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Food truck business booming in Denver with increases in issued licenses

Posted at 8:55 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 10:55:26-04

DENVER — In 2010, Denver had 150 licensed food trucks on its streets. What does that number look like today? Approximately 700.

The city of Denver estimates there could be 750 licensed food trucks by the end of the summer. There has been a 23% increase in food truck licenses in Denver in the last year alone. The numbers make it clear that the food truck business is rapidly growing in the Mile High City.

"I think our 300 days of sunshine make it a great place for outdoor events," said Zack Hines, the owner of the OG Burgers food truck. "Food trucks are the perfect compliment for any outdoor event."

The Denver Department of Excise & Licenses issues licenses for food trucks, but it is a coordinated approach with an inspection with the Denver Fire Department and the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment.

"We have to work carefully to make sure we have sensible regulations that help protect the public and weave food trucks into the fabric of our community," said Ashley Kilroy with the excise and licenses department.

The city of Denver has tried to make the process easier for applicants to get a license.

Every Friday, the team conducts inspections on the spot and issues licenses at the Denver Animal Shelter so food truck entrepreneurs don’t have to go to multiple places to get inspections done.

The old process required food truck owners to make at least four trips to different agencies to get a license. This was especially difficult for both businesses and the city of Denver during major events served by food trucks such as the National Western Stock Show. The Department of Excise & Licenses estimates this new process has cut the number of trips necessary for license from six to two, which at $25 per hour earnings, is saving the average total amount of license applicants more than $30,000 per year and the city of Denver more than $28,000 per year in processing applications.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Food Truck Nation report said Denver is the second-most food truck friendly city in the nation.