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Testimony of Ariel Barbouth

New York City Council Committee on Consumer Affairs

October 26, 2016
City Hall

Hello, my name is Ariel Barbouth and I am the owner of Nuchas Empanadas, a small business that
operates several mobile food vending location in the City. Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
I am here to testify in favor of Intro 1303 to increase the number of food vending permits.
I moved to New York in 2010 from Argentina and had the dream of selling the empanadas that were so
famous in my home country. Now, many different cultures make empanadas. Nuchass empanadas,
however, are different since Argentinian empanadas are baked, not fried, and offer unique flavors not
found in other cultures.
Since commercial rent was too expensive, mobile vending was the only way to begin my business. We
started selling them on the street and now have five locations including a food cart, food truck, and
I have been lucky that people love my empanadas. In 2014, we won the Peoples Choice Award at the
Vendy Awards, the competition for the best food vendor in New York City. We have built an 8,000 square
foot production, employ 55 people, and we have a wholesale business where we supply our empanadas
to Fairway and other supermarkets.
Even though we are successful, we still deal with many of the same problems that all food vendors face
in New York City. The cap on permits is a huge barrier to small food businesses looking to bring their
products to this City. Most other vendors are not as fortunate as I am and struggle to become successful.
I hope the City Council will increase the number of permits available so vendors can work without the
fear of using the black market to obtain a permit.
I am also pleased to hear the City Council is considering making permit owners, rather than license
holders, produce a sales tax ID. It is already difficult for me to find people who are licensed mobile food
vendors to work at my locations.
Nuchas would not have existed without mobile food vending, and even though we have grown, we still
cannot afford to have a brick and mortar space since rents are just too high. Eventually though I would
love to open a restaurant.
I hope that the City Council will encourage the growth of other small businesses like Nuchas so there can
be more opportunity for immigrants and other individuals who have a dream like I did to share some of
our food culture with New York City.

Ariel Barbouth

5905 Kennedy Boulevard North Bergen, NJ 07047 Tel 212.947.1753 Fax 347.772.3668