Competition breeds complaints

Do food trucks have an unfair advantage over restaurants? 

I’m guessing that food truck owners would say no. After all, it’s not like a thief can just steal a brick-and-mortar restaurant. They can and do steal food trucks. It’s happening all over the U.S. 

Can you imagine waking up one morning and your entire business is just missing? Poof. 

Food trucks are super limited in what they can do, how much food they can make, and what they can serve. It’s a grab-and-go thing—one that’s hopefully cheap and easy—and they can’t sell liquor or alcohol. Most have to broadcast their hours and location out to customers, because both are subject to change. You know, it’s on wheels!  

So why are business owners in Guadalupe up in arms? 

In a letter the Guadalupe Business Association sent to the city, it accused food trucks of “stealing business” from brick-and-mortar restaurants by parking downtown. 

Wah! Wah! Call the wahmbulance!

I’m not sure where else the food trucks would park. Guadalupe really isn’t that big. The business district is basically one street.

“[Restaurants] have to pay mortgage or rent, a truck doesn’t,” business owner George Alvarez told the Guadalupe City Council on Aug. 22. 

Well, it’s not like they’re running around in free trucks. They did have to pay for the truck and all the equipment inside of it, right? Most also have to pay rent to use a commissary kitchen before heading out on the road to “steal” business from the local restaurants they’re trying to compete with because that’s how capitalism works, last I checked. Alvarez described the city as a “bare-bones community” that needed to “save our existing businesses we have in the restaurant trade.” 

How many restaurants are in Guadalupe? More than 10. I wouldn’t call that bare bones. That’s a lot for a small community. And food trucks are just a different kind of food purveyor, usually started by folks who can’t afford to pay rent or are just starting out in the local food industry. That’s the beauty of it. Plus, none of them can serve alcohol and no one is sitting down to dinner at a food truck.  

This whole argument about food trucks “stealing” business from restaurants has been around since food trucks became trendy and popular. It sucks to be off trend, but that’s life in America, baby! Capitalism! Competition! They breed excellence, right?! 

Well. In America, established businesses are also threatened by new-fangled ones. So threatened, in fact, that it’s led to physical altercations and name-calling in places like Long Beach, which is considering regulating food trucks due to the same issues raised in Guadalupe. If the capitalist system is no longer working to their advantage, bring on the regulations! And force the new businesses to get in line! 

Get in line, food trucks! Get in a circle, actually. That’s what they did in Grover Beach. Food truck owners got together and created a space where they could park and people could enjoy the fruits of their cooking. The city, of course, regulated it, because that’s what cities do. 

At least in Guadalupe, elected officials aren’t looking to place too many restrictions on food trucks. Maybe just limiting the time they can park in one spot. 

Sounds like a disadvantage to me.

The Canary is all about that food truck life. Send locations to [email protected].

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