Sydney’s fleet of food trucks will become a permanent fixture after a successful two-year trial run by the City of Sydney.
After strong support from Sydneysiders – and enquiries from more than 600 potential operators – Council last night voted to make its food truck program permanent and encourage even more to get on the road.
The City of Sydney will issue permits for up to 50 innovative operators to take to the streets over the next two years, with a food truck design panel being established to assess the quality of applicants’ vehicle designs and menus.
More locations across the city will also be made available for the trucks to trade.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said supporting Sydney’s emerging food truck culture was part of the City’s plan to create a safer and more diverse late-night economy.
“The Sydney Food Trucks program is a great example of how innovative ideas can create a brand new industry and transform the experience of dining after dark,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Not only are the trucks generating new business and creating jobs across the city, they’re also giving Sydneysiders fantastic new late-night dining options that simply didn’t exist a few years ago.
“Over the two-year trial period, the trucks have been embraced by locals and visitors alike, and we’ve been swamped with enquiries from potential operators keen to set up their own food truck business.
“We’re delighted to commit our long-term support for this exciting new industry, and look forward to seeing even more trucks hit the streets soon.”
The Sydney Food Trucks trial emerged from the City’s OPEN Sydney consultation program in 2011, when Sydneysiders said they wanted more accessible, affordable and diverse late-night eating options.
Following a rigorous selection process – including a cook-off judged by Sydney’s top food critics – the first truck, Cantina Mobil, started trading in May 2012.
The nine trucks now in operation offer everything from yum cha to gourmet vegetarian burgers, and serve an average of 1,700 customers each every month.
The program has also won its share of prestigious awards, including the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide award for innovation and an FBi SMAC Award.
The Sydney Food Trucks app, which launched in October 2012, has been downloaded more than 51,000 times and receives an average 650 visits each day.
Demand has grown so high that the trucks have joined forces to hold a ‘Food Trucks United’ festival in Belmore Park near Central Station on the first Friday night of every month.
City staff have briefed more than 20 other councils on the success of the program to date, and how they can start programs in their own area.
A survey of food truck customers conducted last year found that 92 per cent of people thought the trucks made an area feel more welcoming, and 72 per cent thought they increased an area’s safety.
More than one-third of people surveyed said they would have eaten at home if not at a food truck, showing the program is generating new business.
A loyal food truck following was also revealed, with trucks specially sought out by 44 per cent of customers. Eighteen per cent said they ate at a food truck at least once a week.
Information about the trucks, regularly updated menus and a real-time location map can be found at sydneyfoodtrucks.com.au or by downloading the free Sydney Food Trucks smartphone app.