(Apr. 4/14) Toronto City Council has voted to allow more food trucks on the streets and parking spots of Toronto, but ruled that trucks must be parked at least 50 metres away from any bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Restaurants Canada recognizes all the hard work and deliberation that Toronto City Council and City staff put into the food truck debate and approved plan.  In the end, they passed a compromise that everyone can work with.

“We said from the beginning of this debate that restaurants that have invested and worked hard at building their businesses must be respected,” said James Rilett, VP Ontario.  “The city’s plan recognizes the time and investment that bricks and mortar restaurants make, while encouraging other entrepreneurs to develop their own businesses.”

In our pre-decision submission to the city, Restaurants Canada made it clear that, while not against the expansion, regulations must be set to allow bricks-and-mortar establishments to operate.  These restaurants employ more than 67,000 Torontonians and give so much to the city and its neighbourhoods.

The submission stated:

Restaurants Canada recognizes the significant investment that traditional restaurants make in strengthening communities across the country – paying significant property taxes, generating employment and leading the way towards the gentrification of many neighbourhoods. Expanded food truck licensing should not occur at the expense of existing restaurants. Expanded food truck licensing must protect existing investments, while supporting innovation in the industry.

Restaurants Canada supports the expansion of food truck licensing with the following conditions:

  • Food trucks must meet and follow the same regulatory requirements as restaurants – including food safety.
  • Food trucks should be prohibited from locating directly in front of a restaurant.

In addition, Restaurants Canada encourages the identification of food truck specific -zoned areas by municipality. Restaurants Canada also recognizes that limiting the number of food truck licenses issued may be warranted.

“We know that this debate will continue as the Food Truck program expands across Toronto, and Restaurants Canada will continue to monitor the program with our members as the program rolls out,” added Rilett.

Toronto’s restaurant industry includes more than 7,500 restaurants, bars and caterers and contributes $5.1 billion to the local economy.

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