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Food truck owners say extension to midnight isn't late enough

Posted by boston.com  April 1, 2014 01:53 PM

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FOOD TRUCKS PHOTO.JPG

Ashley Delma

Boston University student Audrey Faln picks up some dinner from her favorite food truck, Bon Me. “I would love if they could stay out as late as the bars,” she said.

The city of Boston on April 1 extended for one hour — until midnight — how long food trucks can serve food, but food trucks owners say that simply isn’t late enough.

Before April 1, food trucks were allowed to stay out as late as 11 p.m. But most ditch their parking spots around 8 p.m., when customer traffic slows down.

Ian So, 27, is the co-owner and Founder of The Chicken and Rice Guys food truck, which was created by a group of friends who got the idea from a famous food truck in New York, called Halal Guys.

In the past, food trucks like The Chicken and Rice Guys tried to stay out as late as 11 p.m. but found they drew fewer than five customers at night.

“People are not getting food at 11 or 12 p.m.,” said So. “They are normally still in bars, drinking.”

“For the extended hours to really work it needs to be pushed to two or three in the morning,” said So, which is how late the new MBTA service operates on weekends.

Though The Chicken and Rice Guys are happy that people say they like the new late hours, the demand “is just not enough,” said So.

Audrey Faln, 21, a student at Boston University whose favorite food truck is Bon Me said, “I would love if they could stay out as late as the bars.”

Bon Me, well-known Vietnamese food truck, will not be taking advantage of the extension of operating hours to midnight, said Jennifer Ngo, Bon Me’s marketing specialist.

“While the demand is reassuring” Ngo said, “it currently doesn’t make sense for us to stay open later.”

Mayor Martin J. Walsh's Mobile Food Truck Committee could not be reached for comment.

The press release issued by the city announcing the extended hour called it a “pilot program” and said the locations were determined in consultation with the Boston Police Department. Three sites were chosen based on “area foot traffic and public safety.”

The Chicken and Rice Guys will try out the extra hour starting the week April 1, So said, but probably will not participate in the extra hour in the long run if there are not a lot of customers.

If you’re looking for food trucks participating in the extended hour come April 1st they’ll be parked outside of BU East, Northeastern University, and the Boston Public Library until midnight on Thursdays through Saturdays.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.

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