GREENVILLE, SC – When he started Henry’s Hog Hauler in July 2013, Bo Wilder was stoked to bring the famous Henry’s Smokehouse flavor to the streets of Greenville.
And Wilder was thrilled when the City of Greenville last year announced plans to make city streets available to food trucks.
But just over a year later, the Hog Hauler barely ever sets wheel downtown.
“I guess Greenville’s not really a food truck town,” Wilder surmised one day recently. “We go to office complexes now, and barbecue festivals are a huge part of our revenue through the year.”
Though the city ordinance passed last year was meant to give food trucks a solid place in downtown, many truck owners have found the restrictions actually hurt their business rather than helped.
Now, those who were so hopeful last year are moving to other revenue streams like catering or serving only at certain businesses, moves that keep them mainly on private property.
“Yeah, when it all started everybody was very excited about it,” Wilder said. “Since then, it dwindled off. We don’t get the foot traffic that we need downtown to sustain the business down there.”
City officials say they support the food trucks but must balance concerns from restaurant owners as well. They say food trucks are still new in the city and they see a chance to adapt regulations if necessary.
The city’s ordinance is “trying to balance the interests of the brick and mortar establishments as well as food trucks,” said Kai Nelson, director of the city’s office of management and budget, which oversees food truck licensing.
“We also indicated to council that we will revisit the food truck ordinance with the regulated industry. But we’re just simply not able to have that conversation with food truck vendors only.”
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