Friday, August 19, 2011

Is the City of Dallas Pushing away Food Trucks?

Investigative journalism is not my prowess but I'm noticing a common theme among many food truck operators: Dallas is not an easy place to get a permit.  From the regulations to the specifications, the Big D is forcing many a new food truck to our neighboring cities.

The girls over at Good Karma Kitchen have laid it all out for me. The City of Dallas only permits mobile vending trucks that were originally built as catering vehicles. If you buy a converted vehicle, say an old UPS truck, and you bring it up to meet all specifications to a catering truck, you will still not be permitted. Several new operators are finding out the hard way that their used trucks will not pass inspection in Dallas, so they're moving on to the next place: Ft. Worth.

I don't know the ins and outs of city regulations, but it strikes me as odd that one health department's policies vary so greatly to those of neighboring cities like Ft. Worth, Austin & Houston.  Gina of Crazy Sisters has run into that exact problem; her vehicle is permitted in Tarrant County but Dallas is slamming her with two-bit modifications to her truck. When adding them all up, she doesn't think it's worth it to come to Dallas at this time. Scott of SoCal Tacos is facing the same situation-the used catering truck he bought in New Braunfels won't pass Dallas inspection, but he can take it to Ft. Worth with ease.

Yet another operator, Comfort Food on Wheels was advised by the California manufacturer of his truck not to even bother coming to Dallas because of restrictions. Now Comfy Foods is considering a move to Cowtown. 

Not only are the truck requirements exacting, take a look at the Operational Requirements as outlined by the City:
"An itinerary must be provided for each vehicle prior to the first business day of each month. 
The Health Department must be advised of any changes immediately. Schedules/Stops must 
be accurate to within 30 minutes.  The name, address and telephone number of the owner of 
the premises must be provided.  A description of the food to be sold or served at each premise 
must accompany the itinerary."

I say Dallas needs to come up to speed with the other metropolitan areas, otherwise they will discourage new business...a business that is experiencing a huge tidal wave across the country. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!


  1. What a great post! Just a quick note from the Good Karma Kitchen team....we gotta give a shout out to SolCalTaco, Nammi, CrazySisters and some seriously cool trucks in DC and Austin for helping us navigate the permitting process! Everything we know is thanks to incredible food truck camaraderie!!!! You guys rock!

  2. Awesome post! shows why Mint Leaf Frozen Yogurt won't be in D-town either.

  3. This is really too bad. Dallas needs to pull its collective head out. Big D has a chance to be a great city...they just need to get out of their own way.

  4. I've been doing research on the food trucks for a paper I'm writing. Trying to figure out how Tarrant county states the trucks can only be at a place for 1 hour at a time and time restrictions for not working past certain hours. Yet I see trucks with dedicated locations open until 3am. Any info would greatly be appreciated!

  5. Really this is a good post. You have shared your thoughts and knowledge about Catering Truck Manufacturers here. Hope people will get their answer after reading this blog.