BREAKING: Dessert Truck Loses Their Permit; Chef Jerome Claims to be “Relieved”
New York City’s prohibitive rules and red tape surrounding the issuing of licenses and permits to street vendors has claimed its first “hipster” victim. The Dessert Truck announced in a letter posted to their website that the city has refused to renew the vendor’s permit they use on their truck.
August 7th, 2009
We can’t open. Yesterday the city notified us that the mobile food vendor’s permit used by the DessertTruck is no longer valid. For reasons too confusing and vague for us to understand, the city denied the permit holder the right to renew his permit.
What does this mean?
We can’t sell on the street to passerby. It does NOT mean we are out of business – we will continue to cater private events and find a way to open to the public again. As for all the knotty red tape that binds all mobile food vendors, we’re devloping a special ray gun for that.
Thank you in advance to all our awesome customers who patiently await our return in one form or another. And a big thank you to our crew, present and past for supporting us — Bill, Colin, Craig, Grace, Jenica, Kevin, Lawpo, Luis, Mallory, Susana, Travis& Vincent!
We’ll post updates on our website and Twitter feed as they become available.
I just spoke with Jerome over the phone and he had this to say:
To tell you the truth, I actually feel a little bit relieved. Doing this kind of work is hard, and it takes a toll on you. People have no idea how much work is involved in this, the red tape, and the long hours- and to take a break from that will be refreshing.
Knowing that the city has been cracking down on the black market for permits, I asked if this was a case of the city refusing to renew an illegally obtained permit, or a case of their business partner screwing up the renewal process. He answered that it was the latter, but it doesn’t change the fact that the city is clearly getting more strict with their policies.
This is the first high profile non-renewal of a street vendor’s license, but my hunch is it won’t be the last. As a huge fan of the Dessert Truck, I can honestly say this is incredibly sad news. But other potential vendors looking to get into this business should learn a big lesson from this. Selling food on the streets of New York is not as easy as you would think. You can get all the publicity in the world and have lines down the street-lord knows the Dessert Truck has had both-but in the end it is a tough tough business. Long hours, and tons of obstacles, all to barely squeak out a living. Sure, with this new breed of vendors it can lead to appearances on the Food Network, and high paying catering jobs and corporate gigs. But the day to day work of operating a food truck on the streets of New York City is tough.
Seeing as how the Dessert Truck was one of the first, I asked Jerome if he has any advice for chefs and entrepreneurs looking to follow in his footsteps.
“Think about it carefully. Knowing what I know now, it definitely would not be my first choice.”