A call for unity echoed throughout the Philadelphia Food Truck Association’s inaugural meeting on Monday night.
The nascent organization, founded by Mt. Airy resident Andrew Gerson, was created as a forum for operators to network, but also as a vehicle to push for regulatory reform in a city with a fast-growing food truck scene.
“I saw in this city great potential for food trucks,” said Gerson, who will soon launch his own truck under the banner of Strada Pasta. “But there’s a bit of a lack of infrastructure in terms of the progress we can make.”
The city, for example, has a lengthy “prohibited streets” list that dictates which areas are off-limits for mobile food truck vending.
Many of the nearly 60 attendees agreed that the city is poised for reform and that the only way to achieve anything is to speak with one voice.
“It’s a very tough industry and we’re looking forward to getting a bunch of people together,” said Dave Jurkofsky, one-half of the food truck Vernalicious. “One person is not going to make a difference. A hundred people will make a difference.”
Dan Pennachietti, who runs Lil Dan’s Gourmet Lunch Truck, said being organized will make potential negotiations with the city run smoother.
“One communal voice would be awesome,” he said.
Paul Tolis, who founded the now inactive Unified Vendors of Philadelphia in the 1990s, added that in coming together, association members must be prepared to battle with the city and the business community.
The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 11 at the Free Library of Philadelphia at 1901 Vine St. That meeting will focus more specifically on the hurdles facing food truck operators and creating a formal structure for the association.
“There’s a lot of work. There’s still a lot to do,” said Gerson afterwards.