Mobile Indira canteens have it easy, but food trucks struggle

Last Updated 26 January 2018, 19:37 IST

Notwithstanding the opening of 20 mobile Indira canteens on Friday, running  food trucks in Bengaluru remains a risky and complicated business proposition for hoteliers.  

Entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry often find food trucks to be a great way to start out as the required initial capital is low. But a lack of clarity on the necessary licences makes running the mobile eateries a challenge.

"There is still no official word on what licences we need to operate. Most of us get the FSSAI licence along with permissions from the RTO to operate as mobile canteens. But when we try to do business on the street, we are harassed by police and BBMP officials. Some of them even demand the hawker's licence," a  food trucker said.  

Varun Sequeira, the president of the Bangalore Food Truck Association (BFTA), said very few food trucks  operated  on the streets and the ones that did were hidden away. Earlier, one could find them in  prominent areas such as HSR Layout and Koramangala. But pressure from police and BBMP officials has forced them off the streets, he added.    

Sequeira, however,  hopes things will change. "We submitted a proposal to the mayor and got a positive response. Besides asking him to decide on  the licences required, we suggested that we could operate on empty lands of the BBMP, use biodegradable dishes and maintain hygiene standards," he added.

BBMP Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said Indira canteens had obtained the FSSAI licence as well as permissions from the RTO. The hawker's licence is not required.

"Nobody has brought this to our notice and nobody has complained about harassment from officials. If they want clarity, we will give clarity. We will definitely take up the matter if someone complains," he said.

Fed up with trying to resolve the matter, Varun Srikanth, one of the first food truck operators in the city, has started a platform called The Food Truck League as an alternative means to get business. "I am focusing more on events now, on having tie-ups with corporate bodies, tech parks, events and so on. Through the platform, anyone can book food trucks and choose cuisines for their events," he said.

Srikanth said most food trucks were relying on events and IT companies because they were more reliable and the owners didn't have to worry about harassment from officials.  

(Published 26 January 2018, 18:32 IST)

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