'No premises permit' keeps mobile eateries in business for now

yogitruckthumbnailCalgary City Council is looking to change the city's current food truck pilot program.

The proposed changes would remove the current 40-truck limit on the number of licenses available.

However, the changes won't go before council until November, leaving at least one food truck in licensing limbo.

Yummi Yogis are a new food truck which offer all-natural beverages and gluten-free snacks. Owners Nikki Brule and Lisa Piluschak said they applied for a pilot spot in April but the city's program was full.

"We were kind of surprised that we couldn't get a street vending license," Brule said. "So we found our way around that and made contact with people to use their parking lots."

"They don't limit the amount of restaurants, so I think the cream will rise to the top and those that do a good job and keep their costs low will survive and those that don't will not."

– Gabriel Goldberg, owner of Red Wagon Diner

Instead of a normal pilot program license — allowing trucks to sell food on city streets — Yogis was able to get a "no-premises permit."

This permit allows them to sell their creations as long as they get permission from property owners where they set up shop.

YYCFoodTrucks, a local industry association for Calgary food trucks, said via Twitter that around 20 food trucks are in the same position as Yummi Yogis and are finding ways to operate without a pilot license.

Yummi Yogis said they would be one of the trucks in line for a license when council makes their official decision, but will continue selling on-property until then.

"We want to have the option to set up downtown on the street if we want to," Brule said. "We're waiting to hear back about what the next steps are."

Meaghan Fitzpatrick of Yummi Yogis with one of their super foods, the Chaga mushroom Meaghan Fitzpatrick of Yummi Yogis with one of their super foods, the Chaga mushroom

Photo by Ryan Rumbolt

Gabriel Goldberg, owner of Red Wagon Diner, has a pilot program license and said he welcomes the added competition more trucks would serve up.

"The rest of the country doesn't work that way," Goldberg said. "They don't limit the amount of restaurants, so I think the cream will rise to the top and those that do a good job and keep their costs low will survive and those that don't will not."

As for the number of licenses, Piluschak of Yummi Yogis and Goldberg of Red Wagon Diner said they share the same "more the merrier" attitude.

"I think it will definitely make things more interesting," Piluschak said. "But I think it will actually start narrowing down who makes it and who doesn't."

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