SFoodie: Why LA?
Global Soul: While our truck was being built down in Riverside, we were in SF eagerly awaiting its completion. During this time, we kept busy by doing catering gigs and participating in special events, including Off the Grid, the SF Street Food Fest, and Eat Real Festival. Although these events were amazing, we still needed to prepare ourselves for operating the truck on a regular basis.
We had been planning for almost a year to get our food truck business up and running in San Francisco. But we faced many challenges, from the high costs for permits to the scarcity of suitable permanent locations (we had a location on private property that ended up falling through). Also, there were no commissaries in SF when we lived here, though there may be one now. All the commissaries we knew or heard of were outside the city.
We have different opportunities here in LA. We don't need to establish a set permanent location. We can roam or have a route in most areas of the city we hold a permit in, as long as we abide by zoning laws, parking signs, and regulations in certain areas.
There's incredible support and a sense of community among all the trucks. Twitter/Facebook is a way of life in LA; it's a religion. If you have a business or need to locate one of the hundreds of food trucks out there, you simply get on your phone and check out one of several apps (which most people have downloaded). The community is definitely embracing the whole truck movement and claim they aren't going anywhere. "Truck lots" are popping up all over Los Angeles County: Several trucks congregate in a lot and bring patrons to an area such as Abbot-Kinney in Venice, Santa Monica, or Downtown LA's Art Walk.
How has it been dealing with the permitting process in Southern California versus the Bay Area?
There are some similarities and differences between the two cities (SF and LA). The permit process in both cities are similar in the following ways: In order to do business in either city, you must obtain a health permit and a business license from the city you plan on conducting business in. You must also have a commissary where you can clean out your truck and park it overnight.
Here's where they're different: If you plan on selling on public property (i.e., the streets) in SF, you must obtain a permit from the police department, which can cost you approximately $10,000 annually. LA does not require you to obtain a permit from the police department. LA County has hundreds of cities, and certain cities may not fall under LA County jurisdiction. Therefore, you are required to obtain a separate health permit and business license in that particular city you wish to do business in.
Can we expect to see you make occasional appearances up here with the truck?
Yes, we would love to eventually move back to San Francisco, but for now, LA is our temporary home. We miss our friends and family, the food, the culture, and the vibe of SF. We would definitely bring the truck up if there was an event we're participating in. We loved being a part of Off the Grid, the Street Food Festival, and Eat Real, and would be happy to participate in next year's festivities.