Election season is right around the corner, which means it’s time to get out to vote. Whether you’re registered as a Democrat, Republican or even an Independent and plan to vote in National or Statewide elections…the most important votes relating to the mobile food industry will come from local elections.
The consistent growth of the industry over the years has not been based on laws that come from legislation from the Congress in Washington DC, but rather the laws and ordinances that have been developed in local city council chambers.
It doesn’t matter if your area is governed by city council members, mayors or aldermen…it’s these local officials that have been center stage in many cities across the country that have given the mobile food industry the ability to grow or die.
It’s these local elected men and women who either have voted in legislation that allow food truck operators to thrive, move to other cities to operate or even not even bother opening due to archaic rules and regulations place on mobile food vendors. All of these officials are local residents, however many of them have voted on industry related legislation based on the fact that they have strong ties to local business leaders or restaurant owners who are deeply concerned with food trucks coming in and as they commonly claim “steal” or “poach” what they call “their” customers.
Restaurant lobbies have strength in numbers with a loud singular voice. Due to the fact that the industry is so new and many cities yet to have built strong food truck associations to voice their opinions, their message tends to be quiet and rarely heard.
Food truck owners may not have the loudest voice in their community, but they certainly have the means to help spread the word about officials that have supported their cause or have been advocates for groups opposed to pro-food truck laws. Research the votes of elected officials in your area, if they are up for re-election; share this information with your customers. If there is an alderman or city council member who has sided against the mobile food industry, find out if their competitors have differing opinions. If so…let your customers know this information.
Allow them to help the cause, because ultimately, it is the consumer that is affected the most. It’s their ability to choose where they eat when they are out of their homes. It is their ability to find food trucks in downtown or central business districts that these elected officials can change.
So here is our charge to voters around the country – don’t blow off the upcoming elections thinking they don’t affect you. Be an informed voter and speak up! Go to candidate forums and talk with candidates. Get online and research the candidate’s stances on issues that matter to consumers and food truck owners. And finally, ask them to answer questions about real issues that will affect your life, your business or your ability to choose where you go out to eat. The mobile food industry will continue to grow around the country, but it’s the locally elected officials who will determine where and how quickly.
If you have a list of elected representatives in your area that have not supported the mobile food industry, feel free to share their names with us so we can assist you getting them out of office.