National Street Vending Initiative: Miami, Fla.

Miami’s laws make it impossible for food trucks to operate outside of special events. The city prohibits trucks from parking in public parking lots and metered and unmetered parking spaces. This seriously hurts the food trucks’ ability to earn an honest living, and is denying Miami’s communities of the many benefits of food trucks. The trucks shouldn’t be limited to operating at scheduled special events—they should be able to roam freely in the city, only restricted by legitimate public health and safety regulations.

Read Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending

We need your help to open up Miami’s streets to food trucks. Please visit the Food Truck Association of Miami’s websiteand sign up to receive updates about what you can do to help.

Anthony Fellows is the owner of the HipPOPs food truck, from which he sells fresh, made-to-order, all natural gelato bars. They are enormously popular—even Andrew Zimmern of Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods sang their praises. Anthony said, “I’d love to bring my creative confections to my customers—after all, we’re on wheels—but sadly, Miami law makes that impossible … not being able to vend in the streets of Miami has been a huge roadblock.” “If the streets were opened up to food trucks, the possibilities for success would be limitless,” he continued.

Miguel Kristaly owns The Health Nut on Wheels. A competitive athlete since he was a teenager, Miguel now sells high-quality, sustainable meals perfect to re-energize someone after a work-out. Miguel said, “Food trucks have great potential to make Miami and the rest of South Florida an even better place to live. Since we’re on four wheels, we can better reach and serve neighborhoods that don’t have so many dining options. By cooking up mouthwatering dishes, we expand consumer choice.”


In 2014, Street Eats, Safe Eats, an original study by the Institute for Justice, reviewed thousands of food safety inspection reports from food trucks, carts, and restaurants.  The data proved that Miami’s mobile food businesses provided cleaner options than the city’s brick-and-mortar establishments.


Miami Food-safety Violations, 2009-July 2012*

  Average (Mean) Violations   Standard Deviation   Minimum   Maximum
Total Violations
Mobile Vendors 3.71 3.62 0 31
Restaurants 8.15 7.97 0 69
Critical Violations
Mobile Vendors 3.31 3.15 0 26
Restaurants 5.43 5.39 0 47
Non-critical Violations
Mobile Vendors 0.40 0.94 0 10
Restaurants 2.72 3.25 0 36
*Data provided by Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation and based on 1,627 inspections of 730 mobile vendors and 23,836 inspections of 3,959 restaurants.


Estimated Differences in Food-safety Violations, Miami, 
2008-July 2012 (Statistically Significant Results in Italics)*

Average Restaurant Violations
Compared to Mobile Vendors
Rate of Restaurant Violations
Compared to Mobile Vendors
Total Violations 4.19 more 117% more
Critical Violations 1.96 more 61% more
Non-critical Violations 2.24 more 597% more
*Results listed derived from OLS and Poisson regressions.  Full regression results for total violations can be found in Appendix B.