Reno, NV: City Council Could Put The Brakes On Food Trucks

By Terri Russell  | KOLO  TV

Jessie handing out a great sandwich at GourMelt.

If you like to eat lunch or a late night snack from the mobile food trucks around town, that meal may no longer be available to you. That’s if Reno’s City Council approves new regulations.

RENO, NV – Late Friday night on Sierra Street and Rex Lee is busy serving up chili, pizza, and hot dogs.

He’ll be here until about four in the morning.

“I’m not competing against the brick and mortar. They are closed up, locked up gone home, and having a great time. While we are out here handling a market that is not being covered,” says Rex Lee from Pedal Express.

But that’s not how some restaurants and some in the city view it.

To them, food trucks that operate from parking lots, at various times of the day and night are working at an unfair advantage over restaurants.

That’s the reason for a new set of proposed regulations—regulations food truckoperators say will effectively put them out of business.

But don’t expect these small business owners to drive off into the sunset.

At Dish Restaurant, about two dozen food truck operators met to talk about mobilizing an effective opposition to at least a portion of the regulations.

Take for instance the amount of time a truck can stay in one place.

“The 2 hour time limit would be huge. Its two hours a day and that would cut into our business by one-third,” says Jessie Watner and Haley Wood, owners of the grilled cheese sandwich truck Gourmelt.

Gourmelt received national attention for the grilled cheese sandwiches served from the truck.

While they don’t work at night, many of these other trucks operators do.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit those trucks from operating after ten at night.

“For me it would take me out of the equation,” says Lee.

Other regulations that concern health applications, insurance, and business licenses they group says are already on the books.

“Coming from, I’m not exactly sure, but I think that there is a fear from the brick and mortar that trucks are going to take the business. And I would say to that, you know you have to compete,” says Nancy Horn, owner of Dish Restaurant.

Dish Restaurant finds itself in unique situation. A brick and mortar operation, Nancy and her husband just purchased a truck at a cost of about $100,000 to service other parts of town.

Now with these possible regulations come into play that investment could go down the drain.