Saturday, January 10, 2009

City Beat: More than just hot dogs?

I recall an announcement a while back that city officials were planning on allowing street cart food vendors in Toronto to sell more than just hot dogs and sausages. I hadn't realized this was regulated, but I guess I should have figured out that if there were no regulation, somebody would be out there selling something a little more interesting than street meat by now. This morning I came across an article by Dave McGinn in the Globe and Mail about obstacles to the new plan.

Potential licensees are complaining that there are too many rules, and also that the fees are way too high. If you want to run a cart selling alternative foods, you have to buy one of three different carts that cost between $15,000 and $28,000. On top of that there is a loction fee between $5,000 and $15,000 and a $375.61 fee for the license. You have to sell a lot of fajitas or pupusas or tamales or whatever you're cooking up to make any money.

I support health regulations on these carts. I think you should be well assured that if you buy a tasty treat from a food cart that you won't end up in the hospital. I don't understand why vendors need to use a particular cart. What if you wanted to build your own, or have a more interesting or artistic food cart? Why not simply have some basic safety and size specs in the regulations. Finally, if the fees are too high, it's only going to drive down the quality because vendors will need to find margin somewhere.


Anonymous said...

or you could just eat at home :-)

Candy Minx said...

Last week there was a New York article about this...a vendor (hotdogs?) outside the Met pays 310,000 a year to secure it's licence.