New Legislation Would Make It Easier to Sell Street Food in San Francisco

San Francisco is poised to streamline its rules for mobile food vending, making it easier ― and cheaper ― for street food vendors to operate on both public and private property. A Planning Commission hearing today takes up changes to the city's laws regulating truck and pushcart vendors operating on private property (anything from parking lots to city parks). A hearing before the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee on Monday takes up the issue of vendors on the public right-of-way, which includes sidewalks and city streets.

District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty is sponsoring the rule changes, which eliminate the duplication of fees that would-be vendors face now. The new legislation also erases the distinction between truck and pushcart vendors. Monday's community meeting at La Cocina outlined the proposed changes.

Off the Grid organizer and mobile vending consultant Matt Cohen tells SFoodie that the new law would ease the burdens and expense of becoming a legal street-food vendor in San Francisco. As it is now, vendors have to pay the same onerous licensing fees for every location where they intend to sell. “What the legislation does is get rid of the duplication of fees that happen every time you want to get re-permitted for a different location,” Cohen says. “Right now, you have to pay the same fees over and over again.” With the proposed law a vendor would pay slightly more than the current fees for the initial permit, but then pay significantly less every additional year to renew.

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