Food trucks across New Orleans are celebrating. Not only did the city council unanimously vote to put more trucks in business, but they did away with a buffer zone around restaurants.
Rachel Billow, owner of La Cocinita Food Truck & founder of the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition says, “Entirely, yeah, it went from 600 feet to nothing.”
Over the past several months the city council struggled to come to an agreement. They mostly struggled over whether to ban food trucks from coming too close to brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Rachel Billow believes there is room for both. “We’ve got loyal customers who go to restaurants on some nights, on other nights they need something quick and they stop by the truck and I know that once we have a restaurant we’ll see the other side of that. When people want AC on days like today, restrooms, sit down wait service; those are amenities that we are looking forward to offer, but we’re going to continue operating our truck as well because we understand that it’s two different niches in the restaurant industry. They both have advantages.”
The new ordinance would put 100 food trucks in business. It also creates a franchise system where the Mayor’s office allows a limited number of trucks to set up Downtown, on Frenchmen, and in residential neighborhoods; areas that used to be off limits.
Attorney for the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition Andrew Legrande explains, “Essentially you are renting a spot from the city that’s yours for specified days, on specified times.”
Food trucks that apply for a franchise permit must post a notice before they are approved so that neighbors could weigh in.
The Mayor is expected to sign off on the plan soon.