Date
28 April 2017
Many of the early operators of food trucks are struggling to stay afloat due to tepid business. The trucks can only park at a few selected locations, often far away from busy tourist spots. Photo: HKEJ
Many of the early operators of food trucks are struggling to stay afloat due to tepid business. The trucks can only park at a few selected locations, often far away from busy tourist spots. Photo: HKEJ

Govt adds 3 operating spots to salvage food trucks scheme

The government announced on Thursday that it will add three new venues for the pilot food trucks scheme in order to boost the business.

The new locations will be at the Science Park in Sha Tin, the Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui, and outside the AsiaWorld-Expo near the Hong Kong International Airport, according to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB).

The locations have been chosen in view of the great demand for food when events are held at those venues, it said.

Food truck vendors can begin operating at the AsiaWorld-Expo by the end of May and at the Science Park by early June.

As for the Science Museum venue, food trucks can commence business there in November.

The expansion of the food trucks scheme comes after the program didn’t go too well in the three months since it was rolled out, with one licensee — Capital Cafe — even deciding not to join at all, the Hong Kong Economic Journal noted.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung admitted that the business has not been ideal as the eight existing trucks have a big gap in their incomes at different sites.

Vendors at the Ocean Park, Salisbury Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Central Harbourfront, and the Energising Kowloon East venues in Kwun Tong were amongst the worst performers, making only thousands of dollars a day while the most popular food truck — at Disneyland — could pull in six-digit numbers in a day.

Under the new arrangements, food trucks may now also take part in events held by the Hong Kong Tourism Board such as the Dragon Boat Festival or during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Food trucks at the Central Harbourfront and the Golden Bauhinia Square are allowed to go to the Science Park when there are bigger exhibitions. However, the operators have to draw lots each time as only one food truck is allowed each time.

The Ocean Park and Kowloon East food trucks will be able to move to the AsiaWorld-Expo when there are events being held there, with at most two trucks participating at the venue simultaneously. Food trucks at Kowloon East venue will also be allowed to conduct business at a Tsim Sha Tsui site at night.

So added that the Crunch Munch food truck will start business next month, while two other trucks, including Dessert Kaffee, are awaiting licenses.

Sing Tak-fung, a spokesperson for Canton’s Dim Sum Expert, a food truck operator, points out that although the Disneyland location has been the most popular, the predicted income is still much less than expected.

Taking note of the government’s new initiatives, Sing says authorities seem to be tweaking the program as they gain more experience, realizing the need to reconsider the locations after testing out less crowded spots.

Lawmaker Aron Kwok Wai-keung said the new measures are only minor improvements, and that the CEDB needs to do much more to promote the food trucks business in the city.

Headline Daily quoted Allen Ha Wing-on, chief executive officer of AsiaWorld-Expo, as saying that he welcomes the addition of the food trucks to his exhibition venue on the airport island.

He believes the food trucks can make the Expo’s events and exhibitions livelier, enriching the experience for visitors to Hong Kong.

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EL/FC/RC

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