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Atlanta Street Food Feasibility Study

Atlanta Street Food Feasibility Study

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Published by: Mike Cutno on Sep 15, 2010
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Table of Contents

Executive Summary! ! Street Food Policy! ! Urban Design Study! ! Economic Impact Study! Food Environment Study

! !

! ! !! !! !!

3 5 12 23 31 42 44 53 54

Appendix A Survey Results ! ! Appendix B Maps! ! ! !

Appendix C Setback Diagram!! Appendix D Team Profiles! !


Executive Summary

On the surface, a business that sells food from a truck to a person standing on a sidewalk is simply a place to get food. Food is exchanged for money, the customer eats and leaves. Look deeper and you will see that the customer is not just paying for a delicious $2 dollar taco, but for the experience of being connected to the urban community as a whole. It is only recently in our history as city dwellers that commerce has become detached from culture. Our cities were once full of butchers, produce vendors, craftsmen and other small business entrepreneurs that were apart of the community. Daily commerce connected people through transactions – goods were exchanged but so ideas, stories and information. Today, when people crowd outside of a food truck, meet new people on the street, and talk to vendors on the truck, they are experiencing something new and unfamiliar that was once a part of every day life – interaction on the street. It is the ability to provide this shared experience, in the public realm, that makes street food so appealing. Street food businesses have grown tremendously in other cities across the country. Portland, Oregon had thirty-five food carts in 2007. Today, Portland is home to over 450 carts. Los Angeles recently attracted over 20,000 people to the annual LA Street Food Fest. Street food has proven to be a good model for small businesses in those cities. Atlanta has small business entrepreneurs who have opened street food ventures. There are plenty of residents who want food trucks and food carts on our streets. Yet, it is rare to see a vendor operating on a dayto-day basis. That’s because there are major challenges that make it difficult for vendors to operate profitably in Atlanta.

The first major challenge is the costs associated with opening a business. Vendors must purchase a cart or truck that complies with health codes. A large truck designed specifically to comply with health codes for onboard cooking can cost more than $100,000 (like the Nom Nom truck on page 17). In Georgia, as in other states like California, vendors must prepare (and sometimes cook) their food at what is called a “base of operations,” complete with a kitchen, storage area, and truck servicing area. In California, vendors pay rent to use a “shared kitchen” that also hosts other vendors and reduces operational costs. Local health departments have chosen to restrict vendors to one business per approved kitchen. Once a vendor is able to overcome the costs associated with opening a business they face regulatory challenges from the City of Atlanta (or other city in GA) and their respective county health department. The City of Atlanta has a Public Vending Program that is outsourced to Growth Management, a company located in Chicago. The contract with Growth Management was signed by Mayor Shirley Franklin and considered a success at the time. Growth Management’s contract is for twenty years and presides over all public property (not parks) including sidewalks and streets. The company leases small kiosks to vendors, mostly downtown, at rates that exceed $1,000 dollars per month. The contract prevents the City from allowing vending in any one place without the company’s permission. The Food Code of Georgia also has limitations on location. Mobile food units, their name for food carts and trucks, must name two locations where they can be found. These limitations restrict the economic potential of street food businesses in Atlanta. There are vendors and supporters of street food who are ready to face these challenges. The Atlanta Street Food Coalition partnered with Central Atlanta Progress and Lanier Parking Solutions to support the Atlanta Street

Food Feasibility Study. The study was conducted by a team of three graduate students in the School of City and Regional Planning (SCaRP) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The study is organized into four sections

1. 2. 3. 4.

Policy Urban Design Economic Impact Food Environment

Together, the four sections serve as a reference to inform decisions by policy makers, government officials, vendors, community leaders and the general public.


Street Food Policy


Introduction The Street Food Study Policy Proposal consists of an analysis of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Atlanta with regards to vending on public and private property in the city, as well as, an analysis of the Georgia Food Code. The format is simple, first the precise code is given and quoted directly, second an analysis of the code is provided and finally a recommendation is offered. Recommendations are based off of our study that took place from July 1st to September 1st of this year. Our recommendations are meant to promote street food as a viable business model and a contributor to the viability of city streets and public space. It is not our intention to recommend any change to either the City Code of Ordinances or the Georgia Food Code that may threaten the public health, safety and welfare of the general public. In fact, street food has the potential to improve civic life in the metro area by providing jobs for residents and providing places for people to gather and interact. Part I Codes of the City of Atlanta The codes with regards to vending on public property can be found in Chapter 30 Article XXIII of the Code of Ordinances. Below is the Statement of Intent from Sec. 30-1400:
(1) Serve and protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public; (2) Develop a public vending program to enhance the overall appearance and environment along public streets, pedestrian ways and other public property in a manner that will enhance the city's international image; (3) Increase the variety and quality of goods and. services for sale or rent pursuant to contractual agreements between the City and private entities; (4) Provide guidelines for the erection of structures on public property under the general authority allowed by Division 7 of Article 2 of Chapter 138 of this Code as it now exists or it may be from time to time amended;

(5) Authorize the use of public property for vending purposes through permitting the use of specifically identified sites on public property; (6) Provide economic development opportunities; (7) Allow limited commercial messages to be displayed on vending structures permitted on public property in order to defray the City's costs in managing the vending program, as well as to maximize the revenue and economic development opportunities available as a part of the public vending management program; (8) Authorize a vending advisory board to act as a liaison between the City, vendors, vending management companies, the manufacturers of vending equipment and other interested parties for the purpose of offering advisory opinions on the operation of public property vending.

Parts (1), (2), (3), and (6) are of primary concern in our proposal. The current codes and regulation of them do not meet the objectives stated. Our recommendations are meant to improve on the results of the objectives of the code. Sec. 30-1411 Persons selling from motor vehicles (d) No vehicle shall stop or stand and do business for more
than 30 minutes.

Analysis: Part (d) of this section restricts the economic potential of mobile food units that are limited in their capacity to serve foods quickly unlike a typical ice cream truck serving pre-packaged popsicles and ice cream sandwiches. This code appears to be directed towards ice cream trucks with routes as both parts (a) and (b) mention ice cream trucks and part (c) refers to a restriction that motor vehicles may not operate within 600 feet of a school. The health department limits mobile food units to two locations or two routes per county. However, typical ice cream trucks do not fall under the jurisdiction of the health department because the food is prepackaged. Therefore, ice cream trucks may operate for longer than one hour and in several locations in one day. Street food vendors do not operate along routes

and the vendors do not pull over when patrons request their services. Between the two regulations mobile food unit vendors may only operate for one hour total at two separate locations. Recommendation Create a vendor classification system that will allow the city to regulate the mode of operation of vendors based on classification. Rationale The City should make a distinction between trucks that serve pre-packaged ice cream or other foods only and mobile food units that serve food through food assembly on premises. Keep in mind that even a mobile food unit that serves scoops of ice cream instead of pre-packaged ice cream falls under the jurisdiction of the health department and is limited by the department’s location restriction. The city should create a vendor classification system (or mobile vendor classification system) that defines the mode of operation. The location restrictions can be regulated by the mode of operation and vendor class. Mobile food units should be allowed to operate on public property without having to move in order to meet time limit restrictions during normal business hours, 5 am to 2:00 am, as defined by Sec. 30-1410 (Ord. No. 2008-74(08-O-1220), § 2, 9-8-08). Mobile food units should pay for the number of parking spaces their units occupy and for the entire duration of their stay.

other vehicle that may be parked on the street and not less than 100 feet from any intersecting street.

Analysis: The two distance restrictions in part (b) are well suited to protect children on small residential streets from cars whose drivers may not see them crossing because of limited sight lines. Children are less likely to patronize mobile food units that operate primarily in commercial districts. The two distance requirements in part (b) restrict the locations for mobile food units that do not attempt to attract children. Delivery trucks such as the ones used by Fed Ex and UPS are not subject to the same parking restrictions as mobile food units, which are often smaller than delivery trucks. Recommendation: Restrict the parking requirement of mobile food units by vendor class or zoning classification. Rationale: A simple solution is to restrict the location of vendor vehicles by vendor class and zoning classification. Mobile food units that operate in districts zoned commercial should be allowed to follow standard parking rules. Sec. 30-1408 Restrictions on Vending Locations and Operations

(a) (4) No vending location may be within 50 feet of any Sec. 30-1411 Persons selling from motor vehicles (b) Every vendor selling ice cream or other food items out
of a motor vehicle shall, before making any sale, park the vehicle at the right curb and at least eight feet from any

entrance or exit of any hotel or motel except with permission of the owner.

Analysis: This restriction seems unnecessary since hotel loading zones restrict parking by unauthorized vehicles. Public safety is not an issue since the hotel owner may give vendors permission to locate within 50 feet of the entrance/exit. The intent of this statute is more than likely to prevent undesired peddling near hotels. There are several mechanisms in the code that prevent vendors from operating within 50 feet of a hotel entrance. The first is the public vending management contract with Growth Management (UK LaSalle). The Public Works Department must approve the locations for Growth Management’s kiosks. Any vendor that wants to apply for a new permit to vend on the city’s sidewalk must apply through Growth Management. Vendors that were issued permits before the contract with Growth Management took place and grandfathered in must apply to the Public Works Department to change their location. (site source) Recommendation: Restrict vendors from within 50 feet of the entrance of a hotel when the vendor is on the same street as the hotel entrance. Rationale The City should change the language of part (a)(4) to restrict the location of vendors to 50 feet of a hotel entrance on the sidewalk or within 50 feet of an entrance on the same street as the hotel entrance in an on-street parking space. Vendors should be allowed to setup within 50 feet of a hotel entrance when located on a different street than the entrance itself. Sec. 30-1461 Vending on Private Property Definitions and Sec. 30-1464 Vending restrictions and prohibitions (a)(6) Flea market means any event at which two or more
persons offer merchandise for sale or exchange; and at

which a fee is charged for the privilege of offering or displaying merchandise for sale or exchange.

(a)(6) [Not permitted to operate] within 1,500 feet a
permanent business selling the same or similar products. This provision shall not apply to vendor sites located near athletic and entertainment venues which have a seating capacity in excess of 3,500 persons

Analysis: The intent of this section is not to regulate mobile vendors specifically, but it may be interpreted to regulate mobile street food vendors operating on private property if two or more vendors are on the same lot and they pay rent to the property owner. Recommendation: 1. Redefine flea market to reflect the true nature of a flea market. 2. Change the “1,500 feet” requirement to a more reasonable distance. Rationale: Two or more street food vendors on a parking lot creates a “pod” that enhances underutilized space and the urban experience. Two or more street food vendors on a property are not flea markets in the truest sense and they should not be subject to the same restrictions. 1,500 feet is approximately equal to four city blocks in distance. That is an unreasonable distance from one business to the other. There is no public health or public safety issue that is enhanced by this clause. It seems as if the intent is to protect the interest of brickand-mortar businesses.


Part II Georgia Food Code 290-5-14-.08 Special Food Service Operations. (1) Mobile Food Service Units and Extended Food Service Units. Analysis: The language in 290-5-14.08 allows for the regulating authority to grant a vendor access to a wider area instead of two single locations. The size of the area is not stipulated. In practice, however, vendors are restricted to two precise locations such as an intersection or particular lot instead of broad areas. The location restriction makes it easier for health officials to locate vendors but it also restricts vendors’ ability to respond to the demand of their customers. Customers locate vendors by following them on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Some vendors announce their location before heading out and the customers are able to go to the announced location and order food. In fact, many vendors’ business model relies on the broadcasting of their location freely over the web to customers. Health officials can use this same mechanism to track mobile food units. Another way for health officials to track mobile food units is through Global Positioning System (GPS) devices attached to the mobile unit itself. The mobile unit can be located online from any computer. GPS devices on mobile units can make field inspections easier by allowing surprise inspections and providing a precise location for field operators who can get directions to the unit instead of traveling to one of two locations where the vendor may be located. The GPS device provides a direct line-of-sight for the health inspector and reduces the hit-or-miss process currently in place. Customers can also track mobile units via GPS so there are incentives for vendors to participate in such a program. Another alternative is to track tweets by vendors who turn on location reporting in twitter.

(a) Compliance Required. Mobile food service units and
extended food service units shall comply with the requirements of this Chapter, except as otherwise provided in this subsection and as specified under subsection (1)(b) of this Rule. 1. The Health Authority may impose additional requirements to protect against health hazards related to the conduct of the food service establishment as a mobile operation; or 2. May prohibit the sale of some or all potentially hazardous food

Analysis: Subsections 1 and 2 under 290-5-14-.08 of the GA Food Code give a great deal of leeway to county health departments to regulate mobile food units. The GA food code does not prohibit potentially hazardous foods nor does it prohibit cooking potentially hazardous foods on mobile units. However, county departments have used statement 1 and/or 2 to prohibit cooking on mobile food units. Recommendation: Mobile food units that have the capacity to hold potentially hazardous food below 41 degrees F should be allowed to cook on the unit. Since, the GA Food Code does allow cooking the local regulatory authority can decide on a case by case basis. 290-5-14-.08 (i) Location.

1. The food vending area requirements are as follows: (i) A mobile food service unit or an extended food service unit must restrict operation to a maximum of two (2) locations or areas stipulated by the permit;

Recommendation: Vendors should be able to respond to location-specific demand such as going to an office park to feed business personnel who work in the surrounding buildings. Consumers would be less likely to get in their cars during lunchtime with more food options closer to work. Fewer cars on the road means less congestion and better air quality. Vendors should be allowed to substitute an easy to access GPS device for the 2 locations restriction. Vendors who tweet their location to customers should be able to name 5 locations where they may be found by health inspectors. Vendors should provide the regulatory authority with a schedule of locations and times at the beginning of each calendar week they operate. Local regulatory authorities should use social media and new technologies to track mobile food units in real time. 290-5-14-.01 Definitions
“Base of Operation” means a food service establishment, or any other place in which food, containers or supplies are kept, handled, prepared, packaged or stored for subsequent transport, sale or service elsewhere.

prohibited by Fulton County Health in practice to allow for easy tracking of health code violations and cases of food-borne illness infection. Furthermore, the department requires the mobile food unit and the kitchen that it operates from to be owned by the same business. For example, an owner of a brick-and-mortar restaurant can establish a mobile food unit provided that the food unit operate under the same business as the restaurant and uses that restaurants kitchen as its base of operations. Yet, an entrepreneur looking to start a mobile food unit cannot partner with a restaurant owner if the two business entities are separate. Also, two or more mobile food unit business entities looking to share a base of operations may not do so under current practices as enforced by Fulton County Health. Recommendation: Allow shared bases of operations that comply with health standards. Separate business entities can have a legal agreement between them that requires shared liability.

and 290-5-14-.08
(f) Operation. 1. Mobile food service units and extended food service units shall operate from a base of operation or fixed food service establishment.

Analysis: The GA Food Code does not prevent two or more mobile food units from operating out of a shared base of operations (or shared kitchen). Shared kitchens are

Th e S treet F o o d p o l i c y w e b
2 sets of codes
City Ordinance GA Food Code
By Mike Cutno




y da


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Limited to 30 minute stops on street.


Limited to 2 locations per county. Lot or street.


The city has a contract with a private company to oversee vendor leases.

8 ft from nearest car 100 ft from intersection





The GA Food Code does not prohibit shared kitchens for 2 or more vendors, but they are restricted in practice.
50f t

t g Lo kin Par

50ft to hotel entrance.


2 or more vendors on one parking lot may be considered a flea market. If so, they must be 1500ft from a business selling similar products.


Urban Design
Street food is not just about having another outlet to buy food. Nor is it just about opportunities to develop small businesses. Street food is about creating a sense of place that livens up our streets and contributes to the urban experience. There are cities around the world that are renown for their street food scene. Cities like Singapore, Los Angeles, Portland, Bangkok, Beijing, and tiny Fukuoka in Southern Japan. These places aren’t known for their street food because of the food itself. Rather, it’s the urban experience that people can share with friends, fellow residents and visitors. Street food is a highly social and interactive experience that is hard to come by in today’s modernized urban environment.

Facebook. Twitter is a website and service that allows individuals to broadcast their “status” in 140 characters

or less. For example, on August 31, 2010, The King of Pops, a local vendor who sells popsicles he makes himself, posted on twitter, “I’m running late to the corner. I will b there by 330. Really sorry.” That message went out to all of the 3,118 people who follow the King of Pops either on an application on their phone, a text message, or by checking their twitter page online. Customers can also respond to vendors via Twitter or Facebook. 63.3% of survey respondents from the Urban Picnic said they follow at least one vendor on a social networking site. 88% of respondents from the online survey follow a vendor on Twitter or another site. This is expected since the vendors got the word out on the various social networking sites. This connection between the vendors and individuals creates a community of street-foodies and vendors, and the community continues to grow. Vendors not only attract passers by but they bring people from further afield who then temporarily populate the area. 45.3% of respondents of our online survey who have been to street food in Atlanta answered that they usually drive to get street food. 41.2% of drivers travel more than ten minutes to get street food. Surprisingly, 37.3% of respondents said they walk to get street food while 12% bike.
Travel Mode to Street Food

Places are made by people. People may come for the street food but they stay for the people. Street food is merely a “triangulation” factor that attracts people from the immediate area. Triangulation is a display, event, performance, or piece of art that brings strangers together and promotes social interaction through shared observation of the triangulation event. Strangers, with a heightened sense of awareness start conversations with each other about the thing they’re observing. It’s these shared experiences that promote civic life, social cohesion and a common identity among city residents. In the case of street food, triangulation is highly augmented by social networking sites like Twitter and


44% 36% 4%





Other 12

Our online survey findings support the notion that street food is a social affair. Nearly 50% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they met new people while patronizing food carts. 19.5% disagreed to meeting new people and 3.9% strongly disagreed. 55.9% of respondents said they’ve become better acquainted with people they know while only 19.5% disagreed. 71.8% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they have conversations with cart operators outside of the food transaction. 72.7% agreed or strongly agreed that they have conversations with other customers. We asked our survey respondents to name places where they would like to see street food. The diagram below depicts the frequency that each place was mentioned. The larger words were mentioned more than the smaller words. The length of the word makes some words look more impactful than others so just compare the size of the text. The top five places mentioned were Midtown, Virginia Highland, Buckhead, Little Five Points (L5P), and Downtown. These are some of the most urban places in Atlanta, which is not surprising as street food is a very urban experience requiring walkable streets and connectivity to the larger urban fabric.

we only have information for the intersections where data was collected. Parking lots that are between two pedestrian heavy intersections are likely good fits for street food locations. There were few parking lots located directly at a pedestrian heavy intersection. Parking lots with fences or access issues and parking decks were eliminated from the database. The following table shows lots that are between two pedestrian heavy intersections. A scoring system for each lot will have to be devised upon further analysis. For now, this table shows the prime lots downtown for street food. As a note, lots across and near Centennial Park may also be great locations for street food. However, pedestrian flow data was not collected for those intersections.

Parking Lot 36 Harris Street 166 Carnegie Way 123 Courtland 85 John Wesley Dobbs 140 Edgewood Ave 141 John Wesley Dobbs 45 Decatur 71 Peachtree Center Ave 57 Peachtree Center Ave 90 Peachtree Center Ave

Owner LAZ parking Central Parking Parking Company of America Lanier Parking Parking Company of America Central Parking Lanier Parking AAA Parking Parking Company of America Parking Company of America LAZ parking

The team looked for places in Midtown and Downtown where street food would be feasible. Pedestrian data for downtown was overlaid with parking lot data to find locations. The map shows that there aren’t many parking lots located at the data points collected. There may be a sampling bias in terms of pedestrian counts as

207 Peachtree Center Ave


Great Places for Street Food Parking lots located between 2 pedestrian heavy point could be prime locations for street food.



Creating places out of spaces
Street food is a great way to change the character of an underutilized space such as a parking lot. One mobile vendor on a parking lot can attract a few people but two or more vendors creates a “pod” that people recognize as a place for gathering. The Atlanta Street Food Coalition has been able to create spaces that are enjoyed by large crowds. Every month the Coalition holds two events, an “Urban Picnic” and a “Street Food Soiree” that attracts hundreds of street-foodies in the area. The soiree and picnic transform the parking lots they occupy into highly interactive places. Special events like these garner interest and creates excitement but why not transform under-utilized parking lots and public spaces into people-places on a day-to-day basis?

People Place

Public Space


Before and After Street Food
Every day street food livens our streets and public places by attracting customers and increasing the time they spend in public places. A parking lot on Peachtree in Midtown is transformed by a food truck that attracts pedestrians hungry for good food at great prices. The fountain at Woodruff park becomes a more complete place as people have a reason to stay –– in this example, it’s the King of Pops and his all natural popsicles. The ability to create nostalgia is what makes places everlasting. To do that connections, neural connections, must be made between experience and place. People then yearn for something they had in the past that made them feel good, and revisit the place over and over again. The possibility to transform our public sphere is only limited by our collective imagination.

Peachtree and 7th


Street Food Typology
The Push Cart Push carts are non-motorized, small and can go just about anywhere. They can operate on sidewalks, parking lots or any pedestrian surface. They are not well suited for on-street parking spaces. They are low-cost and low capacity. They may have an onboard power source or cooling mechanism.

The Trailer Trailers are non-motorized and can attach to a vehicle for towing. Trailers can operate where their vehicles can take them. They usually have a power source on board and/or refrigeration. They can also tap into an electrical supply. They typically cost less than larger trucks.

The Mini Truck Mini trucks are small motorized trucks that can fit 1 or 2 people on board. They usually have on board power or refrigeration. They can operate in plazas, on-street or in parking lots.

The Food Truck Food trucks are large and motorized – typically the size of a Fed Ex truck. They can be considered a “kitchen on wheels” because of their volume and storage capacity. They have an onboard power source and usually have a refrigeration unit. 3 to 4 people can work out of food a truck. They can operate on street in parking lots and larger plazas.

Yumbii Case Study
Yumbii is a Korean BBQ taco truck that started in April of this year. Their truck is the crème of the crop in terms of street food trucks. It’s imported from Los Angeles and made by a company named Hi-V-Co. The truck is made to meet the strictest food code standards and supports a highly sophisticated operation. It is literally a kitchen on wheels. Yumbii is run by Carson Young with support from his family. It takes a team of six (the Young family plus three staff members) along with a satellite staff at their base of operations, Hankook Taqueria, to keep Yumbii operating. One major component to starting and maintaining a street food operation in Atlanta is navigating the regulatory landscape that is less than streamlined. We chose to study Yumbii because it is one of the few vendors in Atlanta who operate on a regular basis. Also, one of their locations was Tech Square, which proved to be a great laboratory. The case study consists of observation of patron behavior, estimates of orders received, and interviews with Yumbii members and customers on the street. The diagrams on the next page show the location of people on the sidewalk at one point in time on two different days that Yumbii went to Tech Square, July 27th and August 4th. On the 27th, Yumbii set up further from the corner of 5th and Spring streets. Both days were hot and sunny, 89 and 92 degrees respectively. Yumbii received a lot of press coverage leading up to the August 4th visit to Tech Square, which may account for the increase in business. However, their choice of location on the block may have also been a factor. On the 27th, the line stretched along the shaded path that skirts the building. This wasn’t the case on the 4th as most people approach Yumbii from 5th street along the Tech Square corridor where the primary pedestrian circulation occurs. The line builds up according to the primary direction of approach. Shade was less of a It seemed as if most people took their food back to the office or some other location. One patron was spotted using a bench under a tree on 5th street while eating tacos from Yumbii. The addition of movable tables and chairs would allow people to stay longer while they eat. Tech Square is a place for students but it is also open to the public, connected to the street grid of the city, and houses several businesses and workers. It is very walkable, with well-designed streets and buildings at appealing heights and it is also a pleasant place to linger. On the days that they operated in Tech Square, Yumbii added to the sense of place and social interaction among people on the street. Their weekly visit to Tech Square almost became a tradition among the Tech Square crowd.

factor than competition for a spot in the line. This is a great example of organic social organizing. A few people did locate in the shade on the 4th when given the chance either because the line wrapped around or they had already ordered food. Yumbii took 42 orders on the 27th and 98 orders on the 4th. Both days they operated for approximately one and half hours. They more than doubled their sales in a week during the summer session of classes when the student population is low. Many of their patrons were older than typical college students. Surveys were not taken at these observations but pictures were taken and we can assume this to be true based on the pictures.

Square rch Building

Centergy One
Spring Street

Health Systems Institute Parking

5th Street

Global Learning Center GA Tech Hotel

Barnes and Noble

College of Management

Yumbii @ Tech Sq. July 27th 89º F 1:10 pm 24 people in line

Yumbii @ Tech Sq. Aug 4th 92º F 12:30 pm 49 people in line

Economic Development Building



King of Pops Site Observation

The team observed The King of Pops at the corner of North and Highland for a comparison to Yumbii. The King sets up shop at the edge of the Buddy’s gas station from 3pm to 8pm daily. The team arrived at 3 pm and observed until 3:50 pm in 96 degree weather. In that span, the King had 31 customers in varying sized groups. 28 of 31 customers arrived via automobile, 16 cars total, and of those only one purchased gas. The average duration of stay was approximately 3 minutes. The activity consisted mainly of getting out of the car, deciding what to get and completing the transaction. The time of day may have affected people’s behavior, as they seemed to be on their way home from work or school. However, the quality of the place has to be considered also. The gas station provided plenty of shade on a hot day, but it’s a place where cars are coming and going including most patrons. The King did mention that he gets more pedestrian visitors after 6pm. The place did not seem to affect his business negatively. In fact, it is a great location for making sales from people passing by in cars. The King of Pops does even contribute to the image of the place. The business is virtually a landmark as there is a King of Pops mural on the nearby laundromat’s wall that is a popular sight.


Urban  Design  Recommendations
 Use  street  food  as  a  way  to  revitalize  underutilized  space  such  as  empty  parking  lots.

Promote  street  food  in  areas  that  are  popular  for  their  urban  characteristics  like  Midtown,  Downtown,           Virginia  Highlands  and  Little  Five  Points

Establish  a  street  food  district  that  attracts  people  to  an  area  and  enhances  the  public  realm.

Encourage  clustering  of  food  trucks  and  carts.

Negotiate  an  agreement  with  Growth  Management  to  operate  mobile  units  that  eliminates  a  potential   lawsuit.  

Create  a  partnership  with  the  Midtown  Alliance  to  promote  street  food  in  their  special  use  district.  

Locate  vendors  on  parking  lots  on  the  Midtown  Mile  on  Peachtreee  Street.  

Vendors  should  arrange  their  carts/trucks  5  feet  from  the  sidewalk  when  facing  the  long  side  of  the  vehicle   is  facing  the  street  parallel  (see  Appendix  C)

Encourage  a  range  of  street  food  types  (page  17)  to  promote  diversity  in  design,  capacity  and  mode  of   operation.  

Appoint  a  “place  maker”  that  is  trained  in  place  making  by  the  Project  for  Public  Places  www.pps.org.  


Economic Impact Study

A key portion of the study is to determine the economic feasibility of street food in Atlanta. Other cities like Los Angeles and Portland are able to support several street food establishments. In fact, Portland has over 450 food carts and the number of carts continues to grow. Every city is different and therefore every street food scene would look different. Our study set out to answer a few key questions with regards to street food in Atlanta. 1. Is there a market for street food in Atlanta? 2. If there is a market where and who are the consumers? 3. What is the demand for street food? 4. How many carts can the market support? 5. What is the cost of doing business for a vendor? 6. What is the impact to local government through fees and taxes? 7. Which business models are feasible in the current regulatory framework?

and the county health department. The City of Atlanta categorically limits vendors to private lots because of their contract with General Growth, a company that manages vending kiosks on city streets. Any on street parking is only available for 30 minutes for vendors to sell. Furthermore, the GA Food Code limits vendors to two named locations where they can be found by health inspectors. These two limitations together restrict the economic potential of individual vendors. It essentially means that people will have to go to the vendors on private lots instead of the vendors going to the people. The GA Food Code requires vendors to have a “base of operations” where food is cooked and the mobile food unit is serviced. There can only be one owner per business and base of operations. In other words, two vendors with separate businesses cannot work out of a shared kitchen or base of operations. Shared kitchens will be discussed later but the key idea to take away here is that the current policy increases the cost of entry and the cost of doing business for street food vendors who may find it difficult to find commercial kitchens that are small enough and cheap enough for their small scale business models. The policy leads to vendors working out of restaurant owner’s kitchens in the rare instance that they are able to form that kind of partnership.

Answering these questions provides a better understanding of the role that street food can play in the local economy. Small businesses are currently the fastest growing sector of our nation’s economy. Any support for small business development will boost and diversify the local economy by providing jobs and by the relative reinvestment back into the local economy versus national businesses that typically don’t reinvest at the same rate. There are limitations to growth in Atlanta that should be discussed before going into the market studies. Vendors must comply with two agencies, the local municipality


Market Potential The team determined a potential market area for street food through a proprietary method. Market areas can be defined both by population characteristics as well as geographic boundaries. The geographic boundaries of a mobile food unit are somewhat arbitrary, and can thus be changed easily. The population boundaries (so to speak) of a mobile food vendors market area are much more difficult to determine. However, using both psychographic and demographic information, a set of character traits was found to reflect the common street food patron in the Atlanta area. These character traits were found by utilizing public intercept surveys at street food events to determine the home zip codes of known street food patrons. These zip codes were then plugged into ESRI’s market research database and were found to share (on a significant level) 13 psychographically defined population subsets. Of the 65 psychographic indicators on the ESRI spectrum, the 13 shared by the zip codes known to contain street food patrons included numbers 8, 9, 16, 22, 27, 30, 34, 45, 48, 51, 52, 62 and 64 (please see appendix for further details on each psychographic indicator). Knowing that patrons of street food vendors in the Atlanta area often fall into one of these defined psychographic categories, mapping where these categories appeared again within the metro area became important in determining the market area. Upon obtaining these psychographic indicators, a detailed look at all the zip codes within the five county metro area (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett) resulted in a potential market area map that included all zip codes that shared at least one of the indicators (Market Area Map). The population in those zip codes in which a significant number of residents share at least one psychographic trait with those known to frequent street food vendors is 1,915,757. Street food vendors in the 5-county Atlanta area have a potential market size of nearly two million people. Adjusting this market size to measure only those people who are likely to visit street food vendors requires

What are Psychographics?
In the field of marketing, demographics, opinion research, and social research in general, psychographic variables are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles.
Source: NetMBA.com

multiplying the base populations by the percentage of residents who are known to have at least one of the psychographic traits found to denote street food patrons. Using ESRI, we know that the percentage of residents that fall into the 13 psychographic categories listed above is 31.7%. Adjusted Market Potential = (population) * (% of suspected market participants) AMP1 = (1,915,757) * (31.7%) = 607,294.97 Finally, true market potential can only be measured when taking into account how many times those people who are known to frequent street food vendors actually do so on an annual basis. Again, by means of public intercept surveys, a majority of street food patrons revealed that they typically patronize street food vendors once a month. Given the current political climate in the Atlanta area regarding street food, this number is undoubtedly low – as the public’s access to high-quality, legally regulated street food is severely limited. However, using this conservative number, it is now possible to calculate actual market potential. Market Potential = (population) * (% of suspected market participants) * (average # of times people frequent food trucks annually)

MP = (1,915,757) * (31.7%) * (48) = 29,150,158.512

Top 7 ESRI Segmentation Classes From Online Survey Results Segment 1. Metro Renters #27 Occurrence 59 Description (as described by ESRI)
Young, educated singles, residents of Metro Renters neighborhoods are just beginning their professional careers in some of the largest U.S. cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Active Metro Renters residents work out regularly at clubs, play tennis and volleyball, practice yoga, ski, and jog. They take advantage of their urban milieu; they go dancing, visit museums, attend classical or rock concerts, go to karaoke nights and the movies, and eat out.

2. Laptops and Lattes #8


Residents of Laptops and Lattes neighborhoods enjoy single life in the big city. Most households are singles who live alone or with a roommate. Cosmopolitan, connected, and politically liberal, Laptops and Lattes residents rely on their Web-enabled cell phones instead of laptops to communicate when theyʼre on the go.

3. City Commons #64


Single-parent families or singles who live alone comprise most of these very young households. 83 percent of the population is black. Most families enjoy eating at fast-food restaurants several times a month. For exercise, they take their children to nearby city parks and playgrounds.

4. Metropolitans #22


Residents of Metropolitans communities prefer to live in older city neighborhoods. Approximately half of these households are singles who live alone or with others. These residents pursue an active, urbane lifestyle. They travel frequently for business and pleasure. They listen to jazz, classical, public, and alternative music radio.

5. Urban Chic #9


Urban Chic residents are professionals who live a sophisticated, exclusive lifestyle. More than half of these households are married-couple families.Fewer than half of them have children. Urban Chic residents focus more on their lifestyle than ambience. They travel extensively, visit museums, attend dance performances, shop at upscale stores, and do volunteer work.

6. Family Foundations #34


Family is the cornerstone of life in these neighborhoods. Diversity is low; 85 percent of the population is black. Careful consumers, they watch their budgets. They eat at home, shop at discount stores such as Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, and take advantage of savings at Samʼs Club.

7. Metro City Edge #51


Married couples, single parents, and multigenerational families are the household types found in Metro City Edge neighborhoods. They tend to shop for groceries at Piggly-Wiggly, Kroger, and Aldi but will go to superstores and wholesalers for bulk purchases of household and childrenʼs items.


Using simple geographic boundaries to limit market area rather than areas defined by shared psychographic traits of residents, presents yet another interesting story. If we limit potential market area to the City of Atlanta, that gives us a potential market population of 505,580 (from ESRI Business Analyst Online). Of that population, 78.9% falls within one of the 13 psychographic indicators which have been shown to denote street food patronage. Thus, the Adjusted Market Potential for the City of Atlanta’s street food market: AMPATL = (505,580) * (78.9%) = 398,902.62 Multiplying this by the previously found average number of times street food patrons frequent street food vendors in a given year (12) gives us the Street Food Vendor Market Potential for the City of Atlanta: MP = (505,580) * (78.9%) * (12) = 4,786,831.44 This means that the City of Atlanta is missing out on possible tax revenue from over 4,786,831 transactions per year. However, the conservative nature of this estimate must be emphasized. If the patronage rates from the City of Portland are applied to the City of Atlanta, a far different picture emerges: MP = (505,580) * (78.9%) * (48) = 19,147,325.76 If it is assumed that each transaction totals only $3.00 (again, a conservative estimate given pricing trends and food costs) the conservative estimate of 12 street food trips annually by street food patrons would generate roughly $1,148,839.55 in revenue from the 8% sales tax, alone. While the more likely patronage rate (if current restrictive practices are relaxed) of 48 times Population 505,580 505,580 505,580 505,580 505,580

annually, would generate $4,595,358.18 in revenue from the 8% sales tax. Given the wide variation that the average amount spent per trip to a street food vendor may take, below is a table of possible tax revenue estimates for the City of Atlanta for all averages on $0.50 intervals between $2.00 and $4.00. Estimates for both 12 trips and 48 trips annually are given as they represent market potential with the current more restrictive policies as well as what the picture might be if those restrictions/barriers to entry are scaled back. Although not as monetarily significant, there is also the concern that Atlanta is falling behind other cities that long ago embraced the street food trend and freed individual entrepreneurs from arbitrary binds that prevent small business startups. Cities such as Los Angeles and (as mentioned above) Portland, by comparison, more than meet their local demands for street food – demands that are largely met by small business owners, a crucial segment of the business community that is capable of astounding growth when given the proper market environment. For example, by using location quotients to determine how effectively the Atlanta metro area meets its demand for street food vendors, and then comparing that figure with those from both Los Angeles and Portland, we see how harshly the current street food vending restrictions have affected local markets. Location Quotient = (local industry employment)/(local total employment) (natl. industry employment)/(natl. total employment) LQAtl = (35/1,734,137) = 0.35 (6,706/115,833,387)

Percent in Market Avg Transaction Sales tax (12 trips) Sales tax (48 trips) 0.79 2.00 765,893 3,063,572 0.79 0.79 0.79 0.79 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 957,366 1,148,840 1,340,313 1,531,786 3,829,465 4,595,358 5,361,251 6,127,144

To put this in context, location quotient values always range from zero to two. Values below 1 mean that the local economy is not meeting the local demand for that sector, and is importing to compensate. Values above 1 mean that the local economy is meeting the local demand for that sector, and is exporting excess production to other regions. Generally values between 0.75 and 1.25 can mean that the local economy is meeting demand. However, values below 0.75 are typically clear indications that there is demand not being met by local production sources in this market sector. For the Atlanta metro area to register a 0.349 using data from the 2007 Economic Census (prior to the explosion of food trucks, nationally), means Atlanta is lagging extremely far behind the rest of the nation in this sector. In comparison, the City of Portland – which has a well established street food scene – has a location quotient of: LQPort = (53/794,365) = 1.15 (6,706/115,833,387)

By working the location quotient equation backwards, we can see what sort of employment figures would be necessary in order to have the City of Atlanta reach a location quotient of 1 – otherwise known as simply meeting local demand. 1= (35 + x) / (1,734,137 + x) (6,706 + x) / (115,833,387 + x)

Number of jobs (x) = 66.39 This means that for metro Atlanta to even produce enough street food to meet the market demand levels that were present in 2007 (before the recent trend of food trucks), another 66 jobs in street food vending would have needed to be generated. From the 2007 U.S. Economic Census, we know that street food vendors in the Atlanta metro area average 2.33 employees per operation, which means that – in order to meet local demand with local production – another 29 mobile street food vendors would have had to exist in the market in 2007. Again, this statistic can be viewed as a conservative estimate. If restrictions are relaxed to the level they are in areas such as Portland, or if the market were free enough to fully embrace the street food industry to the extent to which it has in Los Angeles, the location quotient values Atlanta would obtain would be closer to 1.15 and 1.95. 1.15 = (35 + x) / (1,734,137 + x) (6,706 + x) / (115,833,387 + x)

A location quotient of 1.15 denotes a healthy market sector that meets local demand with locally produced goods and services. The City of Los Angeles, which has a similar urban form as Atlanta, has pioneered the latest reincarnation of the street food craze and is considered by many to be at the forefront of this industry. Los Angeles registers a location quotient value of: LQL.A. = (559/4,951,765) = 1.95 (6,706/115,833,387) Such a drastically high location quotient value means that Los Angeles not only produces enough street food vendors to meet local demand, but also to export to other neighboring regions; essentially people are going to L.A. for street food from the region and further afield. This excess production means a significantly higher portion of the City’s employment base is devoted to street food when compared to other cities.

Number of jobs (x) = 81.87 Additional vendors: 35 1.95 = (35 + x) / (1,734,137 + x) (6,706 + x) / (115,833,387 + x) Number of jobs (x) = 165.63 Additional vendors: 71


In order for the Atlanta metro area to reach location quotients that approach the level of local production to meet local demand that Portland and Los Angeles have reached in the street food sector, roughly 82 or 166 more jobs would need to be devoted to the industry. Again, using the 2.33 employee per street food vending operation average provided by the 2007 U.S. Economic Census, we can translate these rough employment estimates into the approximate number of street food vending businesses needed to satisfy local demand with local production. In order to reach levels seen in Portland, the Atlanta metro area would have to add an additional 35 street food vending operations to the 15 that were already up and running in the area in 2007; an additional 71 street food vending operations would be needed to reach levels seen in Los Angeles.

One way business incubators could be used to help foster the street food industry in the Atlanta metro area is by providing shared kitchens where vendors can store supplies together while cutting down on capital costs (instead of one fryer per each vendor, all the vendors could share a fryer, or a refrigerator, etc.). Limited liability models also allow vendors to share liability – thereby drastically diminishing insurance costs. The diagram below shows possible designs of a shared kitchen for street-food vending.

Shared Kitchen Models

High Investment - Individual Liability Model


In fact, Los Angeles is not only home to more than its fair share of street food vendors, but its capitalization on this market has allowed it to become home to many of the nation’s only food truck manufacturers. When local street food sector pioneers at Yumbii wanted to purchase their food truck, they could not do so in the Atlanta metro area – or even the State of Georgia. In the end, it was the City of Los Angeles that provided the company’s brand new state of the art food struck – supporting numerous L.A. jobs in the process. Relaxing Shared Kitchen Models the current restrictions on street food vending will not only have a direct impact on small business growth in High Investment - Individual Liability the City of Atlanta, but may also spur a larger Model specialized industry. Successful street food vendors here, mean a more successful City as a whole. Commissary/Business Incubator

Refrigerated Storage Area

16 vendors 16 kitchens 16 walls

Shared Liability Model


Small businesses are a crucial part of our economy, yet the small business success rate is very low. One way to improve small businesses success is by forming businesses incubators. Business incubators are programs design to minimize the risk of small businesses by providing support, resources and services. Studies have shown that “87% of companies 16 succeed” (Granier, that experience incubation vendors 16 kitchens 16 walls 2007).

Refrigerated Storage Area

Refrigerated Storage Area

16 vendors 4 kitchens 4 walls (or fewer)


A challenge to business incubation in Atlanta is that mobile food units are limited to one business per base of operations by the Fulton County Health Department (Wilson, 2010). The regulation is instituted in practice and is not stated in either the Georgia Food Code or the code for Fulton County. It was established during an interview with the Department of Environmental Health that the department wants to track a potential food born illness back to one owner and one particular location. In effect, this means that a restaurant may have more than one food truck under the same business, but separate business owners cannot operate from the same shared kitchen. The first of two models, the High Investment Model, offered above reflects the current policy in place. If an entrepreneur or other entity were to invest in a shared kitchen where separate business owners were to use the kitchen as their base of operations they would have to use model 1, the high investment model. Each business requires separate facilities for food handling, including refrigerators (for food exposed after unpacking), stoves, tables, and sinks.

Currently, it is a challenge for vendors to find kitchens that are both small enough and cheap enough. In that respect, either model will provide more opportunities than are currently available. A shared kitchen/base of operations that caters to street food businesses can be a highly-sophisticated and highly successful business venture that also increases the success of each street food vendor. A great example of a successful shared kitchen is a company called Road Stoves in Los Angeles. Road Stoves offers a suite of services from shared kitchen rental to a complete turn-key operation that includes food trucks already up to code and liability insurance.


Vendors who may compete against each other end up benefitting from this shared kitchen model. Some of the most successful of Los Angeles’ food trucks are Road Stoves clients, including Kogi BBQ and Nom Nom star of The Great Food Truck Race, a reality television series currently airing on the Food Network.

Shared Kitchen at Road Stoves


The second model, the Shared Liability Model, assumes one of two things: 1) under the current regulations business can accumulate into a single business under a shared liability agreement such as an LLC or 2) the regulations may change under a pilot program or further research into similar regulations where mobile food units share kitchens.
Food trucks lined up in the parking lot of Road Stoves (Jolie Myers/Marketplace)


Economic  Recommendations
Support  small  business  development  through  shared  kitchens.  

Promote  business  incubators  to  increase  the  success  rate  of  street  food  businesses.  

Work  with  the  Food  Bank  as  a  possible  shared  kitchen  facilitator.  

Work  with  Sweet  Auburn  Curb  Market  as  a  potential  shared  kitchen  facilitator.  

Identify  public  parking  lots  owned  by  the  City  that  may  be  feasible  for  use  at  low  rents.  

Negotiate  low  rents  with  parking  lot  owners.

Locate  in  parking  lots  close  to  heavy  pedestrian  trafVic.  

Cater  to  your  market  by  having  appropriate  foods  differentiated  from  typical  fast  food  restaurants   and  with  more  healthy  food  options.  
Encourage  vendors  to  go  to  work-­‐centers,  areas  where  the  worker  population  increases  during  the  day   time.


Food Environment

The trends in global trade and mass production of food has disconnected us from our food sources. Rarely, do we know where our food was grown or raised, how it was treated or who handled it. This is true for processed, unprocessed and even cooked foods. A very small proportion of our food is controlled locally. As a result, we are primarily consumers of food instead of producers. As mere consumers of food we become unconscious of what we are putting into our bodies and how it affects our health. Creating more direct connections between food production and food eaters is essential to healthy communities and individuals. Humans are animals, as such we are subject to environmental conditions that affect our health. The conditions and the behavior associated with them comprise what is a called a food environment. The food environment includes locations of food, the quality of food in an area, access to food via transportation, and the price of healthful food available in an area. Despite food production and distribution existing on a global scale we tend to eat on a local scale. That is, we tend to eat at places closest to where we live and work. With this in mind, the team set out to study the food environment in Atlanta to examine the possible effects that environmental conditions may have on the local population. We considered a few questions for our analysis: 1.Where and who are the people? 2. How are health indicators distributed? 3. What are the food habits in the area?

4. How are the food habits distributed in the area? 5. Where are the sources of food? 6. What is the distribution of food sources by type (e.g. fast food, supermarket)? 7. What is the level of access to food sources?

We hope that by answering these questions we are able to paint a picture of the food environment in Atlanta. It is not our intent to create a comprehensive and thorough understanding of the local food environment. Nor is it our intent to insinuate that street food is healthier than any other food option. However, it does have the potential to offer healthful food options at reasonable prices if customers seek healthy food from vendors by both the exchange of goods and the exchange of ideas. Measuring the Food Environment The food environment plays a major role in people’s dietary behavior and health. Studies have shown that there is an inequality in the availability and accessibility of healthful foods among various socio-economic groups. Low income groups, particularly minorities, have a lower accessibility to healthful foods as opposed to high income groups. A spatial analysis of Metro Atlanta’s food environment reveals that there is a disparity and an environmental justice concern in the region.


Methodology and Evaluation Food Destinations The team collected data from a variety of sources including, ESRI Business Analyst Online, the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Census Bureau. The majority of the data were acquired at the zip code or the tract level based on data availability. Data acquired at the tract level were race, population, income, and poverty information. Household spending on groceries, vehicle access, diabetes, fast food frequency, and locations of fast food restaurants, convenience stores, super markets, and restaurants were acquired at the zip code level. Data for Dobbins Air Force Base, Fort McPherson, and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were not acquired due to their distinct functions. Many of the data sets shown on the maps extend beyond the perimeter (Interstate 285) to provide a better understanding of the Atlanta region’s food environment. However, the primary area of concern for this report is inside the perimeter. The analysis is based on information from the aforementioned data sets and generalized at the zip code and tract levels. However, further investigation at the block level is recommended when resources become available. Some recommended parameters are: 1. distance to supermarkets, 2. distance to fast food restaurants, 3. obesity and cardiovascular disease, 4. socioeconomic data In addition, a regression analysis of the relationships between the socio-economic variables, health, and food destinations would provide a more robust analysis. Four categories of food destinations were compiled from Reference USA’s database: 1.super markets, 2.convenience stores, 3.fast food restaurants, and 4.dine in restaurants without counter service.

The four categories were queried using NAICS codes. Super markets and produce vendors were grouped together and represent destinations that provide more healthful food choices than other destinations. Super markets were restricted to establishments with annual revenues over $2 million and national chains with reported revenues less than $2 million such as Trader Joe’s, Publix, and Wholefoods. Fast food restaurants and convenience stores represent food destinations that do not typically provide healthful food choices. Fast food restaurants were restricted to establishments with counter service. Convenience stores include gas stations that sell food products. Restaurants represent an alternative to the other destinations as well as an alternative to eating at home. The food destinations in this report are the most current open source data available. A full list of all locations would require a great deal of resources including information from field observations.


The Retail Food Environment Index In order to assess the food environment, the team needed a basic tool as a starting point that could show the geographical disparities in food options. We used a tool called the Retail Food Environment Index (RFEI) developed by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. The RFEI is simple; it measures the availability of healthy foods in an area by comparing places that typically have mostly unhealthy food options with stores that have options for healthy food. The equation is: be compared to give an idea of the food environment in Atlanta. Atlanta’s RFEI is high because of the prevalence of convenience stores and fast food establishments relative to the number of grocery stores. Convenience stores make up 56 percent of retail food locations in Atlanta, including gas stations with convenience stores. Fast food restaurants make up 33 percent of food locations and supermarkets 11 percent.

Retail Food Environment Index by City
9.00 6.75 4.50 2.25 0 3.81 3.85 4.24 4.97 8.42 6.63


San Francisco Los Angeles




RFEI = fast food + convenience stores supermarkets + produce stores The RFEI gives us a great idea of the quality of healthful food options in an area. The entire Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area has an RFEI of 8.42. This means that there are 8.42 “quick service” food stores for every supermarket in Atlanta. An RFEI value of 8.42 is high compared to other cities with available data. For example, Oakland has the lowest RFEI in California with a value of 3.81. Los Angeles, a city that is known for its car culture has an RFEI of 4.24. The city with the highest RFEI in California is Bakersfield with a value of 6.63. Although the data sets for the California cities and the one for Atlanta were compiled slightly differently, they can still

The density of food destinations is generally greatest along major arterial roads. Refer to the food destination maps in the appendix to see locations of restaurants, super markets, fast food restaurants, and convenience stores. The food destinations are clustered inside the perimeter and along Interstates 75, 85, and 285. The three retail food types have similar distribution patterns in the metro area. However, a zip code level view of the RFEI will show a better picture of the distributional comparison. Before we get into the details, it is important to note that zip codes are boundaries used by the US Postal Service to distribute mail. They vary in size based on the level of service in an area. An area with fewer addresses to serve will have larger zip codes as is the case with zip codes further from the city center.


On the Food Index map, the RFEI in each zip code is highlighted according to five categories. Zip codes with levels of 1.5 and below can be considered “low.” Zip codes with values of 1.6 to 6.06 can be considered “medium.” Zip codes in the the four highest categories 6.07 to >15 can be considered “high,” “ very high” to “extremely high.” There is not a consistent spatial pattern to the data, but there are certain geographical considerations. Many suburban zip codes outside of the perimeter have values in excess of fifteen. Areas with lower access to transportation and values in excess of 6.07 should be of critical concern. Very few areas can be qualified as low, which is a concern for the entire area. The following maps show overlays of the distribution of the white, black and American Indian/Asian (AMAS) populations respectively. Whites are fairly distributed throughout the region with less density south of I-20, in south DeKalb County and in south Fulton County. On the other hand, the distribution of the Black/African American population tends to cluster south of I-20, in South Fulton and DeKalb County. The AMAS population is distributed primarily in North DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. More analysis is needed to show the degree of food environment imbalance among different population centers. There are geographical areas of concern across all populations.

Distribution of Retail Food Outlets in Atlanta MSA




Convenience Stores Fast Food Supermarket + Produce





Food Choices and Health The Retail Food Index shows the availability of healthful food options in an area, but it is also important to look at eating habits as an indicator of health. We used data from ESRI’s Business Analyst to show two data sets: 1) the percentage of the population that eats fast food less than five times per month and 2) the percentage of the population that eats fast food more than thirteen times per month. The data is projected by ESRI using consumer data collected by research firm GFK MRI. The results shown represent probabilities based on a national survey. Also, the data is of the adult population over the age of 18. We looked at the two frequency categories to show where people who make healthier and unhealthier choices live. The first map shows the first category, <5 fast food visits per month and percentage of the adult population by zip code. The lightest areas on this map are where more than 30 percent of adults live who eat fast food less than five times per month. Coincidentally, these areas also tend to have lower RFEI values. The second category, percentage of adults who visit fast food more than 13 times per month is represented on the second map. It is a near perfect mirror image of the first map. Over 30 percent of adults in the dark orange areas visit fast food restaurants more than 13 times per month. These areas tend to have high RFEI values. There are likely several forces at play here that have reinforcing effects. Retailers may locate close to populations where their food is preferred. Also, people who live close to fast food places could be more likely to eat fast food because of proximity.


Food  Environment  Recommendations
Make  strategic  partnerships  between  the  Atlanta  Street  Food  Coalition  and  Governmental  and   NGO  organizations  to  negotiate  for  new  regulatory  practices. Partner  with  the  Atlanta  Food  Policy  Council  to  garner  support  for  street  food  as  a  point  of  local   control  within  the  food  system. Build  a  culture  of  local  food  by  promoting  local  street  food  businesses.  

Help  establish  a  green  truck  program  that  sells  produce  and  healthy  prepared  foods  in  low-­‐income   areas  of  the  city.  (michelle  obama  pic) Partner  with  the  Center  for  Disease  Control’s  Healthy  Places  initiative  http://www.cdc.gov/ healthyplaces/ Find  local  and  wholesale  sources  of  food  to  promote  local  control  of  food  within  the  food  system.

Promote  healthy  food  options  on  each  vendor’s  menu.  

Reach  out  to  vendors  and  groups  not  in  the  ASFC  like  vendors  on  Buford  Highway.

Lower  the  food  index  by  promoting  zoning  for  urban  gardens  and  introduce  restrictive  zoning  for   fast  food.  



Appendix A Online Survey Results
3. Have you ever purchased food from a food cart/truck in Atlanta?
Response Percent Yes No 74.3% 25.7% answered question skipped question Response Count 75
I have a good relationship with 1 or Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree Rating Average Response Count

9. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to question #3)

26 101 0

more food cart/truck operators I have met new people while patronizing food carts/trucks I have become better acquainted with people while patronizing food carts/trucks

3.9% (3)

10.4% (8)

37.7% (29)

32.5% (25)

15.6% (12)



3.9% (3)

19.5% (15)

27.3% (21)

40.3% (31)

9.1% (7)



3.9% (3)

15.6% (12)

24.7% (19)

42.9% (33)

13.0% (10)



4. If not, please explain why. Check all that apply. (Only answer if you checked "No" for question #3)
Response Percent Haven't seen any Concern about food safety Don't like the food options Don't like the owners/workers Unappealing conditions Nowhere to sit Waiting time is too long 95.7% 8.7% 0.0% 0.0% 4.3% 0.0% 8.7% Other (please specify) answered question skipped question Response Count 22 2 0 0 1 0 2 2 23 78

I have conversations with cart/truck operators other than ordering food I have conversations with other customers at the food carts/trucks 5.1% (4) 11.5% (9) 11.5% (9) 48.7% (38) 23.1% (18) 3.73 78

5.2% (4)

10.4% (8)

11.7% (9)

53.2% (41)

19.5% (15)



answered question skipped question

78 23

10. Was there a noticeable smell from the food cart/truck you visited? (Only answer if you answered 10. Was there a noticeable smell from the food cart/truck you visited? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to question #3) "Yes" to question #3)
Response Response Percent Percent Yes Yes No No N/A N/A 33.8% 33.8% 62.3% 62.3% Response Response Count Count 26 26 48 48 3 3 77 77 24 24

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3.9% 3.9% answered question answered question skipped question skipped question

5. If yes, how often do you patronize food carts/trucks? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to #3)
Response Percent More than twice a week 1-2 times a week Once a month Less than once a month 3.9% 18.4% 50.0% 27.6% answered question skipped question Response Count 3 14 38 21 76 25
Pleasant Pleasant Neutral Neutral Unpleasant Unpleasant N/A N/A

2 of 12

11. Was the smell? 11. Was the smell?
Response Response Percent Percent 51.9% 51.9% 0.0% 0.0% 3.7% 3.7% 44.4% 44.4% answered question answered question Response Response Count Count 14 14 0 0 1 1 12 12 27 27 74 74

6. Why do you you usually patronize food carts/trucks? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to question #3)
Response Percent Affordable food Tasty food Personal relation w/ operator Good place for watching people Close to work/school Close to home Outdoor seating/tables No other food option nearby 76.3% 96.1% 28.9% 17.1% 35.5% 21.1% 3.9% 5.3% Other (please specify) answered question skipped question Response Count 58 73 22

skipped question skipped question

12. Was there noticeable noise from the food cart/truck you visited? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to question #3) 8 of 12
8 of 12
Response Percent 6.5% 87.0% 6.5% answered question Response Count 5 67 5 77 24



16 3
skipped question

3 of 12

4 10 76 25

13. Was there noticeable litter from the food cart/truck you visited? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to question #3)
Response Percent Yes 0.0% 100.0% 0.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 0 75 0 75 26

7. How do you usually travel to the food carts/trucks? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to question #3)
Response Percent Walk Bike Transit Drive 37.3% 12.0% Response Count 28 9 4 34 3

No N/A

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5.3% 45.3% Other (please specify) answered question skipped question

14. Please indicate to what extent you agree or disagree with the following
Strongly disagree Having food carts/trucks makes Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree Rating Average Response Count

9 of 12
3.0% (3) 11.9% (12) 37.6% (38) 44.6% (45)

75 26

streets feel safer I want to see more food carts/trucks in my neighborhood

3.0% (3)



5.0% (5)

0.0% (0)

0.0% (0)

12.9% (13)

82.2% (83)



8. How long does the trip usually take you? (Only answer if you answered "Yes" to question #3)
Response Percent 0-5 5-10 10-20 20-30 30+ 23.7% 46.1% 21.1% 6.6% 2.6% answered question skipped question Response Count 18 35 16 5 2 76 25

answered question skipped question

101 0

15. Please indicate how you feel about the following:
Very negative Negative Neutral Positive Very positive Rating Average Response Count

What is your overall perception of street food carts/trucks in the City of Atlanta? answered question skipped question 100 1 2.0% (2) 0.0% (0) 9.0% (9) 28.0% (28) 61.0% (61) 4.46 100

5 of 12

10 of 12

16. Do you follow any local street food vendors on Twitter or any other social networking site?
Response Percent Yes No Don't know 88.0% 11.0% 1.0% answered question skipped question Response Count 88 11 1 100 1

17. Which neighborhoods or major intersections in Atlanta would you like to see have more street food carts/trucks?
Response Count 95 answered question skipped question 95 6

18. What is your yearly household income?
Response Percent Less than $15,000 $15,000-$24,999 $25,000-$34,999 $35,000-$44,999 $45,000-$54,999 $55,000-$64,999 $65,000-$74,999 $75,000+ 5.1% 5.1% Response Count 5 5 6 13 8 10 6 46 99 2

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6.1% 13.1% 8.1% 10.1% 6.1% 46.5% answered question skipped question

12 of 12


Appendix B Maps










Appendix C Setback Diagram

Pedestrian Safety Recommendations

parking lot

A food truck parked with a parallel orientation to the road should be at least 5 feet away from the sidewalk.

5 ft Sidewalk

Road Surface without a dedicated parking bay


Appendix D Team Profiles

Mike Cutno
I consider myself a true urbanist. My primary focus in city planning is the interaction between people and the built environment. Ultimately, people make places great and it is up to planners (and other professions) to provide a framework that allows great places to flourish. This idea has guided my studies and work for the past five years. I earned a Bachelor’s of Urban Planning from the University of New Orleans in 2007 with a specialization in urban design. While at UNO, I worked for the Center for Hazards Assessment Research and Technology as a GIS Specialist. One project that I worked on was a coordinated evacuation effort for disadvantaged communities. I recently completed a volunteer study of a potential community garden in the Pittsburgh Community in Atlanta. I served as the project manager while working with several other students to provide the community with a site-specific guide to creating, managing, planning and sustaining the garden. The community received more than they expected out of the report and plan to use it to raise funds and support to build the garden.

Zachary Adriaenssens
A healthy interest in the field of city planning has always played a significant role in my career and personal goals. Having obtained a bachelor's degree in the field from Miami University, I decided to pursue a master's degree in the field at Georgia Tech. One aspect of planning that both my employment and volunteer history showcase is a devotion to the people that a given plan affects. Having already completed internships at the local and regional levels (with a suburban Cincinnati community and the Atlanta Regional Commission, respectively), I find that I am uniquely qualified to tackle many of the challenges planners face while on the job today. Additionally, as a board member for the non-profit For the Kid in All of Us, I maintain a healthy understanding of the inequities that continue to exist in our society. A truly effective city planner seeks to perform his/her duties while simultaneously tackling the ongoing issues surrounding economic and social inequality. It is to this ideal that I always seek to serve in any job or project I may take on.

Vanhvilai Lisa Doungchai
Developing plans that guide policy which promote sustainable growth and community building are major interests of mine. I believe that a sense of connectedness with the physical environment creates safe, healthy, and sustainable communities. With a background in human and physical geography, it comes as no surprise that planning has sparked my interest. I earned an undergraduate degree in geography with a focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Georgia State University (GSU). My experience at GSU was fulfilling both academically and personally. I made the Dean’s List and was named a Faculty Scholar for my academic achievements. Furthermore, I served as Secretary and later as President of Gamma Theta Upsilon, an honorary geography club. During my senior year, I was a GIS intern for Central Atlanta Progress, which provided me with a better understanding of businesses in downtown Atlanta. After graduation, I was a GIS professional for multi-disciplinary firms working on FEMA’s Map Modernization project, Clean Water Atlanta project, and comprehensive transportation projects, to name a few. As a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for GIS, I researched marine spatial planning by identifying, managing, and documenting coastal and marine resources for the state of Georgia. I am currently working on a school bus routing project for the DeKalb County School System to identify potential cost reductions, improve 54 efficiency, and establish safe route policies.

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