Guess How Many Of The 17 New Street Food Vendors Are Ready?

3775861489_48db4c7715_bphoto: Jeanine Anderson

It turns out I was wrong a few weeks back when I opined on City Hall’s methodology to determine who would be granted licenses for their street food pilot project. They “chose” by lottery instead of by merit. I thought that was a no good, very bad, terrible idea, writing…

The winners are required to be operational in just 22 days [that's today, folks]. In that span they’ll need to be Coastal Health approved (always fun), have a base of operations, and be ready for volume on opening day. How many of these unknowns do you think will be ready? I’d wager no more than 10.

According to the Sun, it’s just one.

  • JAMES

    nuff said, they say out of 17 winners 10 of them just order the cart from the local cart maker who makes carts for JAPADOG!!!
    because of that CITY WILL LET THEM HAVE ANOTHER 2 more WEEKS OF EXTENSIONS so with the EQUAL and FAIR for EVERYONE WHO WON THE ALTERNATES WON’T HAVE A CHANCE TO GET THEIR TURN! how FAIR IS THAT? lol SO MUCH FOR EQUAL AND FAIRNESS FROM CITYHALL

  • http://www.hometownmerchandise.com Sean

    UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
    Yet again are city drops the ball. I suppose we should all just be used to this by now. Just waiting for city hall to add tolls to the new amazing bike lanes…………
    anyone interested in some specialty noodles……………..

  • JAMES

    as HEATHER DEAL says ” this is pilot project we did everything we could to get something on the streets this summer we knew it was imperfect there will be a much better process NEXT YEAR hope that comeback, but a we had over 400 applicants I think we’ll get a several dozens of applicant again next year if not hundreds.”
    why then did you rush the project IF YOU ALREADY KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE IMPERFECT FROM THE GET GO? so what if you had over 400 applicant most of them apply them to become a landlord or weren’t even ready for the business to start with… what a @#$%^!!

  • fmed

    It’s a pilot project. That’s how these things are supposed to work. Launch, smoketest, and iterate. IMO, it is a better way of doing this than being stuck in a quagmire of consultants, designers and consensus building….which is the typical Vancouver approach to doing anything. (Look what happened to Toronto’s street cart project.)

    In a few years we will have hundreds of carts and this little hiccup will all be forgotten.

    As a side note…before anyone goes hardass on Heather Deal…let’s not forget that she was the the person who put this motion forward in city council in the first place. Cut her some slack – she deserves at least that.

  • Scout Magazine

    Really? Heather Deal deserves credit for getting the ball rolling only insofar as she allowed her colleagues to drop it. Appreciate her efforts though I do, it wasn’t enough to warrant anything other than a jeer. Kudos should be reserved for accomplishments, not half-assedness.

  • fmed

    I dunno…a couple of months into a multi-year project and people are already describing this as a failure. It’s too early to make that assessment. Considering the extenuating circumstances (eg staff shortage caused by the Olympics which forced the project to be put into temporary hiatus, etc.) I think this is not quite off the rails yet. If we wait for a “perfect” process that involves “merit” (whatever the that means) we will be waiting a little longer.

    I was just in Portland last weekend and I chatted with a number vendors – and even looked up the requirements from Multnomah County. All they need are some fairly mechanical permits – food handling, health dept, fire dept, right-of-way, that sort of thing. If you have all those, then you are good to go. No need for merit at all.

    Portland has way more spots open because they allow food carts to operate on private property – not just on city property. This is probably the direction the CoV needs to take if it wants the same kind of critical mass that Portland has.

    Not that I don’t have any criticism or concerns about how this was handled….it’s just that the sky isn’t falling over where I’m sitting. (I am, however, farting against thunder.)

  • Nate

    That’s to bad, I was really looking forward to getting a chicken sandwich with fruit salad this weekend.

  • Scout Magazine

    It’s a bad start is all. I’m really excited about the program, and that’s making me a tad impatient with the usual City snafuing. The pilot project should have gotten people excited about what was coming for real down the line. It didn’t.

  • JAMES

    I was looking forward to have dimsum and chinese & japanese traditional food on the street but wow… give it a credit to a COV

  • Dan

    @fmed: You’ve nailed it: this is pilot project and the kinks will get worked out over time. Thank goodness the city didn’t do what Toronto did with their overly bureaucratic process.

    Involving “food consultants” or any other biased process would have been terrible. The fact is, not everyone likes the same thing. Some people may want $6 asian fusion tacos while others may prefer some fried perogies for a buck. I don’t want some bureaucrat deciding what the options are… let the market decide.

    The only problem with the current process is that they should have run the lottery back in April so that the winners had time to sort everything out.

    Anyway the whole imperfect thing is a great change for the city; so hats off to Heather Deal and the city for actually doing it.

  • CouCou

    As I said in another of your post: can you explain to me how come the only one up and running is one that didn’t win the lottery !?

    That’s so screwed up !
    Especially when you know that many food vendors in the lower mainland already have all their licenses and are already allowed to sell at farmers markets and other social events… but not in the street. Couldn’t the pilot project have made a lottery amongst those food vendors instead ?! No, no, that was way too simple…..

  • Scout Magazine

    I can’t explain the method or the result.

  • http://vancouverstreeteats.ca/ Vancouver Street Eats

    This whole affair was half-assedly (yes, it’s a work now) pulled out of a hat, much like the lottery winners.
    I wish the businesses well either way. Businesses who are in the food business at least.
    It has come to light that lottery winners are auctioning their spots.
    This makes me wonder if that was their only intention from the beginning.

    It frustrates me to see. Many cities has a thriving street food scene that one would think wouldn’t be too much for Vancouver to strive for. Poor planning, too much red-tape and the lottery are the main culprits.

    Trying to get accurate locations from the city has also been a personal headache.
    We spend days compiling the most accurate map we could.
    I am pretty sure that the distances from street corners the city provided are supposed to be FEET, not METRES as this moves them incredibly far from the addresses given.

    G

  • http://vancouverstreeteats.ca/ Vancouver Street Eats

    This whole affair was half-assedly (yes, it’s a word now) pulled out of a hat, much like the lottery winners.
    I wish the businesses well either way. Businesses who are in the food business at least.
    It has come to light that lottery winners are auctioning their spots.
    This makes me wonder if that was their only intention from the beginning.
    It frustrates me to see. Many cities has a thriving street food scene that one would think wouldn’t be too much for Vancouver to strive for. Poor planning, too much red-tape and the lottery are the main culprits.
    Trying to get accurate locations from the city has also been a personal headache.
    We spend days compiling the most accurate map we could.
    I am pretty sure that the distances from street corners the city provided are supposed to be FEET, not METRES as this moves them incredibly far from the addresses given.

  • Derek

    @CouCou
    @Vancouver Street Eats

    http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/streets/retailUse/pdf/applicationProcess.pdf

    According to page 3 of the application process:
    -The Street Vending Permit is non-transferable.
    -The Street Vending Permit is invalid if sold and will be immediately revoked.

    How Roaming Dragon is able to do this with city approval is beyond me because it is against everything written in the application process.

  • Scout Magazine

    Those who make the rules can break the rules…

  • http://vancouverstreeteats.ca/ Vancouver Street Eats

    There are defiantly some rules being bent or broken in all of this.
    Having been involved the restaurant industry for quite sometime, the ones who make it often do it by their own rules.
    Finding ways to keep food quality and customer service high while keeping the overhead low enough that can still turn a profit is more alchemy than science.
    It is no surprise to me that the two vendors up and running are more resourceful than city hall.
    Even been in a busy kitchen when the line breaks down?