Are restaurant owners wasting governmental funding by reporting food trucks that park “too close” to their eateries? A simple search in Google shows that this becoming a common theme in most areas where food trucks are operating. This ploy could be understandable if these trucks were actually breaking parking laws. In most cases, the police are called, they show up to the scene, inspect the vendors license and check to see if they are parked properly, and then leave without issuing any type of ticket.
In an environment where most of these cities are running budget deficits, is it time for the police to charge or at least fine those who are making these false reports which not only spend precious police funding, but also keep the police from protecting the citizens of their communities? Due to most local legislation, if a complaint is made by one of these restaurant owners, the police must respond to investigate the claim.
Why are these business owners reporting these mobile vendors? If our research is proof of anything, it shows that the brick and mortar restaurant owners are simply trying to protect “their” turf. Unfortunately it seems as though this may be the easiest and most cost effective way to push back against their perceived competition.
Yes, the mobile food industry is growing by leaps and bounds throughout the country, and reaching into areas which may not have had truck issues in the past; however, instead of trying to find alternate means to protect their market share, these businesses appear to have taken to tattling on the new kid on the block.
Instead of improving their pricing, menus or preparing a higher quality food, restaurant owners are turning to government to protect them. Some of these business owners are lobbying officials in their local governments to create laws prohibiting food trucks all together, or laws which eliminate any chance of a food truck from doing business within the length of a football field (or more) away from their storefront.
A word of advice to the restaurant owners, the mobile food industry isn’t going anywhere. It will continue to grow, and your attempts to stymie competition is not being unseen by your current customer base. Your attempts to eliminate this popular food craze not only are making you look petty, but also unable to adjust to market trends.
Instead of bucking the trend, maybe it is time to learn how to adjust your current business model. There are aspects of your business that food trucks will never be able to compete with. You have a permanent location, you have seating, and you have a greater ability to adjust the food you serve and its quality. Look at yourselves as the problem, not this new competition. Instead of calling the police every time you notice a food truck on your block, try to find a way to compete against them outside of reporting them to the police or calling your city council to have them create a law to protect your business interests.
In regards to the politicians who are backing the restaurant lobbies, don’t forget that the laws you are creating not only hurt the food truck entrepreneurs (who may very well be your constituents) but they are hurting the people who eat from these mobile restaurants. People have long memories, and the next time you are up for election, just think about how many people you have taken these new food options away from. Never get in the way of a foodie and a good meal!