Food Trucks And Restaurants Feuding Over Territory
Food trucks have become a now familiar and steadily increasing industry, particularly for restaurants looking to expand their businesses and increase their visibility in the marketplace. People gather in large clusters, often going from one truck to the next, tasting the savory items each has to offer.
However, the restaurants which reside in the areas or districts where the food trucks tend to gather are up in arms over what they believe is an infringement on their locations. These restaurants often pay exorbitant amounts of money to rent their space, and feel the competition is unfair and unjust.
Several big cities, under pressure to protect bricks-and-mortar restaurants from this increased competition, are considering limiting permits, quite possibly forcing many of the food-truck vendors, which travel with fully loaded kitchens, out of business.
Truck owners feel restrictions will hurt their opportunities
Major cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle are enacting laws that will restrict where food trucks can serve customers in proximity to their rivals, and for how long.
Many food-truck operators argue that they shouldnt be punished for offering an innovative service, figuring that many cities already allow restaurants to open up in close proximity to one another.
"The rules are unfair," says Amy Le, owner of Duck N Roll, a food truck in Chicago serving Asian-style cuisine. Shortly after launching the business last fall, she received a citation from local law enforcement for doing business about 150 feet from a wine bar (50 feet within the citys limit for how close food trucks can park outside of retail food establishments).
Truck operators stress the importance of being able to stay in one spot for several hours, primarily because they use social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, to post the locations where they will be accessible.
Food truck numbers steadily increasing
Restaurant owners may be concerned for good reason:
In Boston, there are now 38 food trucks in operation, up from 17 a year ago
St. Louis currently has 29 food trucks, up from 14 last year, and
Inquiries about food-truck permits in Sacramento, Calif., now average three to four a week (compared with just one a month a year ago)
Established restaurants say the influx of food trucks is eating away at their business. On one hand is the question of free enterprise; while on the other is what may be an issue of what might be considered as unfair business
by: Clarence S. Frazier