While food trucks have been embraced in Austin and can be found clustered throughout the city, Houston food truck owners are struggling to change city ordinances that impose limits on their operations.
Yesterday, dozens of food truck operators and enthusiasts came before the Houston City Council to petition for changes in mobile food unit ordinance, which bans food trucks that use propane stoves and grills from operating in the busy downtown area.
The Houston Mobile Food Unit Collective has proposed that the mobile food unit ordinances be amended to allow trucks with propane tanks under 40 pounds to operate downtown, eliminate the required 60 feet of space between trucks and permit food trucks to provide up to three tables and six chairs for patrons.
Food truck proponents argue that the regulations on their businesses exist to prevent competition with the numerous restaurants downtown.
The council will vote on proposed changes to the ordinance in the coming weeks.
A report issued by the National Restaurant Association last year found that six in ten people surveyed would be likely to purchase a meal from a food truck. The Houston Mobile Food Unit Collective reports on its website that there were more than 3 million food trucks operating across the country in 2011.