Following months of deliberations, the government announced Tuesday a trial scheme that will allow a limited number of food trucks to be operated at prime tourist spots by the end of next year.
Under the program unveiled by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, twelve food trucks will be given permits to station themselves at six tourist attractions.
There will be two trucks at each of the following spots: Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, the harborfront at Central, Salisbury Garden and Art Square in Tsim Sha Tsui, and outside Ocean Park and Disneyland theme parks.
The food truck scheme is now being defined as a tourism project and the Tourism Commission will set up a special team for it, tourism commissioner Cathy Chu Man-ling said.
Operators will be screened by a panel comprising government officials, representatives of the tourism venues and food experts, Ming Pao Daily cited Chu as saying.
Judges will look into the applicants’ business model, cuisine creativity and the design concept of the food truck in evaluating the proposals.
There will also be a food-tasting session before permits are granted for 12 trucks.
Chu said the food trucks are not meant to sell ordinary items such as fish balls and egg puffs.
Currently, there is no law to regulate the food truck business, so the winners will be granted a food factory license for the time being.
But the Tourism Commission will review the process from time to time in the next two years, Chu said.
Commerce Secretary Gregory So Kam-leung gave a cost estimate of around HK$600,000 to run each truck.
Applicants can apply for loan of up to HK$300,000, given that the business would attract young entrepreneurs, So said.
When asked whether the entry barrier is set too high, So replied that it is reasonable as “rent wouldn’t be low in crowded places”.
Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades Ltd., said investing HK$600,000 to run a food truck is reasonable.
If one were to start a regular restaurant in busy districts, the cost would be much more, he noted.
Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, a member of the Legislative Council, said he is satisfied with the government arrangement.
He said he hopes the food trucks are operated by small firms or even individuals, rather than big restaurant groups.
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