“You know, we’ve spent two years trying to get improved vending regulations, and anything short of passing new regulations, it’s going to be a failure of the process,” Kristi Whitfield, owner of Curbside Cupcakes and executive director of the DCTA, told the Washington City Paper recently.
Ms. Vargas noted that when the city invited comments on the proposed regulations, it received so many that officials extended the deadline for another day and counted more than 3,200 responses.
Cost of doing business
The crew members of Feelin‘ Crabby? say they generally work well with city officials and police — but not always. With parking meters being closely monitored by D.C. police and lines of hungry customers to wait on, parking tickets are hard to avoid.
“If [a spot] opens up, then I’ll take it,” said Mr. Tsamouras. “If not, then I’ll take the ticket. The spot is definitely not worth leaving. I view it as a cost of doing business,” he said.
While the food trucks compete fiercely for prime curbside spots and customers, they also tend to get along.
“There’s a camaraderie between food truck owners,” said the crab chef. “The whole association has done an awesome job of working with legislation to get things passed in our favor to make it fair. I’m really glad I joined, I like working with them.”
With as many as 30 people in line at one time, Mr. Tsamouras said he and his crew strive to prepare their sandwiches or salads in 30 seconds or less.
“The challenge is getting the product out quickly,” he said. “It’s all about timing, we have to be able to prep it quick.”
Gaining customers isn’t as hard as it can be for a sit-down restaurant. Most food trucks utilize social media platforms to attract customers and alert them to where they are going to be that day. Feelin‘ Crabby? boasts of having more than 1,700 followers on Twitter.
A study in 2011 released by Technomic, an organization that tracks the food industry, revealed that “91 percent of consumers polled who are familiar with food trucks say they view the trend as having staying power and not a passing fad.”
Mr. Tsamouras said food trucks are here to stay, because of their popularity, steadily improving fare and ease of access.
“With the amount of people who like food trucks and who visit food trucks, I don’t think you can take something like that away from them,” he said.
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