Struggling food truck scheme in Hong Kong needs radical revamp

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 10:29pm

Yet another food truck has closed because of lack of business and high costs.

The food truck pilot scheme has been controversial since it was rolled out on a two-year trial back in February. Already three operators have called it quits and it is the scheme’s shortcomings that have forced them out.

To begin with, it is costly to run a food truck. The operating cost of a food truck is very high. It is not just the initial costs of setting up, such as painting and decorating the truck to lure customers, and fitting a kitchen, but also maintenance of the truck and its equipment.

And there is the cost of renting a venue, which may or may not have enough customers. The government’s requirement for a backup kitchen is another financial burden for operators. These factors combined make it a struggle to turn a profit, let alone a decent living.

Operating in a designated location is just too limiting and it’s little wonder these mobile eateries struggle in some of the venues. For example, it’s unlikely Wong Tai Sin Square and Energizing Kowloon East Venue 1 would ever work. These locations are not tourist drawcards, so where are the customers? Profit from those unfrequented venues is hard to imagine.

Moreover, promotion of the food truck scheme has been virtually non-existent since it was introduced and the government needs to do more if it hopes to keep the idea alive. Extra effort is needed to target visitors to the city, since the original plan was aimed at bolstering tourism.

It seems to me the food truck scheme as its stands is just not feasible. The government should revise it if they do not want to see all 16 food trucks shutting up shop.

Karen Ip, Cheung Sha Wan