City Can't Give Out Street Food Permits Fast Enough

That line of tents you saw on the sidewalk wasn't a new homeless encampment, or music fans waiting for tickets. It was street food vendors.

The City recently handed out 36 permits for new street food carts around the city. It's a highly-orchestrated process, with vendors only allowed to set up shop in areas where they will not compete with existing restaurants. Competition would provide consumers with more options, and incentivizes businesses to innovate and improve their offerings, but that won't happen under the current system.

In addition, the anti-competitive rules force vendors into areas that may not be entirely optimal for doing business. There's a reason that those brick-and-mortar restaurants set up shop in crowded areas, after all.

Nevertheless, the line started on Friday afternoon and lasted all weekend until the office opened on Monday. It's unclear why the city required applicants to apply in person, rather than submitting their information online.

This is the first time that the city has given out permits since revamping the process and slashing the cost from $10,000 to $3,000. Permits used to be handled by the police department, and although the Department of Public Works has "streamlined" the process, getting approval still takes over three months. So, if you're thinking of going into business, don't order your food ahead of time.

Trucks are also forbidden to park near schools.

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