Sydneysiders will soon be able to enjoy a greater variety of late night meals, with food trucks scheduled to hit our streets for the first time next year.
The City of Sydney is inviting expressions of interest from operators who can deliver gourmet-style take-away food from vehicles that will move between different locations in the city.
The pilot program is one of several measures the city is taking to improve and diversify its nightlife offering.
"People have been telling us it's hard to get a restaurant-quality meal in Sydney after 10pm, and they want more access to quality casual dining," Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said. "Mobile food trucks can help fill the role of providing high quality food at different places throughout the night."
Food trucks have become a sensation in U.S. cities like New York, LA and Portland, where some of them have built a cult following with highly-decorated trucks and signature dishes such as tacos, pancakes and Korean BBQs.
"These businesses offer good quality food and a welcoming vibe. They've generated a real sense of excitement around their businesses and we want to bring that excitement to Sydney," Moore said.
The city hosted workshops recently that attracted more than 30 participants keen to trial food truck ideas. Ten of the most interesting and innovative ideas will be picked for the pilot program, which will start next January 2012 and run for a year.
"We want to hear from sole traders, companies and registered food businesses that can prepare, cook and sell high-quality away food that captures the essence of Sydney as an exciting street food destination," Moore added.
The City will help those taking part in the trial by slashing red tape that can currently make it hard for permanent mobile food businesses to get established, including making spaces in the city available for the food trucks, and helping operators to ensure all health and worker safety requirements are met.
While sites where the trucks will operate are yet to be determined, they will deliberately not include areas close to existing cafes and restaurants.
"This is not about driving away customers from existing food outlets. It's about increasing options where none currently exist. We want to encourage new and innovative ideas that will add life to the city, while also supporting existing businesses. This is about diversity, but we also fully support existing operators and businesses," said City of Sydney’s Night Time Economy manager, Suzie Matthews.
Expressions of interest are invited until 6 December. They should be placed in the Tender Box at Level 2, Town Hall House, 456 Kent Street, Sydney between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday.