Businesses target food trucks' licenses with appeals board

Some restaurants and building owners in the Financial District are taking a stand against food trucks, which they say create unfair competition, and want The City’s Board of Appeals to tell their roving rivals to hit the road.

Since March, The City’s Department of Public Works has issued 16 permits to food trucks under a revised ordinance for mobile food vendors. Of those, three are on hold as they face appeals from neighbors.

On Wednesday, the board will weigh in on the first of those appeals, filed by building owners at 101 California St. and 25 Beale St. opposed to Doc’s of the Bay setting up a gourmet burger truck outside their buildings.

“No one is against the food trucks, they just need to be regulated,” said Karen Smith, the property manager for Aristo Investment Group, which filed an appeal. “It needs to be in an area that doesn’t already have vitality of restaurants.”

Lauren Smith, co-owner of Doc’s of the Bay, sees it differently.

“We believe there’s enough demand in the city of San Francisco to have competition from food trucks that is fair. The Financial District is so saturated with office workers, employees, people passing by.”

The truck parks in one location for no more than eight hours a week and offers a different dining experience than a restaurant, Smith said.

“If a restaurant is concerned about a truck being there one day a week for one lunch, they’ve got other issues,” she said.

Among the restaurants appealing Doc’s permit are Portico Restaurant, Sellers Markets and The Plant Café.

Aside from the two contested Financial District spots, Doc’s has permission to flip burgers at two sites in the Mission and one alongside Transamerica Redwood Park.

But even uncontested sites are off limits until the appeal is resolved, Smith said.

sgantz@sfexaminer.com

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