KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Food trucks are part of a growing trend across the country and in Knoxville. There are so many that Knoxville city officials are looking into ways to regulate them. Right now, there are no guidelines for how the trucks operate.
Nikisha and Byron Sambat opened the Savory and Sweet Truck just a year ago.
"If you have an hour for lunch, maybe you want to go to the bank or get a haircut. You don't always have time for a one hour meal. You want to grab something quick," explained Byron, about why the concept is popular.
Problem is, the trucks aren't allowed to operate on downtown streets. In fact, other than being inspected by the health department, they aren't under any guidelines at all. And that's an issue for truck operators. They say customers don't know where to go to find the trucks.
"Maybe if we have a consistent location or spot where they can be on the lookout, they won't have to chase the truck, because they know where it's at," said Edwin Wong, who runs Petro's Food Truck.
"There are special regulations for hot dog vendors already. They can get a permit and vend downtown," Byron explained.
The city says they recognize the new trend.
"They are upscale restaurants on wheels. They serve fresh food," said Rick Emmett with the City of Knoxville.
He says just this week, the city met with several food truck owners. The hope is to have an ordinance in place by Spring.
"To operate in parking spaces and downtown at different times is obviously important to them. Of course we have to talk to existing restaurants and others to figure out how that'll work," Emmett said.
It benefits not just the businesses, but the tummies of many on the go.
"The main benefit will be variety," Byron said.
The city is also looking at how other areas regulate their food trucks. They're using that as a template to figure out what rules they'll bring into Knoxville.