Operating a food truck in Pittsburgh can be quite difficult. In fact, some trucks operate illegally. But the recently formed PGH Mobile Food
coalition is hoping to change that.
“We are trying to change the law that the City of Pittsburgh currently has in place for mobile food,” says Megan Lindsey, co-owner of the Franktuary Food Truck. “We would like to see more food trucks here because it’s part of a thriving city-scape.”
The coalition also wants to make it easier for prospective vendors to understand the current set of rules, and how to successfully operate within them.
PGH Mobile Food is partnering with the Institute for Justice (IJ), a D.C.-based public interest law firm that has worked in various cities to refine rules governing mobile food. According to Lindsey, IJ has established best practices that keep food safety standards in place, but remove anti-competitive barriers to food truck operators.
Lindsey points to successful code modifications in El Paso, Texas. In that city, once a more user-friendly code was put in place entrepreneurs, many of them immigrants, were able to launch their businesses with greater ease.
“They found a lot of these folks were coming and starting trucks and serving a lot of great food,” Lindsey says. “That’s what we hope will happen in Pittsburgh.”
Prior to forming PGH Mobile Food, Lindsey learned that City Councilman Bill Peduto’s office was working independently to amend the mobile food codes. That initiative inspired Lindsey and business partner Tim Tobitsch to launch the coalition.
“Now that we’re involved we feel like we can help influence things from the owner/operator perspective,” Lindsey says.
PGH Mobile Food is partnering with the Saxifrage School and IJ for a lecture series titled “How to Change a Law.” The first will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at Bar Marco (2216 Penn Avenue, the Strip District). The second discussion will take place the following Wednesday, October 10th, at the same location.
And a Food Truck Rally is planned for Sunday, October 14th, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Parking Lot, at 5989 Penn Circle South. The event will include Pittsburgh’s various mobile vendors and a speech from Peduto.
The PGH Mobile Food coalition includes the Franktuary, Oh My Grill, BRGR, PGH Taco Truck, Fukuda, Dozen Food Truck, and Zum Zum food trucks.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Megan Lindsey