Update 2:45pm – Apparently, after protests from some food trucks, the lottery is now going back to allowing trucks to save some sites. As I said below, it just speaks to a lack of commitment to work consistently with food trucks.
Tonight is the lottery for the April 2016 Boston food truck season, specifically, for sites provided by the city of Boston. And while I requested being able to attend, I never received an answer from Food Intitiatives. While it may fall under the ethic rules of an open meeting, I’m choosing not to push the issue right now. I’m disappointed in not being able to get you information on the new trucks participating, but will try and get that in other ways.
I’ve written previously about the the increase in rates and how the lottery had been held in January, right after the Greenway told vendors who would be scheduled there. There was good and bad in the change. There were a number of potential vendors who participated in the lottery, but never got their act together to actually hit the streets. So a later date would hopefully address that. However, it seems that there are fewer new trucks anyway, and that for the first time, between trucks off the road and new trucks, the number of participating food trucks will be pretty much flat.
Until last week, there was a plan where trucks that were already in the system last Fall, would be able to keep one or two spots they had then, depending how long they were in the program. Apparently, some people complained, and the veteran trucks would no longer be able to keep those sites. No real explanation was provided other than concerns that were called severe and sincere. Food Initiatives asserted their desire to be fair to all, but in my opinion, food trucks that have participated in the program for years should get some consideration. Some had already started staffing and scheduling, based on that promise. As little as the city has done to update and address a significant lack of support for the program, it seems this is one more thing that would have been avoidable if you had an ongoing relationship and discussion with the food trucks.
And it again points out that the trucks themselves don’t do themselves any favor by not having one organized group to represent them. If you don’t understand that the power of many outweighs any specific action that might not benefit you, you lose out in the long run.
I have not seen or heard of anything regarding the process itself, how the order will be determined. As it stands, the lottery is pretty much limited to prime locations and lunch shifts only. Everything else is open on a first come first serve basis – breakfasts, dinners, non-prime locations. As I said in a previous post, between the date change and now, inability to keep locations and limited choices, food trucks are best served in finding the increasing options outside Boston. Those options are proving to be far less complicated and onerous than the city.
Sadly, nothing has changed since I wrote about the slow death of the Boston food truck scene. It’s not to suggest it will disappear, but what could be a thriving opportunity, will continue to be diminished.
One new food truck to add to the group is Indulge India. They’re on twitter as @IndulgeIndiaFT, but have not tweeted yet.