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Chefs, bakers eager to get food truck permits in SF

About 36 food truck owners applied for permits under San Francisco's new process.
March 7, 2011 12:28:04 PM PST
There will be more food trucks on the Streets of San Francisco, after about 36 food truck owners have applied on Monday for permits under the city's new process. The most requested locations have been around the AT&T ballpark and the Financial District. The city will limit the number of food trucks in certain locations so the stakes are high and the competition is fierce.

It was quite cold to be sleeping on the sidewalk on Monday morning. But a line of people started forming Friday morning, and they stayed all weekend long. The goal is to get a coveted permit for a food truck. But by this morning, there was some second guessing over whether they really needed to sleep here for three nights.

"I'm a little disappointed. I thought I'd be number 10 of 100 not 10 of 15. If I had known that it was going to be two-thirds of the way, I would not have bothered," Jon Rains said.

But they didn't quite know what to expect. For the first time, the city has revamped its permit process for food trucks, making the permit easier to get and cheaper. Chefs, bakers and business people saw a chance for an opportunity.

"We get these permits and it's for an indefinite time. We renew them every year and that will be our spot, no one can have it until they change the system again," Rains said.

Kate McEachern proved getting here early paid off.

"We got in line at 8 p.m. Friday we've been camped here ever since," she said.

She was the first cupcake vendor to put in for some highly desirable locations that she doesn't want to reveal. Her big competitor is Kara's Cupcakes and they were several spots behind her in line.

"I thought this would be early enough 5:30 a.m., but I guess I was wrong," Kayla Jossey from Kara's Cupcakes said.

The Department of Public Works will make sure trucks that sell the same type of food aren't close to each other, and that they don't cause too much competition for restaurant owners -- many of whom aren't too pleased about these mobile cafes.

"We don't want to create competition and problems. We will not allow someone to sell hamburgers in front of a hamburger place, so there are rules," city engineer Fuad Sweiss said.

The permit process is officially underway and there is still a ways to go. The new businesses will be hitting the streets as early as May or early June.


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