food trucks struggling to survive

Local | Carine Chow 24 Jun 2021

Carine Chow

Only six food trucks are still in operation as the government considers ending the struggling pilot scheme.

The scheme was launched more than four years ago, with 15 food trucks participating. But only 12 trucks remained as of last month, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah told lawmakers yesterday.

The scheme has been extended to February 2 of next year and it will no longer accept new applications, Yau said.

"Food trucks as a tourism facility in Hong Kong have limited room for development. The Tourism Commission ... does not rule out the possibility of bringing the scheme to an end eventually," he said.

Between January 2020 and May 2021, the food trucks only earned about HK$2.7 million in total. The average gross monthly revenue of operating food trucks hit its lowest at HK$35,000 when the city was in the throes of the pandemic's third wave between July and September last year.

Although all 12 venues are currently open, the six food trucks are only operating in four venues - Hong Kong Disneyland, West Kowloon Cultural District, Tsim Sha Tsui Art Square and Jockey Club HKFA Football Training Center.

Gordon Lam Sui-wa, chairman of the Hong Kong Food Truck Federation, said it was "expected" that the government would suspend the scheme.

"In the end, food trucks are a tourism-driven business," he said, noting that some of the operators did not renew their licenses.

"[Authorities] should discuss with food truck operators about potential compensation, and the possibility of having the West Kowloon Cultural District as a permanent venue for food trucks," Lam said.

Legislator Yiu criticized the authorities' move as "irresponsible," as operators had to invest a minimum of HK$1 million into every food truck.

He added that the government should talk to stakeholders and decide together whether there is still potential for food trucks in Hong Kong, taking into consideration the impact that border control measures may have on the scheme.

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