Cedar Rapids, IA: Cedar Rapids mobile food vendor rules take big step forward

A food truck operating in Cedar Rapids in summer 2015.

By Dave Franzman  |  KCRG.com

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – Cedar Rapids city leaders took a big step forward on Tuesday to both regulate and encourage more mobile food vendors in the city.

The Cedar Rapids City Council approved the first reading of a mobile food vendor ordinance with a unanimous vote late Tuesday afternoon. Under the new ordinance, food vendors would need licenses and could not operate trucks between 2:30 and 6:30 in the mornings.

They would also not be able to leave trucks parked in locations overnight and would have to stay a certain distance away from restaurants or other food vendors who paid to take part in large outdoor festivals.

But supporters say the rules would provide clarity about the do’s and don’ts of operating food trucks and the regulations would be fairly easy to live with.

The city council has to pass the ordinance at two more readings before it takes effect. That’s scheduled to happen at a meeting in early June.

During the council hearing, no one spoke in opposition.

A food truck operating in Cedar Rapids in summer 2015.
A food truck operating in Cedar Rapids in summer 2015.

One mobile food vendor, Wendy Granger of Road Rooster, said she sets up her truck only at private businesses now. But after the ordinance passes, she’s heading downtown during the lunch hour.

“I think there are people on their way to starting their businesses and the way I see it the more the merrier and having a lot of food trucks in downtown would be really fun,” Granger said.

City staffers say as many as 60 food truck vendors showed up for informational meetings in April. But Granger doubts that many will take the next step and actually begin a mobile food truck business under the new rules.

But she does believe as many as three or four operators are ready to go now.