Tags Posts tagged with "California"

California

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Food Truck News

In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry we have compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from California, Lubbock,Palm Springs and Toledo.

June 27

State rule aims to simplify food truck sales – CA – Change is in the air for North Coast food trucks.

A new state rule, which goes into effect Tuesday, will permit vendors to post flat-rate prices for the food they sell that include sales tax.

So, instead of having to add the sales tax to prices at the spot of the transaction, vendors can figure out how much they owe in taxes later.

“The point was to streamline the process for everybody,” said Brian Miller of the California Board of Equalization, the public agency charged with the administration of taxes and fee collection. “The … number of food trucks in California has grown substantially and we wanted to make it easier on everybody. ”

Find the entire article <here>

Mobile restaurants to petition city for less strict regulations – LUBBOCK, TX – When customers ask Chad Montgomery where his Twist’d Texan food truck will be parked for lunch the next day, he only has one answer to give them.

Nowhere — at least nowhere near where his customers will be.

The city of Lubbock’s ordinances prevent food trucks from setting up in most of the places people would visit to grab a quick bite to eat, leaving the majority of local food truck businesses reliant on catering.

Find the entire article <here>

June 28

Palm Springs food truck vendors work toward approval – The owner of Woody’s Burgers, the downtown restaurant and music venue, is about to open his third location.

This time on wheels.

But instead of serving more burgers and fries in Palm Springs, Wayne Woodliff is sending his refurbished 1987 food truck to San Diego, where he opened a second restaurant last year and has dreams for further expansions.

Find the entire article <here>

June 29

Toledo ponders food-truck permits, regulations – TOLEDO, OH – Under pressure to protect downtown restaurants from mounting mobile competition, Toledo City Council is being asked to approve rules to regulate the growing food-truck industry.

Mayor D. Michael Collins presented legislation to council last week that would restrict operations of mobile food vendors on streets in the downtown business district and other neighborhoods and create zones in which the businesses could operate.

Find the entire article <here>

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california food truck taxesSACRAMENTO, CA - While California’s Board of Equalization is happy that the “recovering economy has fueled a mobile food movement led by chefs from high-end restaurants, and innovative cooks looking to elevate the food truck experience,” it wants to make sure they pay their taxes.

Food trucks are such small businesses they sometimes fly beneath the state’s radar, but the BOE has created special “registration and reporting requirements for mobile food vendors,” and this week reminded vendors they must keep track of sales to determine their tax liability.

Pricing Menu Items “Sales Tax Included”
If the price of your menu items includes sales tax, you must post a notice for your customers that says “All prices of taxable items include sales tax.” You should report sales
tax at the rate in effect at the location your sales are made.

“Many mobile food vendors are unaware of their registration and reporting requirements,” the BOE said.

And just as food trucks offer wares from many different cultures, the BOE prints up its strictures in plenty of languages — they’re available in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean, for starters.

Find the entire article by Steven E.F. Brown at the San Francisco Business Times <here>

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COAST CITIES, CA - Food trucks are gaining momentum across North County, but one question looms: How will cities handle the trend?

The first regular food truck gatherings have rolled into Encinitas and Del Mar, with the possibility of similar events in Solana Beach, Carlsbad and Oceanside in the next several months. Yet most of the North County cities’ municipal codes are vague or don’t specifically address food trucks at all.

north county food truck
Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

That contrasts further south in San Diego proper, where food trucks have been a staple in many of the cities for years. Accordingly, codes and ordinances in those neighborhoods are more likely to spell out the rules for mobile vendors.

“The food trucks are unprecedented for us,” said outgoing Del Mar Mayor Carl Hilliard.

Food trucks began setting up on the Seagrove parking lot every Wednesday night for a three-hour event. In response to concerns over design requirements and whether the food trucks posed a threat to existing businesses, the Council called for a staff report, which will be released at a Nov. 19 Council meeting to gauge the pros and cons of the event.

The food trucks aren’t breaking any rules, but the staff report was necessary to determine the impact of gourmet food trucks, because existing city code pre-dates their arrival, Hilliard said.

“There’s certainly some grey area we need to figure out,” said Hilliard, adding that he’ll have a better idea of what the city should do once the staff report sees the light of day.

Ambiguities in city code haven’t deterred food trucks from making their way up the coast.

“The food trucks that appear in North County are based in San Diego,” said Christian Murcia, owner of the food truck Crepes Bonaparte. “That’s their home market and where they park — where the infrastructure to support the food trucks is. The scene is more established there.”

Food trucks have proliferated in San Diego proper in recent years. As such, competition has increased in many neighborhoods. So food trucks ventured north to claim untapped markets in Del Mar and Encinitas.

Although not there currently, he said food truck owners would like to hold regular events in Carlsbad and Oceanside.

The food truck expansion has drawn the ire of some brick-and-mortar restaurants. In Encinitas more than 20 restaurants signed a letter in September addressed to the Downtown Encinitas Merchants Association expressing their concerns about the weekly food truck gathering. For his part, Murcia cautioned against cities imposing regulations on where and when food trucks can set up.

“Regulations on food trucks are nothing new, but cities find they’re costly and fail,” Murcia said, referencing food truck bans or limits in other California cities that were eventually overruled by sections of the California Vehicle Code, and a state law from 1984 forbidding cities from outlawing mobile food vendors.

“We should focus on collaboration, not elimination,” he added.

Click the link to read the entire article about how these North County cities plan to legislate the growing number of food trucks coming to their municipalities by Jared Whitlock at thecoastnews.com.

 

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gas prices california
A sign posted with gasoline prices is seen at a Mobil gas station in Santa Monica, Calif., Oct. 4, 2012. Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

California gas prices are soaring because of refinery outages and pipeline problems. Gas prices at some Los Angeles stations now top $5 a gallon.

A gallon of regular at the station was selling for $4.79, up from $4.59 the day before. Premium gasoline was $4.99.

“Every time these go up, I can’t just raise my hourly rate up as well,” Figueredo complained.

Throughout California, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline jumped 8 cents overnight to $4.32 and was up 18 cents during the past week, according to the AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge.

Analysts said it was poised to quickly soar past $4.37 a gallon — the high so far this year — after refinery outages and pipeline problems left the state short on supplies.

The highest average price ever for regular gasoline in the state was $4.61 in 2008.

Among the recent disruptions, an Aug. 6 fire at a Chevron Corp. refinery in Richmond left one of the region’s largest refineries producing at a reduced capacity. A power failure in Southern California has affected an Exxon Mobil Corp. refinery, and a Chevron pipeline that moves crude to Northern California was also shut down.

Elsewhere, the national average for gas is $3.78 a gallon, the highest ever for this time of year. However,gas prices in many states have started moving lower, which is typical for October.

But in California, gasoline inventories are the lowest in more than 10 years — a situation made worse by the state’s strict pollution limits that require a special blend of cleaner-burning gasoline.

GasBuddy.com, said they are seeing the highest prices in the state around Los Angeles, where at least five stations have crossed the $5 a gallon mark, including $5.29 in Burbank and $5.11 in Norwalk.

Prices will keep rising, he says, because in the past week wholesale gasoline prices have jumped $1 a gallon, but average retail prices have only increased 30 cents.

“This is one of the easiest forecasts: Retail prices are going to skyrocket,” he said.

The jump in wholesale prices can be particularly tough on independent gas stations that often pay more for their gas because they are not part of a larger chain.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service, said he’s heard of a few California station owners shutting their pumps rather than charging the $4.90 a gallon or more necessary to break even.

“Wholesale price increases lead to retail price increases,” Kloza said. “But there is some restraint among companies who do not want to exercise their current pricing power and irritate their customers.”

At the San Francisco 76 station, the 42-year-old Fugueredo believes the push for profits by oil companies is behind the increases.

“I heard that the recent heat wave had affected refineries in California, and the Chevron refinery blew up. But the oil companies are just greedy,” he said, standing next to his white panel van.

Other San Francisco motorists have been taking the recent price spikes mostly in stride, but now that gas is closing in on $5 a gallon, some are considering changing their transportation habits.

“I might actually park my car for a while and start biking,” said Sam Hewatt, 25, who was filling his sedan with $4.99-a-gallon premium.

Some analysts believe prices nationally will begin to decline soon but say California could see a longer spike given its unique fuel requirements.

“Nationally, I believe most prices will wobble to and fro for the next week or so, with an eventual slow but steady attrition in retail gas prices, particularly in the Midwest and Southeast,” Kloza said. “California is a wild card.”

Find the original article By Jason Dearen, Associated Press <here>

 

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The latest baseless attack on mobile food vendors crashes and burns.

Grill em all

Earlier this year California assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced a bill that would have barred every one of the state’s beloved food trucks from operating within 1,500 feet of a public school. The bill, the purpose of which was to reduce childhood obesity, pegged food trucks as yet another driver of the obesity epidemic.

Owing to the prevalence of public schools and the greater-than half-mile diameter restriction that such a ban would have imposed, food trucks would have become unwelcome throughout much of the state (asthis map of San Francisco demonstrates).

Monning’s bill was quickly and widely panned. Reason contributor Kennedy referred to the bill as “an idiotic piece of nonsense.” From editorial pages to social media platforms, backlash against the bill was widespread.

Yet Monning did his best not to capitulate to public anger. First, he peeled back the proposed radius restriction from a preposterous 1,500 feet to a merely absurd 500 feet.

Then Monning published an op-ed, titled “Data Behind Limits on Mobile Food Vendors,” defending the facts that drove him to introduce the bill. But the op-ed was itself a stunning disclosure, given its almost complete lack of data. (Go ahead and try to find any data at all in the op-ed besides a claim that “50 percent of California’s children will have pre-diabetes or diabetes by 2025,” a claim Monning doesn’t tie to food trucks.)

After reading his op-ed, I wrote to Monning seeking actual data. None was forthcoming.

The only data I was able to obtain came courtesy of California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA), a nonprofit that sponsored the bill.

Tia Shimada, a nutrition policy advocate with CFPA. Shimada provided me with four sources she said CFPA relied on (and continues to do rely on) to support their restrictions on food trucks.

But where Monning’s data appears not to exist, CFPA’s data appears incredibly weak and unsupportive.

The article CFPA provided me that appears to be most relevant, “Street Vendors in Los Angeles: Promoting Healthy Eating in L.A. Communities,” was written in 2007 by two UCLA graduate students as part of a master of public policy project. Though not the sort of peer-reviewed research that should form the basis of any data-driven legislation, the authors’ research nevertheless notes—based on their own observations—“most [students purchasing from vendors] are accompanied by an adult.”

Another source of support CFPA sent me is a 2009 Los Angeles Unified School District internal audit report, “Board Motions to Promote Healthy Beverage Sales and Obesity Prevention,” that does little to bolster the case for A.B. 1678. The LAUSD report actually notes a comparable percentage of “unauthorized snack foods” sold by the schools themselves (34 percent of schools observed by auditors sold “unhealthy” foods) as by food trucks (43 percent). And the number sold in schools may be higher, depending on other data in the report. The report also includes among the “unauthorized and unhealthy foods” sold by food trucks these two: “corn on the cob” and “juices.”

As in the graduate students’ report, the LAUSD audit finds parents at the center of many food truck purchases. “[P]arents who were waiting for their children” were the first group of food truck consumers listed.

None of the materials CFPA provided me appear to support the notion that students are leaving school during lunchtime to purchase “unhealthy” food from mobile vendors. In fact, the CFPA reports—including a third that concludes food trucks contribute to “after-school snacking”—note only that vendors appear at schools before and after school.

 Find the entire article by Baylen Linnekin at reason.com <here>

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Cantine California

PARIS, FRANCE - When Kristin Frederick launched Le Camion Qui Fume (which means ‘The Smoking Truck’) in Paris last November selling gourmet burgers, she became the first to introduce the concept to the City of Light — a bastion of haute cuisine and home to a constellation of Michelin stars.
For months she’s enjoyed food truck monopoly in Paris, where a community of underground foodie hipsters, expats and bloggers quickly helped catapult her to mainstream fame with write-ups in French daily Le Monde and the New York Times Magazine.
But last week, a new food truck rolled into town. Expat Jordan Feilders, also from Los Angeles, launched his own mobile restaurant dubbed Cantine California.
While it may be presumptuous to proclaim the arrival of a second mobile restaurant a food revolution in Paris, the fact that both have enjoyed such fast success could point to larger forces at play. Namely, that lunch hours in Paris are no longer ceremonial, leisurely affairs that last for hours.
In fact, a survey published last year by social protection group Malakoff Médéric, found that the French now take on average a 22-minute lunch break, compared to an hour and a half 20 years ago.
But despite the drastically shortened lunch hours, there are few take-out places other than fast-food and bakery options, a void Frederick said she noticed right away and knew she could fill.
After watching a group of men in business suits zip into McDonald’s for a quick take-out meal –- “probably not what they wanted to eat” –- Frederick said she knew the city was ready for street food.
Feilders is also optimistic that the food truck idea will stick in Paris. People are open to embracing a “non-conventional” way of having lunch, he says. But the French also have a deep appreciation for Americana, despite the sometimes cantankerous grumblings they can cast across the Atlantic.
This is especially true of the all-American food icon, the mighty burger, which in recent years has become a menu staple in Paris bistros and brasseries.
In addition to burgers which are made with organic beef, and hand-cut fries, Feilders’ Cantine California also serves authentic Mexican fare like carnitas tacos, enchiladas, red velvet cupcakes and milk shakes.
Like Frederick, Feilders’ food truck was inspired by the explosive trend observed in Los Angeles. The mixed menu is meant to reflect his Cali roots and promote the values which are in vogue there, he said:  fresh, organic, ethical consumption.
After finding an organic supplier for all the animal products -–eggs, beef, bacon, pork -–and some of the veggies like potatoes and lettuce, Feilders worked with a boulangerie to fashion a Brioche-like Ramadan bread into a facsimile of a hamburger bun.
Tortillas are also hand-pressed for authenticity and spices for tacos imported from Mexico.
Meanwhile, burgers at Le Camion Qui Fume come topped with everything from wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and aged Gruyère cheese (Campagne) to cheddar, bacon, onion rings and barbecue sauce (Barbecue).
Launching a food truck is a big departure for the classically trained chef, who went to culinary school in Paris and worked in Michelin-starred restaurants like Apicius in France and Spago in Los Angeles.
When asked if there’s room for two food trucks in the city of Paris, meanwhile, Frederick — who says she knows of her competition but doesn’t know them personally –- laughed it off with a ringing affirmative. “Paris is a big city.”

Find the original story <here>

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monning

A bill aimed at restricting mobile food vendors access to schools “will not proceed further this year” according to a press release from Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel.

The bill , which was introduced by Monning in February, would prohibit itinerant food sellers — such as food trucks or ice-cream push carts — from coming within 1,500 feet of elementary and secondary school campuses from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. school days.

Mobile food vendors and their supporters statewide attacked the measure, fearing its strict limitations could put them out of business.

“Mobile food vending that targets students near school campuses remains a pressing issue,” Monning said in his press release. “The challenge before us is working with a diverse group of stakeholders to establish a shared understanding about the adverse impacts of these practices and the necessity of a statewide legislative solution.”

 

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sactomofologo?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Last Tuesday, Assemblymember Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced AB 1678, a bill intended to prevent students from eating their lunch at food trucks instead of the school cafeteria. As it’s currently written, AB 1678 would ban food trucks from parking within 1,500 feet of any school. The state bill resembles a similar ordinance passed in Novato in December — and at first glance seems similar to San Francisco’s current street-food ordinance, which prevent food trucks from parking on public property within 1,500 feet of middle schools and high schools.

But the differences between current city regulations and the new bill, argues San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, are considerable. In fact, he calls the AB 1678 “terrible.” “The state law applies to elementary schools as well as middle schools and high schools, and that doesn’t make sense,” Wiener says. “I don’t know any elementary schools that allow their students to leave campus for lunch — and there are many more elementary schools in town.”
Just to give you a sense of what we’re talking about, 1,500 feet is about three city blocks.

“We’re having a map drawn now,” Wiener adds, “but it looks like [expanding the limit to] 1,500-hundred feet from all schools would knock out the bulk of the city from having access to food trucks.” Off the Grid organizer Matt Cohen adds that San Francisco’s ordinance only covers food trucks parked on the street, while the proposed state legislation is written loosely enough that it might cover private property and parks as well.

It’s clear that the legislation was drafted by someone who doesn’t live in the second-densest major city in the county. In addition, critics of AB 1678 have already pointed out that fast food outlets are not subjected to the same 1,500-foot rule.

Find the entire article by Jonathan Kauffman and SactoMofo petition link <here>

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Drewskis

SACRAMENTO, CA - In an effort to fight obesity, California public schools have spent the past few years banning junk food on campus and bringing in healthier choices for kids as mandated by national standards.

But school administrators said a new food trend is undermining their efforts: mobile food trucks.

Some districts are appalled they pull right up next to a school and sell food students typically can’t get on campus.

“We serve fruits and vegetables every single day. We’re mandated to. We have limits on how much fat our meals can have, how much sodium, how much sugar,” California School Nutrition Association Rene Yamashiro said.”We there’s a food truck right outside the school, they do not have to follow any of those national standards.”

Democratic Assembly member Bill Monning introduced a bill that would ban food trucks from parking within 1,500 feet of a school between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Some cities already have a similar ban in place.

Food vendors are upset because they don’t all sell bad food.

They think it’s unfair considering many schools are right by fast food restaurants or convenience stores where junk food is widely available.

“You have a McDonald’s right next to the high school I went to, a donut shop,” Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen’s Andrew Blaskovich said. “What’s healthier? A Drewski’s sandwich we made from scratch. Anything we do is made that day. Nothing is processed or frozen.”

Find the entire article by Nannette Miranda <here>

 

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Let’s start with the definition of Workers’ Compensation insurance…

Workers’ Compensation – provides protection to the employer against liability imposed by law to pay benefits to any worker injured in the course of and arising out of employment, without regard to fault or negligence on the employer’s part or any other person.  

keys

Workers’ Compensation insurance is usually the last thing a food truck client purchases from me. You need Auto insurance to register the truck or to pick up the truck from the manufacturer. You need General Liability if you plan on showing up to a private lot or food truck event. You may ask yourself when is Workers’ Compensation required? Most new food trucks start out with just the owners operating the truck and are not required to have Workers’ Compensation. However, from the moment you hire that first employee…you are required by law in almost all states (check laws in your particular state) to have Workers’ Compensation coverage.

Now before there were gourmet food trucks, traditional catering trucks would go around town serving food to construction and industrial workers. It was a white catering truck with with no signage, no brand, no website, no  following and standard food offerings. If an employee got badly injured and there was no Workers’ Compensation…well then you just fold up shop and start a new entity. Plus the truck was likely leased so there was no real asset tied to the business. So imagine you fail to purchase Workers’ Compensation for your food truck employees in today’s gourmet food truck age. You have spent a ton of time creating a concept, building a website, creating a menu, getting permits, tweeting and building a solid customer base. If your employee gets injured, can you really afford to just fold the business?? If you said no, then you need to purchase Workers’ Compensation insurance.

I recommend looking up in your specific state what the fines are for not having Workers’ Compensation in place. In California, there is a $1,500 penalty per employee without Workers’ Compensation and other applicable fines. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/dwc_home_page.htm

Perhaps you will try to make your employees independent contractors. In almost all instances there is no such thing as an independent contractor on a food truck. So that isn’t a way out. Perhaps your family or friends are helping, well they are still considered employees. An employee is defined as someone you engage or permit to work. Plus if a friend or family member seriously gets injured and racks up medical bills from helping out on the truck…do you think they won’t sue you?

Now that you realized you may need to purchase Workers’ Compensation, I want to inform you about some things you should know before you get a policy started. Workers’ Compensation premiums are calculated by the class code rate and the amount of gross wages paid to the employee. Premium costs range (as of 8/2011) from 4.5%-8% of total payroll. As a business owner, you must provide an estimated annual wage amount at the beginning of a policy. At the end of a policy, an audit will be performed to determine the actual premium due based on actual wages paid. In order to perform this audit, a business owner is required to provide the owners names, employees’ names, actual gross wages and likely quarterly IRS 941 reports for all four quarters during the coverage period.

IF you pay your employees under the table, that IRS 941 form will likely be an issue. You can’t just report only some employees payroll to the state. If you aren’t reporting all payroll to the state or insurance carrier, well then that is fraud and we all know what that could mean.

I hope this helps every food truck operator realize the need to get a Workers’ Compensation policy in place. I encourage you to reach out to me if you want to discuss the topic in more detail or need a quote.

Matt Carlson is an Insurance Broker at Risk Strategies Company (RSC) and specializes in insurance and risk management solutions for food trucks/catering trucks and restaurants across the United States. He is a foodie and second generation commercial insurance broker. He provides his clients with General Liability, Auto, Workers’ Compensation and other coverages. Matt currently insures over 30+ food trucks across the country. Some of his more notable clients are Kogi BBQ and the Grilled Cheese Truck. Visit www.cateringtruckinsurance.com to download a quote application. You can also go to www.risk-strategies.com to learn more about the Top 100 national insurance broker he represents.

 

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