Manhattan food cart tours in New York

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Manhattan food cart tours in New York


We are incorporated with a benefit corporation, meaning that we've made a legal commitment to make a positive material impact on society and the environment through our work. Each year, we participate in a third party-led assessment that measures our social and environmental impacts and are legally required to post findings on our website and to New York State. In the area of waste, our company uses an office-wide recycling program that includes paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, electronics, and compost. We consider environmental impact when purchasing and printing paper-based materials. We recycle supplies in the office, including printing on scrap paper, purchased primarily recycled paper, and our printing supplier for marketing and tour materials uses vegetable-based inks. In the area of suppliers, whenever possible, we source materials and services from Certified B-Corporations, companies that assess their social and environmental impacts. For our Food Cart Tour, for example, we exclusively use compostable bowls sourced from a fellow Certified B-Corporation.


Community participation is at the core of what we do as a company. We are invested in the people and places where we give tours and all of our guides are involved and engaged with our nonprofit community partners. We partner with non-profit organizations for all of our tour programs, and contributes at least 5% of all ticket sales towards supporting them and dedicates additional paid staff time to supporting their mission-based work.
Our staff spent 2.6% of all of their paid time in 2013 volunteering with non-profit organizations. The largest proportion of this volunteer time was in support of the Vendy Awards, an annual fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project. Four of our staff attended the event in September 2013, and two of our staff were named to the Vendy Awards planning committee. In addition to promoting the event year-round, we also developed a postcard map for the Vendy Awards with the nominees' locations that was distributed to all attendees (1,000+ people) so that they would patronize those businesses following the event.
Our staff also regularly participates in Street Vendor Project's campaigns to raise awareness and improve regulations so that street vendors can engage fairly in their trade. In 2013, we participated in the Street Vendor Projectís campaign to lower top-level fines for minor non-health related street vending violations from $1,000. We wrote several articles about the issue and the campaign on our website, promoted it on social media, and our staff testified before the New York City Council at a public hearing on the matter. Ultimately, the campaign was successful, as the confusing fine structure was simplified and top-level fines were lowered to $500.
Through all of our tours, we are dedicated to documenting and sharing the stories of people and places that are underrepresented in the public record. Our Food Cart Tours offer insight into the stories of an important small business community composed largely of immigrant families. We take pride in raising awareness about the contributions these small business owners make to the cultural and culinary landscape of our city and seek to drive more visibility to their individual businesses, as well as to the industry as a whole in New York City.
An important aspect of all of our tours is supporting the businesses and organizations that we patronize and highlight on the tours themselves, and encouraging visitors to return to them after the tour. One way we do this is through maps that we distribute on our tours that show the tour stops and businesses; another is through post-visit emails that include information about highlighted businesses. As part of our annual survey of customers, we ask them ways in which they engaged with the sites, themes, and partners explored on their tour. For example, on our Food Cart Tours, 40% of visitors later ate to one of the vendors from the tour, 70% recommended a vendor to a friend or family member, and 67% used the postcard map after the tour. Additionally, we saw an increase of 35 percentage points in the likelihood that a visitor would patronize a street vendor as a result of the tour.

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