July 16, 2011

Why won’t the trucks stop near me?

Current legislation prohibits food trucks from being within 200 feet of any establishment that serves prepared food or drink. This includes everything from steak houses to fast food chains to gas stations. As you can imagine, that leaves few pockets of the city where trucks can stop. They can be fined up to $2000 if found in breach of that law.

Hark! There is a workaround! Get some coworkers or friends together and arrange for your favorite truck to cater lunch for your group. Every truck sets their own minimum, but sometimes you only need as few as 6 people to get a food truck to bring you food.

Can a truck come to my event?

Yes! Trucks often cater private events. Our new website (coming very soon) will help facilitate this. For now, call up trucks that interest you or contact them on Twitter or via their websites.

Help! I want to start my own food truck!

This is one of the most common inquiries we get. First, we highly suggest doing your homework on legislation. You can call the city (we hear 311 is actually really helpful), Google the proper city contact, or contact your alderman! We find The Institute for Justice My Streets My Eats campaign to be a wonderful resource as well; attend their events, browse their archives, read the resources they have available on their website. The Institute for Justice has a history of being unbiased, very credible, and extremely willing to help our city’s entrepreneurs understand legislation in plain English.

Once you have an understanding of what the laws are, then get your truck and license. The most successful concepts nationwide have menus that have high-quality ingredients and have something unique to offer. For example, Chicago has many cupcake trucks. If you are thinking about launching a cupcake truck, think about what makes yours different from all the other cupcakes out there.

Last, branding is very important. Food truck freaks are discerning when it comes to design, and respond well to trucks that have a specific, memorable concepts. Food trucks across the nation have been known to have a lot of fun when it comes to branding! Names that are puns are quite common :)

When you launch, come back to us and we’ll help you get the word out!

Why don’t food trucks in Chicago cook?

The city is not issuing cooking licenses. Though they voted on and approved a legislation on July 25, 2012 that allows food trucks to cook on board, the city has only issued 3 licenses. They also promised food truck stands throughout the city, and there are a few of those but the city has failed to roll them out.