Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
May 14, 2010 01:17 AM

Know Your Enemy: Snappy Snacks Villainy Exposed by Local Media

Who's eaten at a Snappy Snack truck?

How was the food?

Read about the controversy here:

Remember when a good old fashioned Texas dry gulching would've been Snappy Snacks owner Tom Ramsey's reward for such outrageous behavior?

Is Snappy Snacks behind a potential ordinance forbidding carts selling breakfast tacos before NOON?

If so can we all pool our money and fly Stan Hansen [] in to deal with this Ramsey character before he makes it impossible to buy an al pastor taco in Austin?

Tom Ramsey owns 70 some odd food trucks. Why is he muscling down on food cart entrepreneurs who've scraped together enough money to get their one cart out on the street to feed the people?

Is Tom Ramsey sore about the city requiring him to build a retention pond and install grease traps at his 7 acre complex within the cities jurisdiction?

It reportedly cost a million dollars [ ].

Tom Ramsey went in front of the city council with 42 new rules and regulations he'd dreamed up to limit his potential competitors ability to prepare food for the eaters of Austin, Texas.

His wish list was pared down to 10 new regulations for his competition.

More information here:

Austin's food cart scene is gaining national recognition for excellence in dining. Can we afford to allow
Snappy Snacks to dictate what byzantine rules Odd Duck, Tacos el Rico and other local meccas of deliciousness must follow?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Snappy Snacks tried to have a truck at my office complex once. Glop. I don't remember anything specific - all I remember is that all of their food was horrible. I think they do well for "captive eaters:" those who work construction and whatnot and have no other choice but to get a quick lunch at the jobsite.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rudeboy

      Having worked in construction nearly all of my adult life, I only allow the locals on-site. Made the mistake of allowing Snappy on once. That stuff was pure glop. Some of the best food memories were of of the taco trucks that came on-site in El Paso. I would look forward to the lunch truck coming. Best tacos al pastor ever....sigh

    2. The only reason we have a trailer scene is because the barrier to entry to open a restaurant is so high. As a result we have empty storefronts, landlords who would love to rent them for cheap and restauranteurs who can't afford the buildout necessary to open in a structure. hence trailers.

      Until council does something about THAT, the trailers are always going to be subject to the whim of whoever gets council riled up. It will just take one bad actor on the scene and then these guys are gonna be toast.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ieathereforeiam

        We've had a Snappy truck at our workplace for years. I usually get the same thing, but they're far from bad. They're basically cab drivers that know how to line cook. It depends on who drives and cooks. The routes and trucks are leased by Snappy and the quality of food is up to the drivers and cooks.

        We've tried plenty of other "trucks" at some of our other locations along 1st /Cesar Chavez, usually a restaurant-owned taco truck or pickup truck vendor, but they were unreliable and shotty - and never lasted long. The Snappy truck that visits headquarters has lasted for years and is manned by the same driver/cook combo.


      2. Just a quick thanks to scrumptious for bringing this to light. The rascal Ramsey wants attention, that's what he'll get when we tell everyone we know to avoid his business like proverbial plague. Regardless of how the current trailer movement came about, it's one of the best things that's happened to the food in this town. Not sure why I'm surprised the city council is kowtowing to Ramsey; they do the same to the crooks at capmetro, but that's another matter.

        8 Replies
        1. re: femmenikita

          So these are the changes that have been proposed. which ones are terribly oppressive? I'm fairly libertarian but I think some regulations are necessary for public health and safety...

          Proof of Liability Insurance
          Notarized Documentation of Daily Commissary Use
          Proof of Texas Sales and Tax Use permit
          Itinerary for Truck Routes
          Written agreement with Property Owner to Vend on Private Property
          Written permission to use Restrooms at Work Site
          Certification of Commissaries
          Commercially Manufactured Unit or Unit Plans Required
          Retention Tank / Grease Trap
          Low Propane gas units

          1. re: chrisdds98

            Yeah they're all good regs chrisdd

            Except when you figure in the $34,400 [monetary figure taken from above links] it will take each cart to come into line with the proposed laws

            I've eaten regularly off the carts for over a decade with nary a complaint [other than the occasional lousy taco]

            It's pretty clear that this Ramsey character is trying to put a lot of the little guys out of business. That's my beef.

            The city of Austin already has a long list of rules the carts have to follow to vend their deliciousness.

            With over a thousand carts in town we're really experiencing a culinary flowering of epic proportions.

            Do we need to force these small business owners to shutter and go back to working for 8 bucks an hour at well heeled brick and mortar restaurants?

            1. re: scrumptiouschef

              The problem was that several years ago, the city decided to selectively enforce their mobile vendor guidelines against Ramsay, which he complied with at his expense. Now he has to compete against mobile vendors who don't follow the rules and he's complaining, which I don't fault him for.

              This battle existed before the rise of the hip trailer community in Austin and the stationary trailers have gotten caught up in it.

              Incidentally, if you look closely at some of the "hip" mobile vendors, you'll notice a little sign that says that the truck they are using is leased from Snappy Snacks.

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                Why shouldn't food carts have to follow the same health and safety guidelines as caterers, and mom and pop brick and morters?

                and just for the record. I've never been to a snappys. and i do like many of the food carts in town. I think they could be good incubators, just not good for a long term business. and aside from a handful, they can look pretty trashy.

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef

                    Nobody is forcing anyone out of business. They have a choice to conform or not. If they do, good for them, they'll stay in business, if they dont, then we all know the result.

                  2. re: chrisdds98

                    Much depends on what those one liners mean.

                    For example: "Notarized Documentation of Daily Commissary Use"
                    It might mean that whatever food storage and preparation is done outside the trailer must be inspected. It might mean frequent paperwork for small operations. It might mean that every trailer has to have a fully licensed commercial kitchen associated with their trailer.

                    "Certification of Commissaries".
                    This might simply be a complete redundant version of the former (designed, perhaps to add cost to the trailer vendors). It might mean that if they do not have a "commissary" they don't need it. It might mean that they must have a "commissary".

                    "Commercially Manufactured Unit or Unit Plans Required".
                    What's a unit? The trailer? The cooking equipment? Only the ensemble? This could be as little as a requirement for commercial grade cooking units or simply a "you must buy your unit from Snappy" law.

                    Itinerary for Truck Routes.
                    Prospective? Retrospective? Why at all? How often updated? What happens on an update? Is this a way for Snappy to get veto rights

                  3. re: femmenikita

                    Just because Mr Ramsay is helping find solutions to this dilema, doesn't make him a 'rascal' or 'crook'....if you want to get personal about someone, do you actually know his motives? Have you personally questioned him? If you haven't, there is no reason to call someone out like that. I can understand people getting defensive in regards to this situation, but there is no finger pointing here, this would all happen whether or not someone brought it up or someone got super sick and started sueing left and right.

                  4. The original comment has been removed
                    1. +1 for oldschool pro wrestling refrence! More of a Blackjack Mulligan fan myself. Both dudes were/are bad to the bone!