NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - On Friday, the growing food truck business trend, which is a projected $7 billion industry, took center stage in Nacogdoches.
The City of Nacogdoches is attempting to do a better job of serving food truck vendors and their customers' needs. Ordinance revisions may be a matter of catching up with other towns.
A food truck community lunch brought the customers out in droves.
"Give me a boudin on a stick and some gumbo," one customer said.
It was a unique way for Nacogdoches city leaders to hear opinions about the mobile food vending industry.
"More trucks more often," one resident said.
Nacogdoches city leaders are recognizing existing regulations don't meet a well-established food service industry's needs.
Case in point, the city has a rule that a food truck can't be parked in the same place for more than an hour. Food vendors say the ordinance is too restrictive.
"Just because we're a mobile unit doesn't mean we have to move every hour," said Brandy Cook, the owner of Eat a Bite. "It takes me about an hour to actually set up. Longer than that to tear down and clean everything."
Outdated restrictions keep out entrepreneurs, and Joel Watts wants his daughter's food truck business to roll into Nacogdoches.
"And for Nacogdoches to have the current ordinance, you're fighting new businesses coming to town," Watts said. "And that counter intuitive to growth and prosperity for everyone."
Cities often worry about existing restaurants and unfair competition.
"We're not trying to step on anybody's toes," said Tom Boggs, who owns the Old Souls food truck.
Boggs said he likes the idea of food truck court. Property owner Varron McLemore, who is soliciting properties for consideration, likes the idea as well.
"I have four different locations," McLemore said. "Three of which would be prime food locations, so yes, I'm being a little self-centered here, but I would like to see it change."
There are so many Texas cities with established food truck industries, so the question is, has Nacogdoches missed the truck on updating an archaic food truck industry ordinance?
"I don't think it's too late to catch up," said Merci Nicklas, the owner of Merci's World Cuisine. "Just start doing it. It's a neat thing. They have TV shows about it. Food truck race and all that."
Food vendors say come on board with their kind and no race will be lost.
"Industrious, hardworking love what they do and want to share that with other people," Boggs said.
Feedback gathered today will be further discussed April 17 at a Follow-up Ordinance Revision Meeting at the C.L. Simon Recreation Center in Nacogdoches from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.