Food truck owners hot over Orlando's new rules - FOX 35 News Orlando

Food truck owners hot over Orlando's new rules

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There are new rules for food trucks operating in Orlando, and not everyone is happy about it.

Paul Pronsati said his new food truck, Cheesesteak Phactory, has cooked up big business for his family.  However, Pronsati opened his truck three months ago-- weeks before Orlando implemented its pilot program for food trucks.

"We feel like we're not being treated fairly and given a fair opportunity to participate in the free market," said Pronsati.

There are seven pages of rules and regulations for food truck operators, including:

  • Food truck operators must have a mobile food vending permit, which is $50 per truck.
  • They must operate on paved areas, but not inside the "downtown core"
  • Truck owners can operate on some private properties, but only with a notarized letter from the landlord. Properties can only host one truck, one day a week, unless they have a special permit.

"It looks like right now we can only operate six nights per month," said Pronsati. "We have three locations at night that we use, and two of which look like it will be taken away with the new ordinance.

He's not alone.

The ordinance states there are 25 food trucks operating within Orlando city limits.

In a statement to FOX 35, Cassandra Anne Lafser, spokesperson for the City of Orlando/Office of the Mayor, wrote:

"Previously Orlando City Code did not allow for food trucks at all, unless they had a Conditional Use Permit or 18-A permit. This program provides many more options for food truck operators to conduct business legally in the City of Orlando.

"Again, this is a pilot program, so by the very nature of it being enacted, we're always listening to stakeholders about their suggestions for future changes and considering enacting those into the pilot."

However, some owners, such as Pronsati, said they worry they won't be around to see the program succeed.

"It very well could mean that we don't have a business anymore," said Pronsati. "And that we go out of business."

The city told FOX 35 its rules are more lenient than some other big cities, such as Chicago or Miami, especially when it comes to the price of the permit and the fact the city doesn't limit the number of permits.

For example, the city told FOX 35:

  • Orlando's pilot program does not require a minimum distance between food trucks and restaurants, which means there are a great number of opportunities for mobile food vendors to sell from many locations. Whereas, Chicago requires that food trucks be at least 200 feet away from a brick-and-mortar restaurant. 
  • Under the Orlando's pilot program, the temporary use permit is affordable ($50).  Whereas, Boston charges $500 and requires that the food vendor have a contract with a GPS monitoring company so the city can monitor where and when they are vending. 
  • There are no pre-determined spaces or spots that are the only locations where food trucks can operate under Orlando's pilot program.  Chicago has city-sanctioned "food truck stands." 
  • Orlando's pilot program does not limit the number of permits available, which allows for an unlimited number of food truck entrepreneurs in the city.  In places like Miami, there is a lottery each year for the limited number of available food truck permits.

A group of concerned food truck owners said they're meeting with local leaders again on Wednesday.

Pronsati said if something doesn't change, he'll be forced to leave Orlando.

"It looks like we are at the mercy of the City," said Pronsati.

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