Governments Going After Food Trucks (And Who’s Behind It)

Governments Going After Food Trucks (And Who’s Behind It)

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One of our Twitter followers shared a great article by S.R. Mann at Pocket Full of Liberty and we were granted permission to republish a portion of it for our readers.

Food Truck Revolution

Various publications have talked about the rise of food trucks for the past few years. Reporters from New York to Los Angeles to Salt Lake City to Indianapolis to Syracuse to Boise have written articles remarking on the increase of these mobile culinary venues in their cities. And their popularity is nothing to shake off either:

In a 2010 survey by Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm Technomic for American Express, 26 percent of Americans said they had visited a food truck in the last six months, despite the fact that most trucks are concentrated in a few big cities.

Increased popularity means that food trucks are taking in larger market share of the food industry. In 2009, food trucks brought in $1.2 billion in revenue with that revenue going up 8.4% each year from 2007 to 2012. In 2011, food trucks took in 37% of all the revenue earned through various forms of street vending. And by August 2012, food trucks all over the country collectively saw their revenue go up by 15%. Forbes’ Venkatesh Rao described the increased popularity of food trucks (and farmers’ market) as “a recession-era mini-boom” in the “local food economy.”

These numbers have gotten large enough that the independent gourmand trucks have looked into franchising — and already existing franchises and chains are looking to break into the market as well. Burger King announced plans to roll out food trucks in New York City back in 2012. Their trucks are now out and about in San Francisco.

Naturally, permanently-stationed “brick and mortar” restaurants are concerned about how food trucks affect their lunch crowds — and their bottom lines. As one quick anecdote, restaurant owner Guy Behunin of Salt Lake City stated that his lunch-driven restaurant lost “between 17 and 30 percent” of his profits due to food trucks.

However, rather than compete toe-to-toe with Quick Meal Mobiles, some restaurateurs have appealed to city governments to place strict regulations on food trucks in order to recoup lost revenue. Boston, Chicago, Seattle, and St. Louis are among the many cities enacting laws to crack down on food trucks on behalf of restaurateurs. In Chicago, Amy Le of Duck N Roll food truck was ticketed despite abiding by the city’s regulations:

Three weeks after she launched the business last fall, she received a ticket from local law enforcement for doing business about 150 feet from a wine bar—50 feet within the city’s limit for how close food trucks can park outside of retail food establishments.

Ms. Le says she later had to spend nearly a full day in court to find out what the violation would cost her—about $300—and that she lost an estimated $600 to $700 in sales as a result.

“The 200-foot buffer prohibits me from competing,” says Ms. Le, 32 years old, who also opposes a new rule requiring food trucks to install global-positioning devices so the city can track their whereabouts. “It is a free market. Let the consumers decide when and where they want to eat.”

But Chicago isn’t the only city manipulating the free market in favor of brick and mortar restaurants.

Find the entire article by S.R. Mann at pocketfullofliberty.com <here>

S. R. Mann is a Mother & aspiring philosopher. More libertarian than conservative. Best described as a right-winger who marches to the beat of her own drum. Analytic, passionate, pragmatic, and often irreverent.

You can follow her at @sevenlayercake on Twitter or http://www.pocketfullofliberty.com/food-trucks/

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