Community leaders sound off on food truck future

Growing regulation from municipalities, along with oversaturation in the market, may be the reason there is a decline in food trucks in the Central Texas area.

However, some local leaders believe there still may be a market for food trucks in the Buda and Kyle area, despite the slower pace of development of food trucks.

In Kyle, where seven food trucks operate in the area, vendors must have a permit that allows them to operate within a restricted number of hours in the day.

Kyle Community Development and Planning Director Howard Koontz said city leaders made a change to the food truck ordinance a year ago to clarify permitting procedures for mobile food vendors.

“We haven’t yet noticed any change in the average number of temporary and mobile food vendors as a result of the change,” Koontz said.

Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers said more food trucks in Kyle would help to make the city more of a destination spot for visitors and help strengthen the city’s downtown sector.

“A true food truck court downtown would become a destination and create foot traffic which helps create a vibrant community core,” Sellers said.

But Mayor Travis Mitchell said Kyle isn’t quite there yet in terms of high demand for food trucks.

However, Mitchell said a creative and mixed-use development model adopted by Kyle would help make food trucks successful.

Mitchell said the traditional food truck concept has to have population density to work.

A food truck in downtown Austin might be more successful than one in Kyle due to the abundance of foot traffic already there, Mitchell said.

“I’m a fan of food trucks and the approval of mixed use development in Kyle is a signal to commercial developers that we want that kind of walkable community here in Kyle,” Mitchell said.

Dreams of a food truck park, however, will be coming to Buda soon as Greg Henry, owner of Willie’s Joint, was approved to open one on Main Street.

But Chance Sparks, Buda assistant city manager, said financing is one potential issue vendors have when it comes to setting up a food trailer in Buda. Only three food trucks are currently operating in Buda.

Buda City Council member Remy Falcon said the presence of food trucks in Buda would offer variety in food choices to consumers.

It also could keep consumers from traveling outside Buda to get their food truck fix.

“I think there is a market in Buda for food trucks,” Falcon said.

She said applying an “if you build it, they will come’ philosophy could lead to success in the industry.

“I think anything that will keep people close to home instead of going to Austin for more varied food options is a great idea,” Falcon said.

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