of house:

NONE, one person on-site must have completed the Food Protection Test after studying online

Requirements to work on a food truck:

  • Every single person including the driver must pass the Food Protection Course for Mobile Vendors(2 full days in an inconvenient location)
  • File for a Sales Tax Authority to obtain a Sales Tax ID

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream NYC truck

A sales tax ID allows individuals to collect sales tax and submit it to New York State. Filing and receiving your sales tax ID takes a minimum of three weeks. We completely understand why this would be required for business owners, but why should a food truck cashier need this when a cashier in a brick and mortar does not? It’s another layer that prevents people from wanting to work for food trucks especially in an industry which has a high turn-over.

Unlike the restaurant’s Food Protection Course (online course, takes <1 hr), the Food Protection Course for mobile vendors is long, taking 2 days, 8 hours each day. The whole process takes a lot of time, discouraging potential employees from working on a food truck or cart.

When it comes to food truck letter grades, the NYFTA is in full support of anything that will improve customer satisfaction and food safety, but we also want to make sure that the needs of the food truck owners are addressed when it comes to parity of regulations with restaurants.

Food truck employees should be subjected to the same rules and regulations as their counterparts in brick-and-mortar locations and not have to deal with rules that are prohibitive and make running a successful Food Truck business in New York almost impossible.

So with many potentially employable people opting for work that require little to no safety verification, it becomes difficult and expensive for mobile chefs to find staff.

Ben Goldberg
Founder of the New York Food Truck Association
nyfta.org

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The 2017 Vendy Awards Are Near!

The Vendy Awards are back for their 13th year and we’re feeling lucky.

Well it’s finally here and we’re so excited, award season! Oh what’s that you thought award season was over? Sorry you must be mistaken. With all the drama and chaos of the Oscars and such finally behind us, it’s time to dish out awards for the stuff we really care about – the stuff we eat! The Vendy Awards are back for their 13th year and we’re feeling lucky.

The Vendy’s were the first street food competition in the US when they started way back in the day. Originally started to fundraise for the Street Vendor Project the Vendy’s continue to offer business support for New York City’s local street vendors. Everything from legal aid to advocacy, the Vendy’s are as tasty as they are for a cause.

2017 vendy awards

Categories include best dessert, best market, rookie, and the coveted Vendy Cup.  New this year, they’ve added best vegan for the less carnivorous consumers. Past winners have included cuisines form every corner of New Yorks bustling street food scene, and you know that means lots of NYFTA members! Some of our favorite vendors who have taken away the prize include The Good Batch, Nuchas, Lukes Lobster, Phil’s Steaks, Souvlaki GR and Korilla BBQ. (Are you hungry yet?)

2017 vendy awards New York

Tickets go on sale today for the event, held on Governors Island at the end of Summer.  Tickets mean all you can eat at the event, so get out your stretchy pants and meet us on the island! Check out vendyawards.org for more info – and stay tuned as we gear up for the big day.

 – Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA @NYFTA.

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