The Future of Food Trucks

What if these establishments were moved into a food court -- with art and seating?

I'm aware of all the arguments in favor of food trucks:

1. They allow entrepreneurs to start restaurant businesses with far less cash than a storefront requires.
2. They cost virtually nothing, rent-wise (though other costs including fuel, parking tickets, and the vehicle itself must be taken into account).
3. They can charge the same prices as a brick-and-mortar establishments for similar food.

And the obvious ones against them:

1. Necessarily lower level of hygiene.
2. Increased air pollution and roadway congestion, plus dependence on fossil fuels.
3. Adverse working conditions for owners/employees.

But another thing about food trucks is bothering me. In a recent piece on empty restaurant real estate in Greenwich Village, I mentioned that as restaurants are failing and leaving storefronts vacant, the number of trucks and carts in those areas are increasing. Perhaps there's a correlation. Are we foregoing an indoor-restaurant culture for an outdoor one? Will we be forever consigned to snacking standing up, in the heat or cold, and without alcohol?

I sometimes wish the city would adopt the attitude Singapore has toward its street carts: subsidizing them by providing malls with amenities to street vendors. New York could thus encourage restaurant businesses in a way it doesn't do now, offering the mall spaces -- which could feature open-air seating and pleasant decor -- as a subsidy but also collecting taxes it probably doesn't now receive.

The public has a hygienic space to sit down and eat, plus the pleasure of finding so many diverse food choices in one spot. It would also be a magnet for tourists and residents alike, but without supplanting the more luxurious meal one can expect in a full-service restaurant, and also providing a potential springboard for successful restaurateurs to move into their own spaces.

Well, what do you think?

A Singapore "Food Centre." Would it work here?

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My Voice Nation Help

I love the idea of a "food truck area" where trucks can come together where there is an eating area for the customers.  I have heard of some cities creating "food truck parks" similar to a meet up but have yet to see one.  

Penny Brenner Minges
Penny Brenner Minges

Ben Minges and Andy Minges - well, I know of a food truck that NYC NEEDS!! ha ha


i think the failure of brick and mortar restaurants and increase in the number of food trucks is due, in large part, to the economy.  with such small margins, restaurants are finding it more and more difficult to pay the ever increasing rents and overhead of running a storefront while also providing an affordable product for most people to afford.  many people have been affected by the recession and with those job losses, decreases in wages and increases in rents comes a decrease in disposable income.  food trucks and carts provide more affordable options for people who simply do not have the money to eat meals in a sit-down restaurant.  i think creating a food court will remove a lot of diversity from the streets.  you'll be creating yet another tourist attraction (as if we don't have enough of those already), decreasing foot traffic in certain areas, and decreasing dining options for regular new yorkers who will not have the time to travel to a designated food court for lunch (or dinner) or to wait in what will surely be excruciatingly long lines.