eHow’s Guide to Starting a Food Truck in NYC is Complete Garbage

Over the past year there have been countless articles and blog posts and tv segments dedicated to helping entrepreneurs take advantage of the food truck explosion that has been going on lately.  But the latest entry, courtesy of eHow is quite possibly the worst I’ve ever seen.  I probably shouldn’t get so mad, but crap like this is the reason why so many food trucks operators get blindsided by what they didn’t know about running a mobile food business. The eye rolling starts on suggestion #2:

“Follow New York’s licensing and permit requirements to the letter and avoid obtaining a permit on the black market”

And how exactly do you propose to do that?

Something like a dozen permits become available every year, and it takes year just to get on the waiting list.  YEARS.  In other words, not a single new gourmet truck that has launched in New York in the past 3 years got their permits directly from the city of New York.  They bought them from somebody who already owned the permit (i.e. on the black market).  Now, whether or not there are loopholes in the law that make that practice technically “legal” who is to say.  But know that if you want to start to food truck in New York City, “following New York’s licensing and permit requirements to the letter” is practically impossible.

Let’s move on to #5:

“Pay as much attention to parking and driving laws as you do to satisfying customer requests for new menu choices. Adhere to the posted hours your truck is legally able to operate. Honor statutes that, for example, limit food trucks to within 20 feet of a building entrance in New York City.”

Tell me… where exactly in New York is there a “legal” parking space more than 20 feet away from a building entrance?  I would re-write this paragraph to explain that technically there are practically zero legal spots for food trucks to park in this city.  If you choose to open a truck in NYC you will be in a constant battle with police over parking tickets- which will essentially become a cost of doing business.

And number 6 just shows how little the author knows about what she’s writing about.  Rickshaw Dumpling Truck doesn’t sell egg rolls.  And bookmarking the “New York Street Food” website won’t help you to win the “vendor and rookie of the year” awards.  Those are handed out at the Vendy Awards by the Street Vendor Project… an organization you should probably contact before writing another guide that “helps” people start food trucks in New York (or anywhere for that matter!)

Rant over.

If you are thinking of opening a food truck in New York City, scroll through our “Street Vendor Issues” category.  Seeing what vendors go through on a daily basis will be infinitely more helpful in teaching you the business than the eHow guide.


  • Nice! Way to come down the truth hammer Zach!

  • excellent post! i saw the same e-how article just the other day and let a huge guffaw.

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    Seriously, and to think Demand Media just went public about a month ago, with some of their best holdings being crappy sites like eHow. When the internet bubble bursts (and it will) that stock (DMD) is going to plummet.

    Let’s all short the stock and then buy up all the permits in NYC! Oh wait…I forgot #2 says not to do that. DAMN!

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    I’m so close to switching to Google Chrome entirely because it allows one to block sites from its Google searches. No more Demand Media sites for me!

  • Come on guys. eHow is just as shitty as Yahoo Answers….I thought this was common knowledge, or were you going to Digg it?

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    I’m completely devastated. Whenever I want to learn how to do something (especially something important like how to launch a business), eHow is my first and last internet destination for figuring out how to get things done. You’ve shaken my faith to the core. I guess if I really want to know how to open a food truck, I’ll have to use Yahoo Answers.

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    As the VP here at 800BUYCART; a proud member of Worksman Cyles, NYC’s original manufacturer of stainless food carts, trucks, kiosks and trailers;I have read so many articles like this over the years it simple makes me smile. People will try to sell you with so called expert knowledge regardless of what they actually know.
    Should anyone actually want to really have some expert knowledge about all things mobile food vending; give us a call. This knowledge is not in a “how to” it comes from growing up in the business with over 40 years personal hands on experience. Oh the phone number is 800-BUY-CART or on the web at And yes we are one of the few small businesses who still manufacture stuff not only here in the U.S. but in N.Y.C.

    • “Expert” was never a claimed title. All this is a hastily thrown together article with no sources.

      Also, we don’t buy carts, we buy food. So take that shit elsewhere.

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        Hey- the food you buy-if they are from carts, trucks etc….come from some of the stuff we build ….good ingredients…and equipment and design is a form of ingredient lead to good end results…and we are the ones who have to deal with the ridiculousness with ever changing Health Department regulation whims that can vary literally from one vendors’ inspection to the next. I guess one could say it keeps it interesting…not really

      • Glorified grill with wheels. Check.

      • Way to promote your equipment, 800. SNORE!!!!!

        And made in the USA/NYC means it’s too expensive for the hard-working cart-owners. They will have to make due on the foreign counterparts…

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    i dont know if you should trust someone that also posts this:

    as well as this:

    i personally like the fact that she is using a picture of toy soldiers for that one… very classy… cause you know no one takes being a medic seriously anyway its all fun and games

  • Zach,
    Have you come across an eHow or something similar on starting a competitor to the flying pink pig cart? NYC might have some demand.

  • eHow article on how to start a successful food blog:
    1. husky, balding, “handsome” guy…check
    2. periodic interview with cute asian chick who probably blogs about food…check
    3. uncensored comments with (a) misanthropes, (b) flinstones characters, (c) sexually frustrated teenagers, (d) cheese…check
    4. posts within three degrees of separation from a food topic…check
    5. mysterious corporate sponsor who pays the bills…check!

  • hahaha ehow! garbage!

    that photo looks familiar….=)

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    eHow is some serious garbage, it’s no wonder their parent company Demand Media has lost over 65% of their value since IPOing less than a year ago:

    I’m an aspiring restaurateur and recently did some research on opening a food truck. Thanks for elaborating on the permit situation in NYC.

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