NYC’s Food Cart Black Market

Food Cart

New York City’s food cart market is booming, from hot dogs and pretzels to coffee and bagels. But the dark underbelly of that market may come as a surprise to some, even as it sits right under their nose.

Food cart vendors, many of whom are new immigrants looking for a better life, work in excess of nine hours a day, six or seven days a week — and average less than $85 a day. Day laborers, shift workers, and even those owning their own carts are finding themselves trapped in a downward spiral, not even earning minimum wage.

Part of the black mark on the business of NYC food carts is the fact that even though a vendor may own the food cart and have a vendor’s license, it is someone else who controls the mobile food vending permit. This permit is used for financial leverage, forcing the vendor to share a portion of the food cart earnings (up to 40 percent) with the other party. In some cases, the permit may not even be in the owner’s name — it is “leased” from another owner, with whom the business is split.

Note: According to NYC administrative code, permits cannot be sold or transferred. However, there are thousands doing just this in New York’s — a black market for cart permits worth an estimated $15 million to $20 million a year. Read more

Are Mobile Food Concepts Still on the Rise?

In this episode of On Foodable Weekly, brought to you by the Foodable Network, host Paul Barron discusses the trends and studies revolving around mobile concepts, including food trucks, food carts and pop-ups with AJ Barker, Concept Developer at Think Tank Hospitality Group. Learn why there is still a huge consumer demand for mobile food and how these units are continuing to be used as a launching pad for a brick and mortar, while also being added as a supplement to existing ones. Watch the video to also see how brands within all industries are using these concepts to market their products.

Food Cart Success Opens Brick and Mortar

The Portland food cart, Burrasca will be closing New Years day. The cart is known for serving Tuscan food, such as Spanish gnudi. The concept plans to open a brick and mortar in the spring of 2015.

The food cart also is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign to raise expenses for not only the upcoming restaurant opening, but to also do pop-up dinners. The chef behind the cart is Paolo Calamai and he plans to get some rest to prepare for the opening of Burrasca the restaurant. Do you think this is just the beginning for Burrasca? Read More

No 'Last Call' for Portland's Strong Food Cart Community

Foodable WebTV Network

Foodable WebTV Network

There’s a special place in our heart for street food. The hustle-and-bustle of the sidewalk met with smoky scents you can almost taste breeds a sense of humbleness. Community-surrounded carts boast simple yet flavorful offerings that are cheap in price, rich in value, and deep in family traditions (most often). And now, these food carts — in Portland especially — are taking things to the next level as the foodie landscape evolves.

Almost a third of Portland’s food cart pods are now serving alcohol. And it doesn’t seem to be a trend, but a mainstay — just like the food cart pods themselves. “Like the craft breweries, independent coffee shops, artisan food ventures and crafty DIY startups, food carts — love ’em or hate ’em — are part of the city’s fabric and economic engine,” reported the Portland Tribune. Read More