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« Two cheers | Main | Detached »

Aug 04, 2012

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sal leone

I see both sides of the agrument with the food trucks and local restaurant. The fact is that food is cheaper and faster at the food trucks. The local restaurant can never keep up with the trucks in cost savings and food price. The term I like to see used is regulation, plain and simple. The truck owners must pay for a permit with the city and have its truck inspected on a regular cycle. The areas they do business in can be regulated, example would be time, location. The goal is not to have 50 trucks downtown at the sametime. So make a city law, anyone operating without a permit and inspection or out of location must pay a fine.

Brian

Good news is that it clears up the misconception that food trucks weren't allowed at all in Greensboro. They are and they are just now starting to show up. Bad news is that Milton Kern thinks they are bad for downtown and apparently the City Council agreed with him last year by eliminating food trucks from downtown. It is beyond me to think that a restaurant will succeed or fail based on the presence of food trucks downtown, but be that as it may, just keep them off Elm St. It's a bit too busy and crowded for that anyways. Good thing downtown is a big area and there is plenty of room for the trucks. I have a real issue with any rule that would keep trucks with all proper permits from parking and serving on private property. I'm telling you a few food trucks at the corner of Greene and Washington would do real well.

My wife and I were downtown last night to catch a play. Neither one of us was that hungry, but wanted something light and small. What were our options? Really just sit down restaurants. I could see a lot of young people downtown who aren't going to patronize the mid-scale to upper-scale restaurants of which there are plenty (and a few last night that at 8pm looked completely empty which is not a good sign for those places) but whom would absolutely stop and get a $2 taco or bbq sandwich or some other small eats.

There are reasons plenty of reasons that downtown restaurants will continue to fail, or turnover, and the presence of food trucks will not change that.

Andrew Brod

There's a fundamental economic question here: Are food trucks substitutes or complements of bricks-and-mortar restaurants? If they're complements, then more food trucks means more business for regular restaurants. Obviously, existing restaurants believe the opposite, i.e. that they're substitutes.

Because I'm curious about things like this, I just did a little searching and scanned a few reports and can tell you that... I don't know. As far as I can tell, no one's investigated this. There are anecdotal reports of food trucks enhancing the local culinary scene, but no formal studies.

But the anecdotes should be enough. If food trucks and restaurants are complements in some places, then it can't be true that they're always and everywhere substitutes. It depends on how food trucks are regulated, promoted, located, etc.

What some cities are doing is creating food-truck pods, zones (like a parking lot) where food trucks are allowed to set up. A solitary food truck might make money, but a fleet of them feed off of each other, so to speak. A pod is (or can be) a happening. So then it becomes a matter of choosing the right place for the pod. If M'Coul's and the Green Bean are in favor of food trucks, perhaps they can suggest something to the city.

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