Thursday, June 10, 2010

Food trucks use parking spaces for cheap rent

Food trucks are all the rage in NYC (and other cities including LA). Trendy chefs and restaurants are creating mobile kitchens serving interesting, high-quality food. Most trucks, similar to LA taco trucks, park at the same locations at specific times of day and develop a clientele. But what the trucks do is find a street parking space and keep feeding the meter all day. According to the NY Post, that's a problem the city may do something about. It's illegal to keep feeding the meter while occupying one space. The trucks need to move every couple of hours. The schnitzel guy doesn't like this development one bit:
"This would make it impossible for gourmet food trucks to exist in New York, and our customers will miss out," said Gene Voss, owner of the popular Schnitzel & Things truck on Park Avenue.

Here is what a Councilmember says:
"I don't have a problem with vendors selling from their trucks. They're not supposed to take up residence on our streets and just feed the meter hour after hour, and that's what a lot of them are doing," said Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Upper East Side), who co-sponsored the bill.

Considering that a parking space costs $2.50 per hour, let's assuming the truck pays for 10 hours per day. That's $125 per week (most trucks don't operate on weekends), or $6,500 per year for about 400 square feet of prime Manhattan real estate. For comparison, $6,500 works out to $16.25 per square foot (gross) where the average West Village rent is about $450 per square foot (net) and in mid-town the average net rent is over $1,500. Without cheap parking the food trucks wouldn't operate because the rent would be too high. I guess Manhattan has commercial rent control after all.

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