Food Truck Controversy

Food trucks have been making a lot of news in the past couple of years. Just to be clear, we aren’t talking about the usual “roach coaches” that go out to industrial areas and construction sites.  This is a new generation of food trucks that sell gourmet food and are targeting upscale locations, such as downtown or commercial areas – targeting office workers.

The difference between these trucks and the “roach coaches” is that the food being sold is very high quality usually at a lower price compared to surrounding restaurants.  The other difference is that the areas these trucks are going to are usually locations where there are established restaurants (industrial and construction areas don’t usually have nearby restaurants).

So that has lead to cities creating ordinances banning the food trucks from certain areas.  These bans take on a few different flavors.  For example, it can be 1000′ from an established restaurant, prohibited in certain neighborhoods or areas, or (my favorite) 1000′ from a school.  The reason that last on is my favorite is that it would seem that you’re banning good food from being in the vicinity of the school cafeteria (remember, these are gourmet trucks).  It’s also important to note that these trucks are also licensed by local authorities and follow food handling laws.

It sounds like that these laws are being created to protect brick and mortar restaurants.  I think there is also an element of localities ‘loosing’ control since there is no permission required and possibly a loss of local tax (I would guess the last issue is the biggest problem for cities).

Both the Wall Street Journal and The Reason Foundation has published several articles and videos on this topic.  Here’s a link to the most recent video:

Food Trucks vs. The Establishment