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Washington DC

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fojol bros busWASHINGTON DC - Fojol Brothers, one of the pioneers of D.C.’s new generation of mobile vendors, closed the last of its three food trucks last Friday.

Founder Justin Vitarello says the vehicles, which were built in the 1950s and ’60s, were so old that the cost of repairs and the difficulty of finding replacement parts made them no longer worth operating. “The amount of money to keep them all running, we’re just not seeing the return,” he says. The cold winter also hurt business, and Vitarello wants to spend more time with his son and his friends after more than five years on the road.

Vitarello had already taken two Fojol’s trucks off the road this winter, but when the transmission died on the last truck, “that was the nail in the coffin.” While some truck operators worried that the mobile vending regulations that went into effect near the end of last year would hurt them—and one even blamed the new rules for its closure—Vitarello says they weren’t a factor in his decision. “We were selling well,” he says.

Plans for Fojol Brothers’ Elastic Hallways—buses converted into dining cars and multipurpose spaces—are on hold, but Vitarello says he may rent them out or tour them around for events.

Find the entire article at washingtoncitypaper.com <here>

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Alexandria, Washington DC, Colonial Heights and Secaucus.

January 24

City of Alexandria pushes for food trucks - ALEXANDRIA, VA - Attention foodies! Alexandria’s days of being a food truck desert may be numbered. There’s a new push to clear the road for curbside cooking in the city. Right now, food trucks are banned unless parked at construction sites or given special event permits.

Find the entire article <here>

How Twitter accounts are the new food truck – WASHINGTON DC - It takes a brave soul to launch a restaurant as a majority fail within a few years. A less risky approach for the aspiring food entrepreneur is to open a food truck. The financial commitment is significantly smaller. If the food truck proves itself and builds a following, those customers are likely to follow it to an eventual restaurant, boosting its chances of success there.

Find the entire article <here>

January 25

No food trucks for Colonial Heights – COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA - It’s becoming trendy to get lunch and even sometimes – depending on where in the country you live – dinner from a truck. But, residents of Colonial Heights won’t have much opportunity to do that in the near future.

Find the entire article <here>

January 26

The Food Truck Super Bowl – SECAUCUS, NJ - For three days prior to this Sunday’s first NJ Super Bowl, 30 of the area’s best food trucks will hold their own Super gathering in Secaucus’ Buchmuller Park, just a few miles from MetLife Stadium. The Winter Blastwill show that ”food trucks have come of age,” says organizer Jon Hepner.

Find the entire article <here>

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Phoenix, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and York.

Off the Wire Food Truck NewsDecember 20

Food trucks: Good route to opening a restaurant? – PHOENIX, AZ - The food-truck phenomenon is taking over, from Food Network programs to weekly gatherings of food trucks of all kinds here in Phoenix.

But the trucks, which dish up everything from exotic fare to American staples, are expensive, and whether or not the investment ultimately pays off from a business standpoint depends on the restaurateur.

Find the entire article <here>

Ricky’s Fish Tacos debuts new food truck: It’s go time – LOS ANGELES, CA - Ricky’s Fish Tacos is finally legit. As of noon today, Ricky Pina, who makes some of the best fish tacos in Southern California, started handing out orders from a state-of-the-art, diesel-fueled shiny food truck. It’s a big move from a makeshift tarp and fold-up tables in a parking lot.

Find the entire article <here>

December 21

New CapMac owner says truck could return to GW by February – WASHINGTON DC - The new CapMac owner has more good news for mac and cheese fans – not only will the truck return within a few weeks, but GW will also be one of its first stops.

Twenty-one-year-old Josh Warner said the popular food truck will hit the streets by February, and may choose GW as its first location to usher in the new ownership.

Find the entire article <here>

December 22

York hot dog vendor worries about license lottery, future of his business – YORK, PA - The last few weeks have been an “emotional roller coaster ride” for Darren Borodin.

The single father of three has spent the past two years selling hot dogs on Continental Square in York City, a business that generates enough income to support his family and leaves enough time to put his kids on the school bus in the morning and tuck them in at night.

Find the entire article <here>

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bitcoin food trucksWASHINGTON DC - It’s no longer a question of whether food trucks take cash or credit. Peruvian Brothers is now the first D.C.-area food truck (and second in the country)  to take the digital currency Bitcoin.

What and huh? Well, remember the Winklevoss twins, the Harvard rowers best known for suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for stealing their idea for a social networking site? The twins, Tyler and Cameron, are Bitcoin investors and also happen to be good friends with Peruvian Brothers co-founders Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone. Giuseppe competed with the Winklevii on the U.S. rowing team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as other world rowing championships. They raced against each other back in college, too, and have gone on cycling trips in California together.

“They were like, ‘Why don’t you try Bitcoin on your food truck?’ We’ve been friends for a very long time, and I trust what they do,” Giuseppe says. He figured food trucks already embrace plenty of mobile technology. Why not Bitcoin?

Here’s how it works: You have to have a smartphone app called BitPay, which creates a QR code specific to your BitPay account. When you’re ready to pay, just say you’re paying with Bitcoin and scan the QR code.

The Peruvian Brothers truck isn’t out today because of the weather, but you can start using your cryptocurrency on pan con chicharron tomorrow. The price of one Bitcoin has been trading at around $800 to $900, meaning the most expensive thing on Peruvian Brothers’ menu ($10) would cost around 1/100th of a Bitcoin.

Find the original article by Jessica Sidman at washingtoncitypaper.com <here>

Read more in the press release below:

Winklevoss Brothers convince the Peruvian Brothers Food Truck to accept Bitcoin

Peruvian Brothers: Washington D.C.’s First Food Truck to Accept Digital Currency

Budding entrepreneurs Giuseppe and Mario Lanzone are launching the DC food truck scene into the next era of commerce.  Starting December 9thPeruvian Brothers food truck will become the first mobile vendor in the nation’s capital to accept the cutting edge of cryptocurrency: Bitcoin.  In an industry that has flourished under the digital age, food truck customers can track down their favorite foods prepared in a mobile kitchens using social media and geo-location, order their favorite dish and pay for their meal, all with their smartphone.

HOW IT WORKS:  PB loving customers order their favorite “comida criolla” flavors from the Peruvian Brothers food truck and upon seeing the PB QR Code signifying that they are a Bitcoin friendly vendor, simply inform the teller that they will be paying digitally.  Currently, Peruvian Brothers are utilizing Bitpay as a merchant interface through an iPhone app that creates a QR code specific to its BitPay account.  For every transaction, BitPay creates a unique address in the form of a QR code that reflects the real time exchange rate for the amount of Bitcoin/USD the truck is requesting in exchange for food.  Customers will then scan that QR code with their smartphone and approve the transaction using whatever Bitcoin wallet they have.

When accepting a payment using Bitcoin, Peruvian Brothers has the option to transfer the USD amount directly to their bank account to keep a seamless line of cash flow or keep their Bitcoins as an investment that they can later cash in depending on the ever-fluctuating value of the digital currency.

WHY:  A smart lead from Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Giuseppe’s Olympic Rowing teammates and close friends with a knack for knowing what’s hot in the tech world, sent PB back to the drawing room to implement the latest craze in digital currency.  With their tech-savvy guidance, Peruvian Brothers are rolling out an easy vending solution that offers lower payment processing and more secure transactions.  For a small business, these perks are unmatched.  In the simplest transaction, a sandwich is sold for Bitcoin which is then instantly sold to Bitpay for its current USD market value, insulating the vendor from the fluctuations in the Bitcoin market and charging a fraction of the traditional credit card exchange rates.  The result is more profit for the loving attention put into each and every one of the Peruvian Brothers signature Pan Con Chicharronand Quinoa Salads.

FIND THE TRUCK: To sample their authentic Peruvian fare, visit www.peruvianbrothers.com; Twitter@PeruBrothers and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PeruvianBrothers.  And don’t forget to bring along your Bitcoin wallet.

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strike 3 umpireWASHINGTON DC - In early October, Josh Saltzman and Trent Allen pulled their PORC truck off the streets after assessing just how hard the government shutdown was hitting the food truck industry. The barbecue vendor hasn’t been seen in the District since.

Today, Saltzman confirmed the obvious: PORC is toast.

“I love that truck but at the same time, it’s a pain in the butt,” says Saltzman, who launched PORC in January 2011. “It’s definitely not a decision we liked making.”

The truck was the odd business out for Saltzman and Allen, who are partners in the Kangaroo Boxing Club bricks-and-mortar spinoff, which is preparing for a major expansion next year. In February or March, the barbecue joint on 11th Street NW will begin construction to add a rooftop deck and covered second-floor dining room, more than doubling its current indoor seating capacity of 40. Saltzman expects KBC to shut down briefly during construction.

Find the entire article by Tim Carman at the Washington Post <here>

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dc food truck lotteryWASHINGTON DC - This week, Washington DC implemented new rules for food trucks that operate in the city. The requirements include dedicated spots for food trucks, and a lottery system by which the locations are assigned. There are 95 spots available in eight locations, including Farragut Square, Franklin Square, George Washington University, L’Enfant Plaza, Capitol Riverfront, Metro Center, Union Station, and Virginia Avenue/State Department.

The new rules are not popular with some, even resulting in a critical response from the Editorial Board of the Washington Post, who said of the rules “Now District regulators are threatening to choke [the food trucks’ industry] growth…

“Food truck associations from across the country wrote a letter to the D.C. Council warning that the regulations “would transform the District overnight from a leader in mobile vending to one of the worst food-truck cities in the nation.” Some food truck operators are threatening to bolt the District for what they see as more hospitable environs in Arlington, while others fear they may go out of business.”

Supporters of the new regulations point to its smooth roll out. “By and large, we’re very pleased with the way this has rolled out so far,” said Doug Povich, co-owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound trucks and chairman of the DMV Food Truck Association, to the Washington Business Journal. “The trucks I’ve spoken with here are happy they don’t have to get here at 9:30 [a.m.] and fight for spaces.”

According to the Washingtonian, the regulations are backed by strict penalties, “Approximately 200 food trucks are licensed in DC, 107 of which have been allocated spots.

Find the entire article at the Washington Times <here>

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dc food truck lotteryWASHINGTON DC - A lottery system for food truck operators in the District of Columbia is about to start.

The new system, which begins today, will allot assigned spaces to participating trucks for their exclusive use every weekday. They’ll be able to park in the spaces for four hours.

District officials say the lottery is intended to bring predictability to the city’s food truck scene, which until now has permitted operators to park wherever they choose.

The assigned spaces are located in spots where trucks tend to congregate to serve the lunch crowd, including Franklin Square, Farragut Square, L’Enfant Plaza and Metro Center.

Trucks that don’t participate can still sell food on district streets, but they have to stay at least 200 feet away from the designated locations and pay parking meter fees.

So in other terms…the government has gotten into the business of playing a game with small business owner’s livelihood. With this new lottery system truck owners will have to “win” a parking space? This may be one of the worst ideas we’ve seen a city come up with to “eliminate” food truck concerns from restaurant owners. It’s no wonder two of the most popular DC area food trucks have closed their service windows for good in recent weeks.

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cirque cuisine dc food truck

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

WASHINGTON DC - Just a week after CapMac food truck called it quits, the owners of Cirque Cuisine are taking their truck off the road as well. Thursday will likely be the last day for the truck, which was known for its regularly rotating organic meals and former-clown founders.

Sean Swartz and Jessica Shields say the main factor in their decision was the introduction of new food truck regulations, which passed this summer after a long and contentious fight. Beginning Dec. 1, the city will roll out “mobile roadway vending zones” that designate places where trucks are allowed to park. The trucks have already entered a lottery system to determine which parking spaces they’re allowed to vend from for the month. That’s where the worries started for Swartz and Shields: two of the five days of the week, they were assigned to locations (Farragut and the State Department area) where they had never really gone to and had never built a following. Fridays, they didn’t even get a spot in the assigned vending zones, meaning they have to stay at least 200 feet away from the zones.

“It’s just too much,” Swartz says. “We spent three years really fighting really hard to develop a real faithful and loyal following at the locations that we go to and people know us and expect us to be at certain locations on certain days.”

Their frustrations were fueled further when Swartz and Shields had to bring in all of their staff to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to get new licenses. “That itself was a logistical nightmare,” Swartz says. “Every time you go in there, you get told something different…It’s just a typical D.C. bureaucratic nightmare.”

Find the entire article by Jessica Sidman at washingtoncitypaper.com <here>

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In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this past weekend from Mackinaw, Washington DC, Flagler Beach and Rutgers University.

Off the Wire Food Truck NewsOctober 25

While Local Governments Fight Food Trucks, State Subsidizes Some of Them - MACKINAW, MI - Food trucks are a growing part of the cuisine scene in Michigan and nationwide, but should the government be picking winners and losers among truck owners?

A program from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. does just that.

Find the entire article <here>

Failing to display licenses, campus food trucks violate D.C. code – WASHINGTON DC - More than a half dozen food trucks that frequented campus last week failed to post their health code licenses, putting them in violation of D.C. regulations.

Tokyo in the City, House of Falafel, Yumpling, Yellow Vendor, Village Cafe Express, Surfside and DC Latino failed to meet the city’s requirements to publicly post their credentials, and most could not produce the documents when asked by a Hatchet reporter.

Find the entire article <here>

October 26

Food trucks debate highlights philosophical differences – FLAGLER BEACH, FL - The Flagler Beach City Commission came to a verbal agreement at its Thursday night meeting to bar mobile food vendors from easements along State Road 100 and Oceanshore Boulevard, but sent the rest of a proposed ordinance on mobile food vendors back to City Attorney Drew Smith for revision.

Find the entire article <here>

October 27

Rutgers Food Trucking after 30+ Years – RUTGERS UNIVERSITY, NJ - Long before they were all the rage across the U.S., food trucks were a staple of the Rutgers University dining scene. They remain a popular part of the university’s landscape, and on any given day (or night), students, faculty, staff and visitors can pick up $6 or $7 sandwiches packed with mozzarella sticks, french fries, chicken nuggets, bacon or onion rings (or all of the above!). The sandwiches have names like “Fat Cat,” “Fat Russian,” and of course the “Fat Mom” and “Fat Dad.”

Find the entire article <here>

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Truckeroo Navy Yard ShootingWASHINGTON DC - Many of DC’s food truck owners have been negatively affected by the current government shutdown because furloughed government employees are cutting their dining budgets. This fact hasn’t stopped the Food Truck Association from holding their monthly Truckeroo food truck festival.

This month the event doubled as a fundraising event to help support the victims of last months Navy Yard shooting.

Che Ruddell-Tabisola, the co-owner of the BBQ Bus and political director for the Food Truck Association, said they collected more than $1,700. “We were genuinely touched by people’s generosity, especially in light of the shutdown,” he said in an email. “More than a couple people tossed $10s and $20s in the donation jars. There were some unexpectedly touching moments too. One individual having lunch shared with us that she lost two coworkers in the shooting and thanked us for collecting donations.”

The proceeds of the event will be sent to the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region’s fund. They will then be given directly to victim’s families.

via DCist.com

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