Washington News

Protectionism at play? Politicians say "unfair competition" .

John Stossel & Naomi Brockwell | December 12, 2017


Do you think politicians have the right to decide what is fair competition?  Do you think the Restaurant Association has politicial power with their donations?

See the short video here and share it with others!


New Health Department Advisory Council

12/12/2017 - WaFood Trucks.org


The new Food Safety Advisory Council has developed a form to intake your issues as a mobile food owner.  The health department form can be found below and can be submitted for dicussion and resolution at the next state meeting to be held on January 24th (time and location TBD).  For a detailed description of the purpose and goals of this new council and to see who are the stakeholders, click here.

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Sea-Tac City Update

11/20/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Per the City Planning Manger, they are going to begin discussing potential Municipal Code amendments regarding food trucks, with the City’s Planning Commission at their regularly-scheduled meeting next Tuesday, November 21, 2017. The meeting begins at 5:30pm in the City Council Chambers.   The Commission has been briefed on our issues and has been provided guidance, however we still have strong concerns based on their Plannning Commission packet which states they are considering allowing food trucks only on private property.  The Commission’s packet is posted to the City’s website and can be found here.  Stay tuned for more updates!

Bellingham Pilot Program Update

11/20/2017 - WaFood Trucks.org


The City of Bellingham decided to install  50-amp power access for food vendors, to relieve the food trucks from having to run generators during lunch service at the City Hall location.  This great downtown spot is one of 3-approved in the pilot program the Association started earlier this year, vendors can participate via the instructions found here: https://www.wafoodtrucks.org/bellingham-1/.

Per the City Planning Department: "it’s looking like we’ll likely make the pilot locations permanent, and have interested participants apply through a more streamlined right-of-way use permit.  We could consider expanding to additional locations as well, if there are areas of interest identified - - New draft regulations are being taken to the Council early next year.

SeaTac Airport Forced to Shut Down Food Trucks

10/26/2017 - WaFood Trucks.org


Six months ago, the Washington State Food Truck Association sent a proposal to the SeaTac airport introducing the idea of a small (3-month) pilot program that would bring one food truck to the cell phone waiting lot, twice a day, 5 to 7 days of the week.  This was not a new idea, in that several other international airports have done the same thing and have been highly successful.  The WSFTA and a couple people from the SeaTac airport Dining & Retail Services department spent 6-months working out the details necessary to start this program, which involved vetting all the vendors for health permitting, a hold harmless agreement, certificates of insurance, arranging a hand washing station to meet county health code, establishing an online schedule, a place for the community to comment, etc.


The launch day of Monday, October 2nd included 3-food truck vendors, one Port Commissioner, the Port press, several news & media outlets and many cell phone lot users waiting to pick up travelers.  The new program was very well received and no complaints were heard.  On Friday, the 13th, the program was shut down via a cease and desist letter from the City of SeaTac to the Port of Seattle.  One local coffee shop had alerted the SeaTac city council that bringing food trucks to the airport was unfair competition for his business.  The food trucks that had been doing Wednesday lunch at the Kilroy building, since June, were also told they could no longer vend inside the city limits.  The City has stated a ban on food trucks.


The city has since posted a PDF document (found below) answering food truck related questions, which includes their statement that food trucks bring unfair competition to existing restaurant businesses and in a Land Use committee meeting held last Thursday evening (Oct 26th), the Deputy Mayor Pam Fernald repeated this same point multiple times.  It was pointed out to the city, that for local government to decide fair competition is constitutionally impermissible as stated in many lawsuits in other parts of the country, for example this lawsuit in Austin, Texas: http://ij.org/case/san-antonio-vending/


We would like to shed light on the fact that the City of SeaTac’s position is to not allow food trucks due to not having "the same burdensome overhead as brick and mortar and it is unfair competition."  This is the stance a few other cities have recently taken here in Washington that include the City of Kent and Auburn.



Stay tuned for update! 



Increasing Fees

10/19/2017 - TPCHD


Pierce County plans to increase their mobie food vending fees again this year and has a plan to increase them in a three-year plan by 6 percent in 2018 and an additional 4 percent in both 2019 and 2020.  You can comment on this fee increase by email to Patricia Darden, pdarden@tpchd.org .  The Board of Health will vote on this increase on Nov. 8th.  The annual fee is going from $530 to $565 and the new plan review is changing to $765.  If you are tired of being considered a rolling ATM machine for local government fees, please send your email NOW. 


Guaranteed Paid Family Leave

10/10/2017 - Per The Seattle Times


Washington state is now among a handful of states that guarantee paid family leave, after Gov. Jay Inslee’s signing Wednesday of a bipartisan plan approved by the Legislature.  The measure offers eligible workers 12 weeks paid time off for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious medical condition of the worker or the worker’s family member beginning in 2020, or 16 weeks for a combination of both. An additional two weeks may be used if there is a serious health condition with a pregnancy.  Under the new law, both employers and employees pay into the system, and weekly benefits are calculated based on a percentage of the employee’s wages and the state’s weekly average wage — which is now $1,082 — though the weekly amount paid out would be capped at $1,000 a week.  Workers who earn less than the state average would get 90 percent of their income. Employees must work at least 820 hours before qualifying for the benefit.


Self-employed individuals who elect coverage pay only the employee share of the premiums, and employers with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from paying the employer share. Companies that already offer such programs can opt out, as long as they are at least equivalent to the state program.

Premiums of 0.4 percent of wages would start being collected on Jan. 1, 2019, with 63 percent paid by employees and 37 percent paid by the employers.

According to a Senate calculator, an employee who makes $50,000 a year would pay $2.42 a week, while their employer would pay $1.42 a week, for a weekly benefit of about $703.

Food Trucks Coming to Downtown Kent

09/13/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The Washington State Food Truck Association has partnered with the city of Kent to bring food trucks downtown, to the Town Square Plaza  at 426 West Smith Street starting Wednesday, September 20.


This location was chosen by both city planners and a handful of local food truck owners, and will offer food trucks the ability to park in the plaza on weekdays from 11am to 2pm to give downtown some new energy and bring unique food options to the area.  The food trucks are hoping to see a lot of foot traffic from the local courthouse, the city hall, the police and fire departments, commuters from the nearby transit station and students from the Green River Community College.  This new opportunity will run as a pilot program to see if this is a viable location and one that is popular with the community.  To see which trucks will participate and when, access the schedule via the Best Food Trucks website at BestFoodTrucks.com/lots/profile/828


In an effort to bring more vending opportunities to the ever-growing population of food trucks, the Washington State Food Truck Association has been working with city planners in many counties to find new and underserved locations for food trucks.  Small food truck lots or new designated parking sites can offer a distinctive dining experience because they are more casual than a sit-down restaurant and can bring even very diverse communities together.  Lori Johnson, the Director of the state food truck association says “I don’t see why we can’t build on the successes of the Seattle food trucks in other emerging markets like Kent.”


“Mayor Suzette Cooke says her staff is excited about new dining options downtown.  “The popularity of food trucks in other cities is well-known. We’re thrilled to bring this new dining experience to Kent.”



For vendors who wish to participate in this new pilot program, you will need to provide: a copy of your King County Health Department annual food permit, a certificate of insurance, and agree to the Association’s terms and conditions of the program.

The WSFTA Starts Work with City of Kent

07/31/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


"Bill Ellis wants to turn the industrial Kent Valley into an innovation district", states the Puget Sound Business Journal.  The Washington State Food Truck Association can also see the great potential for food trucks to bring more vitality to the corporate spaces in Kent, as well as other under serves areas.

"The transformation of the region, which is the fourth-largest center for manufacturing and distribution in the U.S., is already underway. Approximately 55,000 employees work for Amazon, Boeing, REI, Starbucks and other companies in the Kent Valley. Kent is the seventh-fastest-growing city in the U.S. and job growth is predicted to be as much as 40 percent in the next decade. Like their counterparts in South Lake Union, Amazon workers in Kent Valley want to grab lunch at food trucks and sip craft beer at a pub after work. Access to those amenities can be a recruiting tool for companies."  

The Association plans to offer some new vending opportunities in the 3rd largest city soon.

L & I Worker Classification Clarified for Food Trucks

07/25/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


If your food truck is not moving to different locations during the day, all operations are reported in 3905, base rate = .41. 1101 - (base rate = 2.15),  is for route food services that travel to various locations throughout the day.  Anyone with any exposure to the nature of the business is reportable in the basic classification, so any cashier or clean-up person would be reportable in 3905 in a food truck operation that doesn’t travel from place to place throughout the day. Even if the food truck is going to one location for the day then packs up and goes home, they would be reportable in 3905.


Anyone working in a route food service where the food truck is travelling from place to place throughout the day is reportable in 1101, regardless of activity, so yes, the cashier must be reported in 1101 also. The only exceptions are:

·       a worker who is preparing the food at the base location for distribution on the route food truck, which can be reported in 3905; and

·       clerical office or sales worker meeting criteria in WAC 296-17-31018: Exception classifications. Hours cannot be split between another class and these classifications; must have no exposure to the hazards of the business.

Food Trucks Are Added to Seahawks Training Camp

July 23, 2017 - WaFood Trucks.org


After months of communications with the Seahawks, we were able to get food trucks approved to participate at the training camp facility in Renton starting Sunday,  July 30th.  1-2 trucks will park each of the 11-training days inside the facility parking lot as 2500 fans arrive to watch our world-champion Seahawks train for the upcoming season.  Association members were solicited to submit a scaled down version of their street menu to the marketing team and the following vendors were chosen: Ezells, Lumpia World, Peoples Burger, Charlies Buns N Stuff, Tabassum, Meat on a Mission, NaanSense, Cathouse Pizza and the Silver Spork.  We are very excited to offer our supportive members such a cool opportunity in exchange for their participation.

Quarterly Public Health Seattle & King Cty Food Stakeholder Meeting

July 23, 2017 - WaFood Trucks.org


On Monday, July 16th the King County Health Department held a stakeholder meeting with a food truck panel.  Becky Alias first spoke about the new food safety rating system that has a phased roll out for restaurants.  Ratings are based on 4-separate inspections and 3300 restaurants now have their window rating smiley face decal. This system will be applied to food trucks by the county, but there is no timeline in place yet to incorporate restaurants on wheels.  The food truck panel consisted of James Barrington and Matt Davis of Woodshop BBQ, Henry, an inspector and John Shin, a King County plan review specialist.  They each spoke to the challenges and frustrations on each side of the plan review and approval process.  The lack of commissary kitchen space was a topic as well as clarifying that commissaries do not have to be a permitted facility, but that it is the permit for the mobile unit that covers the commissary facility.  This opens up the idea of using senior center kitchens, and other non traditional facilities that meet the county's requirements.  Another topic of discussion was the redundant need for a 3-compartment sink and the custom work required on most units coming from out of state.  Joe Graham, from the state department of health, confirmed that we have been bringing him enough food truck specific issues that they have decided to re-open the state retail food code to address needed changes since the code has not been open for change since 2011.  A new state-level stakeholder group will form and meetings set to begin in October.  We have been asked to appoint a few people to this group as we did with the state-level L & I stakeholder advisory panel.  Other people in attendance at the meeting included our FDA Pacific Region Retail Food Specialist (who mentioned there is now a national mobile food code), a food business specialist from the Ventures organization that offers an 8-week food truck program that is based on annual income, a quality assurance manager from the Compass Group, a rep from Seattle's Biz & Econ Development and 3-reps from the Washington State Food Truck Association.

State Food Truck Assoc Builds Brewery Partnerships in Auburn 

July 5, 2017– The Washington State Food Truck Association has partnered with two new brew options in downtown Auburn to bring you a variety of food truck menu options from local small business owners.

Scamp Brewery and Tap Room located on 16th St just held their official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on June 30th.  It is located next door to the very popular Evergreen Market pot shop and will have a schedule for food trucks to participate on Thursdays through Saturdays.  More information about Scamp Brewery can be found on their Facebook page here

CRFT Beers is a bottle shop and tasting room with 41-rotating taps and a popular Featured Brew Night on Thursdays.  To learn more about their events check their Facebook page here:  or their Twitter handle @CrftBeers.  Both locations are in high visibility areas with heavy traffic and are hoping to build their customer base with the popularity of the food truck and craft beer relationship.


Tacoma Update - No Pod Required

07/03/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


As many of you know, Tacoma launched its first food truck pod last March on Tacoma Ave S, with great (initial) success and a huge crowd of hundreds on the first day even with poor weather.  After only 2-weeks, the food truck owners were scared off by the violence of the homeless group that occupied space near the library, which the city had considered a "homeless hot spot" unknown to us at the Washington State Food Truck Association.


We then entered several weeks of back and forth with a city planner, who was not very willing to help us find a spot to relocate the food truck pod.  This is after each vendor participating paid a $225 fee that allowed them to park on public property (via new City Ordinance passed last year allowing mobile food vending in certain areas.)  This city planner said they were "flooded" with food truck complaints and she did not want to help further the life of food trucks in the downtown Tacoma area.

We filed a public records request of these complaints, which amounted to no more than 9 complaints filed.  They consisted of mostly abandoned food trucks in neighborhood, private property locations, and there was not one complaint of a permitted and licensed food truck on public property.  In addition, the city planner had initially told us that Tolefson Plaza would be a viable location and then when we requested to relocate there, she told us this was no longer an option and admitted to us, she is unhappy with her job and no longer wants to work in her current capacity.


The Association was quite determined to fight for the rights of these small business owners and find them a place to offer the residents and local business owners a great lunch option from their local gourmet food trucks, a population that continues to grow.  We spent several weeks to relocate the food truck pod over to 951 Broadway, where the Farmer's Market is held on Thursdays.  The new food truck pod would have run Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 am to 2pm as before, but no permitted vendors wanted to participate.  


We want to be sure licensed and permitted food trucks in Tacoma know that there are public spaces you can utilize on your own (do not need to be set up as a pod) and feel that this information is hard to find.  Please find below a map showing the approved locations (other locations may be approved by contacting us) and the requirements to park on public property.  When Tacoma vendors are ready for more scheduled organization, we are here and happy to support....

Approved FT Zones
Feb-2017-FTZonesMap (1).pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 266.5 KB
Tax & License requirements for street permit
FoodTruckVendorChecklist (1).pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 260.8 KB

Director's Trip to Washington DC

06/26/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Since 2010, the DMV (DC, Maryland & Virginia) Food Truck Association has been fighting for food truck small businesses. Founded by 17 owner/operators who defeated a proposed food truck moratorium, the FTA has quickly grown into one of the largest food truck associations in the country. Che Ruddell-Tabisola, who is known for being the most prominent voice of the DC movement (holds a Master's degree in international conflict analysis and led the national "Freedom to Marry" campaign) and their first full-time Executive Director spent an entire day showing me the complete "ins and outs" of the DC food truck community.  Not only did we eat from his famous BBQ Bus (which offers incredible smoked meats & sides), parked near the Capitol, we sampled the best from several other food trucks that are all regulated to be no more than 18.5-feet in length so as to fit in a metered parking space.   DC has many designated vending locations that were designed to revitalize spaces using the public right-of-way.  Food trucks that pay a non-refundable $25 dollar application fee are placed in a monthly location permit lottery, and then if chosen must pay a $150 location permit fee before being authorized to vend from the designated location.


Che also toured me through their most well designed and shared commissary kitchen and their local, custom food truck builder.  Founded in 2007, the East Coast Launch Pad manufactures dependable, long-lasting mobile food units and will deliver to anywhere in the country.  I have toured other builders, and I can honestly say these guys do incredible work AND build to each state's required specifications.  Best of all, they design and build Tavern trucks, which have yet to hit Washington.  These trucks (which vend for private catering gigs) are outfitted with an ice marker, speed rails, bar sink, and beer tap. A bar platform slides out and sets on the ground. There's also a full kitchen inside with a grill, six-burner range, refrigerator, and sandwich prep station. 


Another influential person I met in DC, was Alex Cooper, the events director for the DMV Association.  We spent 3-hours on a park bench in Faragut Square exchanging mobile food info from coast to coast.  Alex is tasked to organize the next annual convention in 2018, but is more famously known for being only one of two managers of the Spud Nation food truck expansion.  Before Spud Nation, in his United Kingdom homeland, Alex owned a profitable food truck business called Nom Catering. While developing this business, he was involved in the startup and creation of one of the first food truck associations in that nation, and has a long history in event management, specializing in conference and exhibition design. 

It is too hard to sum up all that I saw and learned from our partners in DC, but it was the most inspiring trip I have taken in years and can foresee many awesome things to come for our own mobile food industry here in Washington with enough support and participation!     ~ Lori Johnson

Yelm Food Truck Regs Adopted

06/13/2017 - Yelm Business Association


YBA President Cynthia Schmier commends everyone involved in seeing this proposal to fruition for Yelm.  “On behalf of the Yelm Business Assn. (YBA), I wish to recognize the hard work of Yelm’s Community Development Dept.,....The YBA also acknowledges the contributions of Washington Food Truck Assn. Executive Director Lori Johnson.” Yelm City Council adopts YBA-initiated Food Truck Regulations 

The Yelm City Council adopted Ordinance 1022 updating the Unified Development Code (UDC) this evening, implementing new and updated policies of the Comprehensive Plan with the following amendment: Section 16 shall be re-titled “A new section of the Unified Development Code shall be established at Chapter 18.71 YMC entitled Mobile Food Vending.”

For more click here

High Sales Tax May Figure in to Where U Run Your Small Biz

06/12/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Of the top 10 most populated counties in the state, King and Thurston counties enjoyed the largest overall taxable retail sales percentage increase. Renton and Spokane Valley saw the largest increase of the most populated cities.

More details found here.

Big changes coming to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

06/06/2017 - Alhasha McLean


Currently the only way the public is notified of a restaurant that has been closed for infractions is by a restaurant being “closed” for business. In Tacoma-Pierce County there are many restaurants that have incurred multiple infractions that are not known to the public until they are forced to close which is a great health concern for all. Even still the previous closures are not made public.

Beginning in four weeks a new service will roll out that will be able to provide an alert for any restaurant that has had to close for an infraction for more than 24 hours. System limitations have prevented them from being able to notify the public like King & Thurston County’s does via an email alert service. These counties can send an alert every time a restaurant is shut down including temporary closures. Keeping the public very informed. Tacoma-Pierce won’t be able to inform on temporary closures however 24 closures is a good start.

Tacoma's Food Truck Pod Relocates

05/25/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Tacoma launched its first food truck pod last March on Tacoma Ave S, with great (initial) success and a huge crowd on the first day even with poor weather.  After only 2-weeks, the food truck owners were scared off by the violence of the homeless group that occupied space near the library, which the city had considered a "homeless hot spot" unknown to us a the Washington State Food Truck Association.


We then entered several weeks of back and forth with a city planner, who was not very willing to help us find a spot to relocate the food truck pod.  This is after each vendor participating paid a $225 fee that allowed them to park on public property.  This city planner said they were "flooded" with food truck complaints and she did not want to help further the life of food trucks in the downtown Tacoma area.


We requested via public records request, these complaints, which amounted to no more than 9 complaints filed.  They consisted of mostly abandoned food trucks in neighborhood, private property locations, not one complaint of a permitted and licensed food truck on public property.  In addition, the city planner had initially told us that Tolefson Plaza would be a viable location and then when we requested to relocate there, she told us this was no longer an option and admitted to us, she is unhappy with her job and no longer wants to work in her current capacity.


The Association was quite determined to fight for the rights of these small business owners and find them a place to offer the residents of Tacoma a great lunch option from their local gourmet food trucks, a population that continues to grow.  We have fought long and hard to relocate this pod now moving over to 951 Broadway, where the Farmer's Market is held on Thursdays.  The new food truck pod will run Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11 am to 2pm as before.  Pierce county permitted food trucks can contact the Association if they are interested in participating and we will keep a calendar of the food truck schedule here: https://www.wafoodtrucks.org/tacoma-ave-lot/


We are planning for a re launch date of  Monday, June 19th.

State Food Truck Association's First Lobby Day

04/21/2017 - WaFood Trucks.org


The Washington State Food Truck Association held its first Food Truck Lobby Day on April 13th with the intent to introduce state legislators to the modern day, gourmet local food trucks and for these mobile chefs to "show off" at our state capitol.



13-different food trucks, trailers, and carts all lined up on the state capitol grounds and served a lunch for 3-hours to over 2,500 people.   This was the first year for the young Association to hold a Lobby Day, “we based our expectations on the popularity of Beef Day”, said Lori Johnson, Executive Director, who organized the event along with Chef Richard Houle of the Bates Technical College, and their lobbyist Tim Johnson of the Northwest Policy Group, LLC.

Vancouver Food Truck

Ribbon Cutting

04/18/2017- WaFoodTrucks.org


Vida Flare will hold its Ribbon Cutting Celebration with the awesome Greater Vancouver of Commerce Members & Red Coat Ambassadors on Wed., May 3rd, 4pm-6pm, at Fortside Brewery located at 2200 NE Andresen, Suite B in Vancouver, WA. The ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 4:30pm alongside fellow small business entrepreneurs & community members. Food samples will be available at the food cart on a first come, first serve basis. Guests may purchase drinks at the Fortside Brewery! Raffling of prizes courtesy of fellow small businesses will happen & must be present to win! Vida Flare hopes to see local media & community there!


About Vida Flare & Vida Flare CEO, Carmen McKibben

Vida Flare is a mobile food experience that delivers Southwest Mexican Cuisine that is flavorful & unique to NW region. Using the great NW food cart community culture, Carmen has brought her Southwest Mexican mobile culinary vision & roots to life! Vida Flare is about food & community, which are two areas that are important to its founder. In fact, Vida Flare carries that mantra on its diverse food cart honoring the Southwest, Mexican, & Northwest cultures, its name, & motto: WHERE LIFE & FOOD IGNITE!

RSVP here

New Snohomish Health Department Policy

04/17/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


If you have an annual health permit in Pierce or King County, you no longer will need to duplicate the plan review process to apply for your annual health permit in Snohomish county.  Please find the policy document below and contact us for a few tips in getting through the new policy process.

New Snohomish Policy SHD_Mobile_Food_Ven
Adobe Acrobat Document 58.6 KB

Seattle's Restaurant Success Program

04/10/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The Food Business Roadshow on Tuesday, May 2nd and the

Restaurant Success Orientation to be held on Tuesday, April 18th which will give people an opportunity to learn about resources available for restaurants and mobile food businesses. The Orientation will be set up as a workshop and will cover the different permits and licenses that are required for restaurants and mobile food operations.  Eventbrite links allow you to register for the two different events. Registration is not required but it’s recommended. Please feel free to spread the word about both events to your communities. Your help and participation are much appreciated!


Eventbrite links:

Restaurant Success Orientation – Tuesday, April 18th – 3:00p to 5:00p - https://restaurantsuccess1.eventbrite.com

Food Business Roadshow – Tuesday, May 2nd – 3:00p to 5:00p - https://restaurantsuccess2.eventbrite.com

Two States Show Food Trucks Are Created Equal

03/12/17 - The Baltimore Sun/DesertNews


In Maryland, the bill first introduced in 2016, has been revived with new requirements and a fee structure for health department licensing for food trucks that would apply across county lines. This year's version (Senate Bill 262/House Bill 771) passed the Senate Feb. 22 and is currently in committee in the House of Delegates.  The restaurant association thought the initial bill would give food trucks an unfair advantage over their brick-and-mortar counterparts. But following the summer work sessions, the restaurant association ended up supporting the revised bill, according to Melvin Thompson, the group's senior vice president of government affairs and public policy.

"They’ve all agreed this bill is the answer they’re looking for," said Miller, a Republican representing Carroll and Howard counties. "It just simplifies what they have to do. They can get one inspection and operate in all these jurisdictions." Read more here.

In Utah, while lawmakers, lobbyists and interns fed on plates of freshly prepared meals, local food truck owners were able voice their concerns about the regulatory burdens of obtaining separate business licenses to operate in more than one municipality.  "This bill deals with some of the problems that our growing market of food trucks are encountering," said Rep. Kim Coleman, R-West Jordan, the bill's House sponsor.  Obtaining business licenses, arranging health inspections and complying with fire codes have been difficult and problematic for food truck operators with varied and sometimes conflicting regulations in various jurisdictions, Coleman said.  She said the bill sets statewide reciprocity in the licenses for food truck operators.

The House voted 73-0 on the bill's final confirming vote Thursday night!!! 

Read more here.

Utah Senate Bill Gets Mass Attention

02/27/17 - Libertas Institute


Republican Sen. Deidre Henderson, is sponsoring legislation to streamline the process to allow such businesses to thrive. "In a public policy brief late last year, we outlined the many regulatory burdens faced by food truck owners throughout Utah as a result of duplicative and redundant ordinances and fees required of them by city governments.  To respond to this concern, Senator Deidre Henderson has sponsored Senate Bill 250, which would streamline these regulations, eliminate redundancy, and prohibit problematic city regulations.  Specifically, this bill would:

  1. establish a reciprocity system so food truck owners don’t have to obtain a business license in each city in which they desire to operate;
  2. prohibit cities from establishing protectionist boundaries around restaurants in which food trucks are denied the opportunity to operate;
  3. prohibit cities from denying a business license for a food truck on the basis of the applicant’s criminal history; require that counties honor health and fire permits issued in other counties; and
  4. streamline event permits and other regulations.

This is a great start towards freeing up the market for food truck owners who currently struggle to succeed!"   


Important to note:

Representatives from both the Utah Association of Counties and the Utah League of Cities and Towns spoke in support of SB250.

"Cities like food trucks. Local jurisdictions like to have food trucks in their communities, but it's new and regulations sometimes take time to catch up," said Cameron Diehl, league director of government affairs.

Diehl said cities have been trying to handle the growing number of trucks the best they can.  With SB250, cities will also still retain local authority when it comes to land use and zoning laws. Diehl said the league will provide guidance to cities as they develop rules regarding food trucks.  Full article here.


Other articles reporting on this include:













Tax Exemtion Bill

02/12/2017 - WaFood Trucks.org


A newly introduced bill would continue to provide for the tax exemption on "certain products that impart flavor to food" and "that impart flavor to food during the cooking process and (a) Are completely or substantially consumed by combustion during the cooking process, such as wood chips, charcoal, charcoal briquettes, and grape vines; or (b) Support the food during the cooking process and are comprised entirely of wood, such as cedar grilling planks. The exemption provided by this section does not apply to any type of gas fuel.  The Washington State Food Truck Association will support this bill.


L & I Food Truck Advisory Meeting 

02/10/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The third state Food Truck Advisory Committee meeting was held this past week in Tumwater and new fire safety standards was the main topic of discussion.  The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) is currently writing new mobile cooking operations into the NFPA 96 code.  As a committee of stakeholders that include two food truck builders, representatives from L & I, the Fair Association, the state Fire Marshal, the Restaurant Association and the Washington State Food Truck Association, we went over voluntary compliance and how Annex B (Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection

of Commercial Cooking Operations) will affect our current state codes.  This committee is responsible for providing a report to the legislature by September, and we voted in favor of requiring mobile food units to take an annual fire safety training class and discussed an inexpensive online option.   This fire safety training is one of the components of the new NFPA standards.  We also talked about the need for an annual check on propane/gas lines, instituting a state-wide fire permit and gas leak detection.  L & I, who is now approving approximately 300-mobile units a year, will now post a checklist of building requirements for those owners wishing to do a custom-build and more consumer changes are coming to their website soon.  More news will be posted on the fire safety training in the coming months, so stay tuned for updates.




Tacoma's Food Truck Fire Permits

02/01/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The City of Tacoma and its food truck population is growing after the new city ordinance to allow on street vending in 5-new locations passed last year.  As a part of this, the local fire department will conduct an inspection of the mobile unit and ensure the fire safety equipment, suppression unit for the grills and fryers are tested, and clean & inspected by a certified agency approved by the city Tax and License office. Per Lieutenant Hansen, they "will be looking at the LPG connections, the LPG bottle and its date of hydro, if the extinguisher has been serviced, and to ensure it is a class K extinguisher and some other safety items."


The Tacoma Fire department conducts business inspections of the entire city and charges an inspection fee. During the inspection,  they will collect information about the owner and truck and log the data in their system, which will create an invoice for the owner. The owner should expect a once a year fee of $35. The same trucks over the year, will be inspected at different events but the owner will only be billed once, just like any other business operator in the City of Tacoma.  Only vehicles that are not listed in their database will be inspected.


New L & I Fire Safety Bulletin Canned Aerosol Cooking Spray

02/02/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org

Kitchen Workers Burned by Aerosol Cookin
Microsoft Word Document 2.1 MB

WSFTA Held 1st Annual Meeting

01/29/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The Washington State Food Truck Association held its first annual meeting on Sunday at Odin Brewery in Tukwilla, where both members and non-members had been invited and over 60-people were in attendance.  The meeting was kicked off by lobbyist Tim Johnson who spoke about how and why the Association was formed, the importance of building and maintaining a presence among the legislative community in Olympia, and some of our future legislative goals including a "Bill of Rights" for food trucks.  The Association Director, Lori Johnson, talked about our grass roots efforts and accomplishments in 2016 and projects in the works for this year including local policy reform and the big Lobby Day event at the capitol scheduled for April 13th.  Marilou Shea spoke about the Mobile Vending University program she leads over in Pasco, Daniel Williams from Diamond Capital explained his new Limitless payment processing, Ace of Trades presented their mobile kitchen repair services and Ryan Schwalb from AAA Fire & Safety educated everyone on the new leak detection device now available.  The new NFPA fire code was a huge topic and we talked as a group about how this is different from the commercial cooking regulations that fire inspectors have been using in the past.  This meeting was a great way for vendors from all over Washington to meet each other, hear others issues and concerns and see the Association as "family"-like group of support and information. 

Bellingham Approves Street Vending Project

01/27/2017 - cob.org


The City of Bellingham is partnering with the Washington State Food Truck Association to test several "on street" mobile food vending opportunities. Beginning in January, 2017, a pilot program to allow pre-approved food trucks to operate in three on-street areas downtown will launch.  Read more...

Food Trucks Invading Everett

1/11/2017 - Snohomish County Tribune


Diners line up during a chilly lunch hour on Friday, Jan. 6 to buy meals from food trucks (The Vet Chef and Stick It or Stuff It) lining the Wetmore Avenue Plaza in Everett. While the main portion of the plaza is fenced off for maintenance work on the fountain, it and the frigid temperature didn’t stop people from dining at the trucks. The food trucks convene at the plaza as part of an effort called “Food Truck Fridays” put on by the Washington Food Truck Association. The organization plans to open a second food truck space soon in the Silver Lake area with a grand opening Monday, Jan. 16. That food truck lot will run weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. a block south of Costco at 1831 Silver Lake Road. The food truck association launched in 2015.  Link to article here.

Food Truck Advisory Board Meeting

01/10/17 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Our next L & I food truck advisory meeting is scheduled for February 9th in Tumwater.  We will be discussing the new NFPA 96 (National Fire Protection Agency) changes to mobile food cooking operations, implementing a state-wide standard for fire inspections and more.  Please let us know by January 20th if you want to contribute.  As a reminder, James Barrington is the committee chair and Jonathan Amato is your industry representative on this board of stakeholders.


Dept of L & I Updates Labor Standards

01/05/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Regarding the Minimum Wage Act and Initiative 1433

This initiative passed on November 8, 2016 and requires, in part, employers provide paid sick leave to employees starting in 2018.  Initiative 1433 directs the department to adopt and implement rules to carry out and enforce the act, including but not limited to, procedures for notification to employees and reporting regarding sick leave, and protecting employees from retaliation for the lawful use of sick leave and exercising other rights under Initiative 1433 and Chapter 49.46 RCW. The department's rules for enforcement of rights provided in Initiative 1433 must be at least equal to enforcement of the minimum wage.  

Seattle Street Use Vending Permit Fee Changes 



SDOT implemented an annual fee analysis in 2016. With City Council approval, they have increased hourly rates, decreased other fees, and made various permit type changes, all of which will take effect January 1, 2017.

Some key changes for vending permittees include the following increases in permit review deposits:

For Renewal Sites: The review deposit will change from $196 to $209

For New Sites: The review deposit will change from $392 to $418

Please note: To avoid billing complications in 2017 when review time is charged against deposits, permit review deposits will now be calculated at the new rates, effective immediately.

For more information on fees associated with vending permits, please see our updated Vending Fee Schedule.

Seattle's Food Trucks - Wheels to Walls

11/22/2016 - SeattleMet


A fleet of trucks has opened permanent establishments this past year, from the vegan Cookie Counter in Greenwood to Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max in Hillman City. The reasons are pretty much what you’d think—steady wintertime business, a proper kitchen—but the restaurants themselves deliver the unexpected. Like Cheese Wizards, most sidestep the Capitol Hill and South Lake Union restaurant boom in favor of neighborhoods that could use more easy-casual places to eat. And like Cheese Wizards, most are indelibly offbeat.  To read more...

Food Network Exec Joins WSFTA

11/19/2017 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Adam Gold, former VP of research at Food Network, a longtime Northwest resident, and owner of the casual, quick-serve turkey restaurant called, Gobble has joined our board of advisers.  Adam has been involved in the restaurant business as a network executive (he had a hand in the Iron Chef America concept) and as a branding consultant for the past 20-years. We are super fortunate that he is on our side!!

Snoh Cty Permit Update

Nov 14th 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


If you are a mobile food vendor not annually permitted in Snohomish County but want to participate in some of the new vending opportunities we are creating, here is what you need to know for right now.

You may apply for an annual/restrictive temporary event permit.  This would allow out-of-county mobiles to vend at that particular location, and at that particular event, for no more than 3- days per week, for the entire calendar year.  The cost would be $497 (high risk) or $210 (low risk).  If you are in the high-risk category and want to participate in the new Lot in Everett, this works out to be $9/day.  This new Lot has already seen double the participation and a new corporation called Funko is about to move in 1-block down the street and they have approx 175 employees.  After the winter season, we plan to expand the food trucks at the park to multiple days of the week. Feel free to contact us for more information and details...

This is Funko, who is moving in just one block from the new Food Truck Lot in Everett!  

New Everett Food Truck Lot Opening Day

11/04/2016 - The Everett Herald


Three food trucks pulled into the driveway next to the Everett Performing Arts Center on Friday and opened for business.  That’s a first for Everett. While food trucks can show up occasionally and the annual Food Truck Festival takes over a block of Colby Avenue for a day, the city is experimenting with a dedicated spot for the trucks on a weekly basis.  The three trucks are technically on parks property, city spokeswoman Meghan Pembroke said, just south of the performing arts center.  Lori Johnson, the executive director of the Washington Food Truck Association, said Portland and Seattle’s scenes were the inspiration to set up a dedicated space in Everett.  “That’s what we’re trying to duplicate, in a short, small version in downtown Everett,” Johnson said.

The plan is to have two or three trucks in the same location every Friday for the downtown lunch crowd for about a year, she said.  The association, a nonprofit trade group representing about 100 vendors, will solicit comments from the public through their Facebook page.  Last week the three vendors were the Vet Chef, Cathouse Pizza and Yummy Box, which served a variety of Asian dishes.

Kyle Gourlie, a former Marine and Iraq War veteran, has been running the Vet Chef for a year and a half, serving up southern California and Mexican-style entrees.  “I used my GI bill to go to culinary school, and after that went right into it,” he said.  Gourlie said his wife handles bookkeeping, while his only full-time employee, Paul Welling, a 20-year Navy veteran, worked the grill Friday.

He’s driven the Vet Chef truck all over Snohomish and King counties, including the Monroe and Snohomish farmer’s markets. Marketing is all word-of-mouth, he said.  For the full story, read here...


Yelm Food Truck Update

November 5th 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The Washington State Food Truck Association represented all small business food truck owners on Friday night and spoke to the city council and approximately 40-community members at the Yelm town hall.  

"On behalf of the Yelm Business Assn. (YBA), thank you for coming to our town and sharing such wonderful knowledge with us and the community. Your presence had quite an impact from what I have been told, says Steve Klein who is a Yelm Business Association board member, and we look forward to adoption of our regulations proposal. Steve Craig (another board member) heard from an unnamed source that Mr. Doug's owner (an established restaurant), Councilor Wood, changed his view and is now supporting Food Trucks after last night, smile.  To that end, the YBA Board would like to add to the Wednesday agenda your points on how we should amend our Food Truck Regulations proposal to submit to city hall with an update. Once the proposal is adopted here, we want to continue to get your guidance on sponsoring a Food Truck event here."


The Washington State Food Truck Association looks forward to helping other cities who are interested in creating new mobile food vending laws or updating old ones.  

Clarifying Catering 4 Mobile Food?

Oct. 31st 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Per our State Health Department: "the food safety regulations are the same throughout the state; however, permitting is not included in our state food service rule.  Each jurisdiction sets its permitting procedures and policies independently."  They do not know how many jurisdictions require a separate permit/review/inspection for catering activities, but encourage vendors to require the catering separation regardless of whether it was a permanent food establishment or mobile food operation. 


Here are a few of the issues each jurisdiction considers with their permitting policies regarding mobiles and caterers....

  • The definition of catering is defined in the state rule as a person that is contracted to provide a specified menu and amount of food to a client.  This contracted food service is different than most mobile food units which generally operate on walk-up service from the public.  When reviewing applications and equipment, health staff keep this differentiation in mind because each style of service determines the equipment, food flows, supplies, etc. needed.   
  • While the basic food safety risks are similar for catering and mobile food operations, each of the operations actually has very specific risks as well. Catering often serves a large group of people all at once--caterers generally need ready access to more production equipment than available on a mobile.  Mobiles generally serve food over extended days/hours and need a reduced menu and frequent trips to a base of operation to restock/clean, etc., to be able to safely serve food within the facility constraints of the mobile (mobiles often have fewer pieces of refrigeration equipment and generally have fresh water tanks of 35 gallons or less).  Also, catering generally involves service outside of a permitted food establishment with multiple courses, serving-ware, tables, additional staff, etc.  while mobile food units are generally limited to walk-up service on disposable serving-ware because they have limited on-board ware-washing or dish storage.
  • Sometimes mobiles call their service "catering" when they're basically just traveling to a location and conducting routine operation (customers walk up to the mobile and order what they'd like).  As long as the menu does not deviate from the approved menu for the mobile (either in menu item content or increased number of customers), most jurisdictions likely won't consider this catering or charge additional permitting. 

In Snohomish (and Jefferson County), we have confirmed mobile food vendors do need a catering permit.  "If they plan on just doing catered events, they do not need to check either of the restroom/sales site boxes on the permit application.  Caterers are required to submit a monthly schedule of catered events (see last page of catering questionnaire).  If they plan on just doing public events, they are required to submit a mobile notification form at least 7-days prior to the event.  The fee on this form is charged only for the first event each year.  There is no charge for each subsequent even in that calendar year.


Please let us know when you receive conflicting information from your jurisdiction so we can investigate.

Tacoma's Food Truck Signs

for Street Vending

October 29, 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


In an effort to get Tacoma to clarify a few points regarding the newly passed food truck ordinance, we reached out to the city planners and have received the following information:    

The ordinance states: 

"D. Locations shall be identified by the City with a sign that will include the approved hour food truck vendors are allowed to operate. If an approved location is not identified with a permanent City sign, an A-Board sign that is approved or designed by the City must be posted by the food truck vendor prior to the location being used, and such posting shall reserve the location for that food truck vendor for the operating hours indicated on the sign."


We wanted to know…Is it indicated somewhere (on the health department or other) which of these locations has the city provided sign and which ones need an A-board sign?  And, how does a vendor know if they need to design their own A-board sign or if the city will do it and how do they get it approved?


Here is their response: “the City will, where we are allowed by parking code, install permanent signs. But, if that’s not allowed the food truck vendors are going to have to provide movable A-board signs. None of the current approved zones allow for permanent signage yet. We wanted to leave the language open to allow for it in the future when/if parking code changes, or for installation in zones where that code doesn’t restrict us.  Here is a diagram (see the sign photo above) of the way the sign is supposed to look, and they are readily available from local/regional sign or barricade companies for rent or purchase. NOTE: Though it should NOT have the City of Tacoma Public Works Street Operations contact information, rather it should have either the rental company, or if purchased by the food truck, I imagine it could have their contact information."


"When it comes to any individual, from contractor to food truck vendor, placing the NO PARKING sign shall have their contact information attached. That information could either be the contact information of the individual who will be responsible for deploying and removing the signs, and/or a copy of the permit attached (if applicable). I should also note that the placement of the NO PARKING signs shall be done at least 24 hours prior to the intended arrival of the food truck in order to legally “reserve” the parking stall(s)."


If you have any further questions about the NO PARKING signs and their regulation, please contact:  Tyler Daniels at 253-591-5554 or email: tdaniels@ci.tacoma.wa.us   The City will be uploading a tip sheet and the approved zones with contact information this week on a new web page within the Tax & License pages.

New Food Truck Lot in Downtown Everett

October 22, 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org



October 22, 2016– The Washington State Food Truck Association partners with the City of Everett to bring you the first food truck lot on Wetmore Avenue.

The arts-centric plaza at 2710 Wetmore Avenue, with plenty of outdoor seating, is a location chosen by city planners and will host 3-trucks at a time.  “Food Truck Fridays” (beginning November 4th, 2016), from 11am - 2pm, will run as a pilot program to see if this is a viable location and one that is popular with the community.  To see which trucks will participate, you can access the schedule via Twitter: @wafoodtrucklots, the Association’s website or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wafoodtrucklots/ .

In an effort to bring more vending opportunities to the ever-growing population of food trucks, the Washington State Food Truck Association has been working with city planners in many counties to find new and underserved locations for food trucks.  Small food truck lots can offer a unique dining experience because they are more casual than a sit-down restaurant and can bring even very diverse communities together.  Lori Johnson, the Director of the state food truck association says “I don’t see why we can’t build on the successes of the Seattle food truck pods in other emerging markets like Everett.”

As stated in The 2015 article: The Urbanist, ”This regional vision assumes that Everett will be experiencing significant high rise development similar to Seattle and Bellevue and will see an increase in its population by nearly 60% over the next 20 years…The City of Everett is in the process of updating its comprehensive plan, which happens to be right in the middle of the city’s biggest building boom in years.”

For vendors who wish to participate, you will need to provide: a copy of your Snohomish County Health District annual food permit, a certificate of insurance, a vendor application, and a Twitter handle.

# # #


If you would like more information about this new food truck lot, the Association’s Lot Management Program or how to participate, please contact Washington State Food Truck Assoc. at 360-223-3801 or email lori@wafoodtrucks.org.


Yelm Reaches Out For Food Truck Advocacy

October 19, 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Thurston County - Yelm’s Food Truck regulations proposal was submitted to the city council by the Yelm Business Assn. (YBA). While newspaper polls and the public response has been overwhelmingly supportive, Councilor Wood, who owns Mr. Doug’s Restaurant, told the Nisqually Valley News, “food trucks in Yelm would be unfair competition to the brick and mortar restaurants in town, because of their ability to move around to find customers.”  The Washington State Food Truck Association was contacted by two members of the Yelm Business Assn and asked to come and advocate on behalf of a new city ordinance in favor of allowing food trucks.  The town hall meeting is to be held on November 4th at 7pm, if you want to join us, please email me.


Per the Yelm Community Blog:

"Is Councilor Wood threatened by the idea of Food Trucks affecting Mr. Doug’s revenues?  Obviously the Food Truck regulations being part of a Town Hall discussion is to appease a very closed-minded Councilor Tracey Wood who owns Mr. Doug’s and must feel threatened. Food Trucks have been shown to be generative in bringing people into cities and towns, drawing visitors and tourists, which would only help Wood’s restaurant. I did not see him file a complaint when Margaret Clapp opened Uptown Lounge, the first of this type of bar, lounge, restaurant in within a movie theater in this area. That facility is open daily, as opposed to Food Trucks which usually are not, and should be perceived as more of a threat to Wood than Food Trucks. Yet, the redesign of the movie theater seating, plus the addition of Uptown Lounge has only been generative in revenue for Yelm, drawing patrons to our city from Tacoma, Olympia and Lewis County for this unique experience. Wood’s concerns are short-sighted & misplaced, another reason why Yelm has earned the nickname “non-business friendly.” That perception has to change and the only way to do that is through actions, not Wood’s type of attitude.

Interim Mayor Foster announced at the last council session this public forum would be held Nov. 4th. If he was really interested in engaging the community, the Friday night dinner hour was not considerate of being inclusive to the public, since our restaurants (including Wood’s Mr. Doug’s Restaurant) and Yelm Cinemas are filled with town patrons on their weekend night out."

More info here:...

1st Food Truck Lobby Day at State Capitol

 Oct 9th, 2016 -  WaFoodTrucks.org


In an effort to raise the profile of the fast-growing food truck industry here in Washington, the state association will hold its first "food truck lobby day" at the capitol campus on Thursday, April 13th from 11am - 2pm.  Similar to the very popular, "beef day", hosted by The Washington Cattlemen’s Association, and the Dairy Federation, who serve slices of beef on buns, with chips and milk.  As reported, a line starts forming shortly after 11 a.m. , and by 11:30 a.m., it stretches about the length of a football field.  The Cattlemen held their first beef day about eight years ago.  Per their president in 2015, “I think it’s one of our best outreach days. It puts a face on who’s doing this and that there are consequences, good and bad, to policies.”

At noon, Gov. Jay Inslee dropped by. He ate a slice of beef and mixed with ranchers in the easy-going manner of a successful politician. He pointed to the line.  The food truck industry has made great changes and improvements regarding health & safety, and public perception over the past five years or so, but we still have a ways to go with many issues including state definitions of mobile catering, liquor permits, streamlining annual county health permits and dozens of city codes.  If you are interested in more details and participating, please check here for more information.

Bellingham's 4th Annual Food Truck Round Up Biggest Year

September 25, 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The "Feed the Need" Food Truck Round Up is held as an organized partnership by local Whatcom County businesses to benefit Whatcom County food banks.  This year there were so many vendors they predict having to move the event next year to a bigger location.  The lines to get into this event were long, more than a 1/2 hour wait but the food did not disappoint.  Most of the vendors sold out many of their menu items and the beer garden ran dry.  Crowd favorites were Tornado Potato (all the way from King County), Cubano Cubano, JT's Smokin meatballs, the best pizza in town made by Pizzazza, and of course the chicken waffle sandwich made by Delicious Mischief.

WSFTA Starts New Pilot Pods

September 24, 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


In attempt to create more vending opportunities for local food trucks, the Association has partnered with the Tacoma Parks Department to bring you a 4-week pilot pod at the Sprinker Center on Saturdays from 11-2pm starting October 1st.  A similar 4-week pilot pod began in Bellingham this past Friday at the Public Market, where the cuban sandwich truck sold out before the lunch hour ended.  If participation and attendance is considered a success, these opportunities will be extended and possible evening times will be offered.  If vendors are interested in participating, all the details and the application can be found here.    

L & I Food Truck Advisory Board

August 23rd, 2014 - WaFoodTrucks.org



James Barrington of Hallava Falafel, chaired the 2nd official advisory board meeting held on August 23rd.   In his report, L & I agreed that there is a need for the association to keep a list of recommended truck builders…" there are a ton of truck builders in other states that promise they can build a truck to pass the Washington L & I permit approval process, but then consumers are disappointed when they find out they still need to spend another $10-20K to get their trucks up to speed."  The FAS staff will help us put together a checklist of things consumers can do before purchasing a truck, for example: shop around and be well educated with the rules and regs. 

James also commented "I think the next push is going to be figuring out who can be responsible to check that propane tanks are in good working order and serviced as needed, gas lines are tight and leak free and finally that hoods have seen their annual service."  As you all know, new fire safety regs for mobile food vendors are being written into NFPA for 2017.  Since zero people voted on having any annual association meeting, the board of advisors will be given the option to decide on any fire safety legislation.

No date has been set yet for the next food truck advisory board meeting.

City of Tacoma Passes New Amended Food Truck Ordinance , Constitutional?


An ordinance relating to food truck vendor regulations added a new chapter (6B.175), to create a standard process for food trucks to operate on public rights-of-way, passed on August 2nd.  There were five-approved food truck locations; three downtown and two in the Dome district, and are pending  the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department sales site agreement acquisition (restroom agreements) and the establishment of operating hours.  (See below for the 5-approved locations.)


As worded in the new city ordinance: the City shall establish locations "suitable" for food truck vending ...  And, When reviewing locations the City shall consider the following non-exclusive criteria before approving the location for food truck vending: be compatible with the public and local business interest in use of the public ways as public rights-of-way. Locations shall be identified by the City with a sign that will include the approved hour food truck vendors are allowed to operate. If an approved location is not identified with a permanent City sign, an A-Board sign that is approved or designed by the City must be posted by the food truck vendor prior to the location being

used, and such posting shall reserve the location for that food truck vendor for the operating hours indicated on the sign. Are food trucks and restaurants being held to the same sign standards? (For more information on these A-Board sign requirements and restrictions see below.)


As stated in the new ordinance, there was a stakeholder work group, consisting of food truck vendors, brick and mortar restaurants, the Washington Restaurant Association, the County Health Department and other City staff over the past several months to develop a food truck policy, but did not include the state association representing food truck owners.   It also mentions the use of findings from peer cities best practices.  Seattle, with a population of over 650,000 people (compared to Tacoma's population of approximately 203,000) has provided excellent examples of good laws that allow the industry to flourish while also protecting public health and safety, without protectionist barriers.


Per the Institute for Justice's Food Truck Freedom report "How to Build Better Food Truck Laws in Your City, cities should not regulate more heavily than necessary.  They should strive to enact narrow laws that address the particular problem at hand and go no further.  There are several examples in this report on how other cities have dealt with "suitable" locations and have made California an example after a court ruling proved that these types of restrictions are unconstitutional.  The report also recommends that cities not restrict when food trucks can operate.  Trucks should be free to vend at any time, or at the very least be subject to the same rules as brick-and -mortar restaurants.  Is vending from a specific location at a certain time, posing an actual public health and safety concern?


The new regulations also provide for a review process if other locations are desired for future operations. The person submitting the request for the location shall have the burden to prove that any proposed food truck vending activity will enhance and further the public interest consistent with the use of the public way by the general public and the City for other authorized uses and activities as outlined in 6B.175.060.


The city compiled feedback from nearby business owners and used the "cooperation of adjacent [owners] at a rate not less than 70%" as a part of their criteria in approving a site.  Some of the comments compiled (Per the Tacoma Food Truck Sites packet) included: "OK--but not popular with the owners/operators of the Post Office Building and the newly established food businesses inside.  Suggested hours of operations: Evening to late night. OK--but not popular with the owners/operators of nearby restaurants."


"Protecting a few select businesses from competition is not a proper government role."  As stated in another report from the Institute for Justice: existing businesses do not "need government intervention to protect them from food trucks. (And, as several federal courts have recognized, regulation for the sake of mere economic protectionism is constitutionally impermissible.)  


The Washington State Food Truck Association has sent over a dozen communications to the Economic Development Staff over the past year to help guide them in forming better food truck laws. It is our goal, to provide facts to support more food truck freedom.  It appears, that for now, Tacoma has taken the side of existing, non-mobile business owners.


The A-board sign must:  (Tacoma's sign info)


  • Be posted by the vendor 24 hours in advance of the location being used on the sidewalk directly next to the parking space designated by the City for food truck operations.  What if the sign is stolen overnight?
  • Indicate the hours the food truck vendor will be operating. Hours of operation at each location will be approved by the City.  What other food related businesses need the city's approval for hours to operate?
  • Only include wording approved by the City.  
  • Not contain business names, business logos, or any type of business advertising.
  • Be removed at the beginning of the food truck vendor shift by the vendor, unless the food truck will be operating at the location within the next 24 hours....

The five new locations are:


• Tacoma Avenue South, near the main library;

• South 11th and A Streets;

• Broadway, in front of Pierce Transit Park;

• East 25th Street, between East C and East D Streets; and


• Puyallup Avenue, near the Greyhound station


References for cities:

Food Truck Freedom - Institute for Justice

Seven Myths & Realities About Food Trucks - Institute for Justice's National Street Vending Initiative

National League of Cities - Helping City Leaders Build Better Communities: Food on Wheels

On the Go: Insights Into Food Truck Regulation - Harvard Kennedy School

Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity  - Institute for Justice

Payment Processing Provider for Food Trucks Partners with Association

08/04/16 - WaFoodTrucks.org


This First Data payment processing program, called the Clover Go Mobile is designed specifically to be competitive with Square,  and is for food truck merchants that will use the device on their phones or tablets. 


A lot of food truck vendors are using Square at a rate of 2.75% and the Clover Go program is 2.40% when transactions are swiped. (When keying a transaction with Square vendors are paying 3.75%, with the Clover Go they will pay 3.50% and a .15 cents transaction fee is charged for either service.) Most merchants or vendors are not taking the EMV chip cards and are not aware that they have to be PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant with Visa/Mastercard rules by also completing a SAQ annually. The liability switch is now on the merchant and not the bank anymore.


There is no application or cancellation fee, and there are no other fees associated with this program other than a monthly fee of $4.95. The purchase of the Clover Go is $29.95 which includes the ability for vendors to be able to take EMV chip cards. (The liability switch happened October 2015 which means the merchant is now responsible for any data breaches.) With only the monthly fee of $4.95 the merchants are protected with Transarmor which adds an additional layer of security and they will receive access to complete their annual PCI Compliance SAQ which is mandated by Visa/Mastercard as well as giving them $100,000 worth of insurance if there is a data breach.  Square doesn't offer any breach protection for them nor do they have their merchants complete the SAQ, most truck vendors aren't aware of PCI.  There are no enhanced bill back fees on this program, and the program fees are taken off the top, which is the same for the Square program. 


As our members know, it is essential for me, as the association director, to research service providers we refer to, and I have established a direct contact at First Data who will handle new accounts and questions.  "I am glad that you take extra care in keeping them protected and that is why they should be processing EMV  (chip cards) and completing the PCI Compliance.  I hope to build a great relationship with you.   I have been with First Data for 15-years and my integrity  and concerns for my clients is of the utmost importance. I will never tell you something that I can't deliver., that is my service promise!   I want to be able to bring knowledge to the truck vending industry and also help them to lower their cost., help them to protect their business and their customers card transactions!"  ~ Arlene Brooks, Sr. Business Consultant. 

City of Bothell Approves Food Trucks

07/22/16 - NWNews.com


Food trucks are now officially allowed to operate in Bothell, thanks to an ordinance the Bothell City Council passed last week.   Dave Boyd, senior planner for the City of Bothell, said the city gets inquiries from vendors who are interested in setting up food trucks in Bothell, so the city wanted to create a way to license them.   Representatives from the UW Bothell/Cascadia Community College and the North Creek Business Park, where food trucks already set up at lunchtime to serve students and office workers, asked the city to formally allow the trucks in the city. Several local business owners worried the food trucks would compete unfairly with brick-and-mortar restaurants, while a few other business owners welcomed food trucks bringing more people to Bothell.  Read more...

Tacoma City Ord to Allow Food Trucks on Public Prop

07/26/16 - WaFoodTrucks.org 


The first reading of a new ordinance before the Tacoma City Council last Tuesday, will allow the trucks the ability to park on the street at five different locations in the city.  A final vote is several weeks away, with the next meeting set for August 2nd at 5pm.    A stakeholder work group comprised of food truck vendors, brick and mortar restaurants, the Washington Restaurant Association, Tacoma Pierce County Health Department staff and City staff representing Community and Economic Development, Tax & License, Code Enforcement, Traffic and

Parking met over the past several months to develop a food truck policy and regulation for vending from the right-of-way. The new regulatory license in Title 6 - Sales - Food Truck Vendors establishes

requirements and a process based on cooperative efforts by the workgroup, findings from a 2015 pilot

program and peer cities best practices.  Regarding signage, as a result of consultations with the Parking Technical Advisory Group it has been determined that permanent zoning signage would put an undue burden on the public use of the parking zones during nonfood truck usage. Instead, food truck operators will be required to post an approved A-board sign 24-hours prior to using one of the designated locations for food truck vending. This requirement is similar to how the City coordinates Special Event impacts to the managed right-of-way.  Find the Ordinance below and the memo to council.  Please comment on this new ordinance before it is sent up for a vote!

City Council Action Memorandum.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 52.8 KB
City of Tacoma Ordinance No.pdf
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Association Partnership w/AAA Fire

07/16/16 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Founded over 50-years ago, AAA Fire & Safety has grown to become one of the largest fire equipment service companies in the Puget Sound region. AAA serves all of western Washington, with headquarters in Seattle and local technicians based in communities from Bellingham to Olympia.   They are a quick-response “one stop shop,” for food truck fire suppression systems.  They have twenty-five mobile field technicians, and are on call 24/7.  Ryan Schwalb is their fire suppression division superintendent who will help the association move forward in crafting our safety policy and conducting a training class for members who need to update their systems to comply with the new NFPA guidelines.  If you need a fire suppression system or an update or repair, contact Ryan at  206-284-1721.

Tacoma Moves Forward with Pilot Program

07/15/16 - Tacoma News Tribune


Tacoma is in the process of rolling out new regulations for curbside food trucks, an effort to appease brick-and-mortar restaurants and property owners while allowing the burgeoning industry to grow.  The city has come up with five proposed food truck hot spots, located downtown and in the Tacoma Dome district, for those hoping to operate their trucks in the right of way in places with decent foot traffic for lunch and dinner crowds. Those locations have been OK’d by property owners, area restaurants, food truck operators and, importantly, the city’s parking task force, said Kala Dralle, an economic development specialist with the city of Tacoma.

They are: Tacoma Avenue South near the main library branch, South 11th Street near A Street, Broadway in front of the Pierce Transit park, East 25th near East D Street and Puyallup Ave near the Greyhound station.  Read more here...


To post to this group, send email to tacomafoodtrucks@googlegroups.com


Seattle Food Truck Survey Results

07/14/16 - WaFood Trucks.org


This research project, Insights into Seattle’s Mobile Food Vending, (conducted by Pacific Lutheran University) is the second phase of a study previously conducted for the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (Restaurant Success). It explores current mobile food vendors’ impressions of the Seattle & King County Public Health permitting process required to start their businesses, location preferences (particularly in public spaces permitted by Seattle Department of Transportation), how vendors finance their business, and important factors that make for effective marketing. This study also includes an experiment to determine factors that may contribute to effective social media marketing for mobile food vendors. The goal of this research is to provide recommendations, resources, or other tools that can be implemented to better assist people looking to start a street food vending business within the city limits.  To read a summarized version (and some of the report's recommendations) of this 50-page report, click here...

Boss Mama's Kitchen and Orca Eats Hitting Streets

07/09/16 - WaFoodTrucks.org


Two new Food Trucks and members of the Washington State Food Truck Association passed their state L & I inspections this week and will be open for their first day next Friday, July 15th.

Jen Gustin, the owner of Boss Mama's Kitchen, will be serving up comfort food at an event called Quake the Lake against cancer from 4-10pm at York Park on Bonney Lake.  Proceeds from this event will benefit the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.  Emily Wigley, owner of Orca Eats, will be serving at the Vashon Island Strawberry Festival Street Dance at 7pm.  Please come out to support these two new small business owners whon have not had an easy road in getting their new dreams to become a reality.  


Bremerton City Council Tweaks Code for Food Carts

07/06/16 - Kitsap Sun  


...a food truck can pay $150 (plus a $75 business license) and move to different areas of the city, a nonmotorized food cart used to have to pay $250 (plus the business license fee) — and anytime they changed locations, it's another $250 for each new spot.  "That's a lot of hot dogs," said Councilman Jerry McDonald, who pushed for the change. "Nobody wants to have a food cart because it costs so much money."  

The new regulations reduce what food carts pay to $100, plus $50 for each new spot.

Mayor Patty Lent said the changes encourage a growing national trend to happen in Bremerton. She's personally a fan of the "entrepreneurial spirit" their owners embody.   Read more...

New L & I Food Truck Advisory Committee Held 1st Meeting

06/30/16 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The Factory Assembled Structures (FAS) program of the Department of L & I, held its first Food Truck Advisory Committee meeting yesterday in Olympia.  There was a room full of stakeholders in attendance and we discussed the updated legislation, were given a copy of the committee’s bylaws, voted in both a committee Chair and Vice-Chair, spoke briefly about the new fire safety standards, and set a date for the next meeting.  In future meetings, the plan is to review 2-divisions covering both the rules and operations for mobile food vending units.  The construction section of NFPA 96 regarding “how food trucks are built” will be referenced, as this issue was brought up by the builder representatives.  The FAS program is developing a checklist specifically for builders doing any custom work to streamline and speed up the approval process.   As a part of the bill that created this new committee, the state association was given two seats for representation, and these two seats will be filled with James Barrington, owner of several Seattle-based food trucks who was voted in as the committee Chair person (he needs to be gifted a gavel ! ) and Jonathan Amato (who will need a copy of Robert's Rules of Order) of Seattle Food Trucks.com. 

The FAS program has designed a new food truck page found here: http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/FAS/FoodTruckTrailer/default.asp  which very clearly explains getting approvals in a 4-step process, and they also plan to add a Question and Answer page for consumer outreach and education.  The committee also discussed the topic of inspection consistency throughout different jurisdictions, and included fire and safety training needs.  A copy of the International Fire Marshal’s new mobile cooking operations was provided by the Washington State Food Truck Association, new standards not yet official at the national level.  Agenda ideas can be submitted for future meetings and other regulatory people can be suggested if the committee sees a need.  The committee is required to provide a report of other legislative changes needed by the legislature by September of 2017.  The next committee meeting date was set for August 23rd from 10-12pm and is open to the public.

New L and I Fact Sheet Re/ Out of State Food Trucks

06/24/16 - WaFoodTrucks.org\


A food-truck construction firm in Seattle has said that most out-of-state food trucks it works on do not meet Washington’s mechanical and fire codes. Common problems include: lack of a fire barrier between the range hood and back wall; lack of a fire suppression system; kitchen hoods and exhaust fans that do not meet code; and concealed electrical conduits that cannot be inspected visually. Although the company routinely replaces wiring and plumbing in all out-of-state units that enter its facility, it does not service all of the units entering the state.  (The fact sheet can be found below.)

The food truck advisory board created by the same legislation that removes this "out-of-state exemption will hold its first board meeting this week, Wednesday in Olympia.

New 2016 Fact Sheet - Concession units v
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City of Snohomish Starting Point for Food Trucks

06/07/16 - King 5 News


Last tuesday night Snohomish City Council approved new regulations, which allow for Mobile Food Vendors to operate within certain areas of the city.  Food Trucks have been allowed at events, like a Farmer’s Market.  But now the city is broadening its food options.  According to the city, the plan is to craft rules that ensure that food trucks operate in harmony with brick and mortar restaurants.

Mobile food vendors will have to be licensed with the city.  The rules also state that Food Trucks can’t sell or deliver food within 200 feet of the entrance of any non-mobile business establishment without written consent. Under the city’s plan, trucks will only be allowed to operate six hours a day.

Ten months ago, Frank Sandoval opened SnoTown Brewery on 2nd Street. He sees Food Trucks as a way to attract tourists and more business.  Read more...

Change for Snohomish Food Truck Marketplace

05/28/16 - Machias Food Truck Marketplace


"Much chit chat has been going on within the county in reference to YOUR Community Market.  Though this will be a continuing conversation for Food Trucks and how they fit within Snohomish zoning....We are happy to announce a newly formed Public / Private Partnership with the County.  Thanks to our County Executive, Dave Somers and his team: to the fortitude and diligence of Councilman Hans Dunshee and that of Snohomish County Parks and Recreation Director Tom Teigen.  YOUR Community Market, will be moving to a new location.  A BETTER LOCATION.  Though only a few miles down the road, our new home will be an even more incredible location to:  hang out, make new friends, eat fabulous food, bring your dog, let your kids play, learn a new game, listen to music, and purchase locally sourced and made products.  


So, stay tuned!  There will be an article in Tuesday's Everett Herald. There will be information on our Facebook page, we will have a "Thank you for your support" party at the end of June, prior to inhabiting our new location.  We thank Grow WA and our current vendors and look forward to having even more as this partnership enhances the concept we have already begun.  xoxo Machias Market"

Snohomish Food Truck Update

05/25/16 - Tribune


The council is receptive to letting food trucks operate. Council members primarily want to make sure food trucks do not station too close to regular ‘brick-and-mortar’ restaurants, particularly around Historic Downtown Snohomish.  The areas in the city that food trucks can park and operate will be west of Avenue D on First Street (near the iron works shop on First) and along Bickford Avenue. The food trucks cannot park in front of brick-and-mortar restaurants, or within 200 feet of them, meaning they cannot line central First Street.  The rules say food truck vendors can only operate six hours a day, will have to move locations every 24 hours and cannot cluster together (like how Portland has a food truck center) but be separated by at least 2,000 feet from one another.  Read more...

New Law Removes Exemption for Food Trucks

May 25, 2016 - Washington Dept. of L & I


As we have reported on earlier...Starting June 21 all food trucks, including those from out of state will need to be inspected.  Previously, food trucks used outside Washington for six months or more were generally exempt from state standards. The new law, SHB 2443, removes the exemption. Food trucks in the state will need to have a permit and inspection from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. Food trucks also include trailers and other vehicles used in concessions, where people work inside.  Plans for food trucks must also be submitted to L&I if they have certain items. Those items include: fuel gas piping; fire suppression; commercial venting hoods; and electrical systems over 30 amps or 120 volts.    Find out if your food truck or trailer needs a permit and inspection.  For information, contact your local L&I office or email Craig.Sedlacek@Lni.wa.gov.

Tacoma Pilot Program Update

May 16, 2016 - WaFoodTrucks.org


The regular pilot program meeting scheduled for last Thursday was rescheduled to a later date. The pilot program board received so much feedback, both for and against, all of the zones that were proposed, that it is definitely going to take their internal team a few more weeks to analyze it all and finalize their recommendations to the participants of the program.  Per Kala Dralle, who works for the City of Tacoma (Community & Economic Development)  "The newly proposed meeting date is set for the week of June 6th."  The board is expecting to have their assessments complete by then, or at the very least, a very good recommendation.  For those who are participating in the program and/or who want to communicate with the group, should have signed up for the new email list serve: tacomafoodtrucks@googlegroups.com and sent their food truck contact info to Jessica Daly who runs the Tacoma Food Trucks website.


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