The Adelaide City Council yesterday voted to reduce the number of food truck operators from 40 to 30 and increase licensing fees to $2,500 per year.

In addition, the number of food truck operators permitted to trade in the CBD before 6pm will be limited to 10.

The decision came about after a number of established brick and mortar venues reported losses due to the increased presence of food trucks near their restaurants. According to Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO, John Hart, some businesses experienced between a 30-50 percent reduction in trade during a specific six week period commencing in March this year.

Hart says that a recent R&CA member survey revealed that 70 per cent of operators believed their revenues had been negatively impacted during the ‘Mad March’ period as a result of significant increases in food truck operators.

“Some operators reported losses of up to $50,000 over the six week period compared to previous years. This can equate to a 30-50 per cent reduction in trade. The consistent factor has been food trucks that until now did not have the same overheads as established businesses,” says Hart.

“The industry has consistently raised concerns over temporary operators profiled during the Mad March period. Foregoing the proper checks and balances to ensure these stallholders meet the minimum health and safety, payroll, and insurance requirements creates an un-level playing field between transient and established businesses.”

Hart says that the changes will ensure that temporary and existing food businesses can co-exist.

“The dining scene is changing with food trucks offering quick, simple and cost effective meal options for consumers. When effectively integrated with bricks and mortar businesses, food trucks offer consumers greater choice, activate precincts, and support major events and festivals,” says Hart. 

The key changes include:

  • Reduction from 40 permits to 30 permits
  • Five Permits allocated for new MFVs and 5 permits allocated for fixed food businesses
  • Distance between MFVs and Fixed Business to be 25metres, and 50 metres from fixed businesses of the same primary food type
  • This distance is not applicable in the Squares
  • Annual permit season rather than two six month permit seasons
  • Increase in fees to $2500 + GST for an annual permit for existing Mobile Food Vendors (payments can be in instalments)
  • 50% of the full priced permit fee for new MFVs ($1250 + GST)
  • Fees waived for the first year of trade for Fixed Food Businesses
  • Six MFVs are able to trade in the Squares at any one time


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