New Rules Could Be Put In Place For Tulsa Food Trucks

Thursday, May 29th 2014, 8:13 pm
By: Emory Bryan

In just a couple of years' time, a food truck industry has developed in Tulsa. They are doing big business - but one question remains - do they bring in customers to restaurants around them, or steal them away?

Food trucks have to meet all the rules of the Health Department and the rules of the road. It's city guidelines that could change - a city councilor says to protect and promote the food trucks.

5/16/2014 Related Story: Proposed Plan Could Provide Roadblocks For Tulsa Food Trucks

Tulsa's food truck owners have become their own community, and by working together, they've generally avoided conflicts with surrounding businesses while their popularity has soared.

"It's going wonderful man; we try to be everywhere, at least," said Riley Bragg.

Bragg manages a hot dog truck and says trucks only go where they're wanted. Bragg believes food trucks increase business for everybody.

"We don't want to make anybody upset or take their business away, but it comes down to what the people want, and if they want us around, we'll be there," said Bragg.

City councilor Blake Ewing believes Tulsa's food truck regulations are among the loosest ones in the country. He called a meeting for food truck operators, as the city considers new guidelines that Ewing wants in place before any big problems crop up.

Food Truck Rules

"Those are the kind of stories we want to hear because that educates the lawmakers about specific instances where there are unintended consequences," Ewing said.

The guidelines could push trucks farther away from restaurants unless they have permission. The guideline now is 150 feet away - unless the restaurant wants the truck there - but it could change to 300 feet.

Laken Gooch has been running a truck for just under a year, selling mini donuts, mainly at festivals. She said she's never run into conflicts with location, but thinks a clear set of rules would help everyone.

"I definitely think we can work together to come up with a solution that is better for everyone and not biased one way or the other," Gooch said.

Ewing said his main goal was to not draft rules without input from the people running the trucks.

You can read the rules as first proposed, here. They're going to be changed some, and the council will get more public input once the final draft comes out.