Large, entrenched businesses love to stifle competition by lobbying legislators and regulators to write laws and regulations that favor those larger businesses and corporations. Large, entrenched businesses love to stifle competition by lobbying legislators and regulators to write laws and regulations that favor those larger businesses and corporations. But the federal government isn’t the only one that participates in this corporate favoritism and protectionism. Sadly, similar things happen at the local government level too.
For many consumers, food trucks are a great way to get delicious and cultured food quickly and inexpensively. And for many food entrepreneurs, starting a food truck business is a way out of unemployment, to satisfy their community, and a foot-in-the-door into the restaurant industry.
Food trucks started gaining popularity during the 2009 recession, and for many, it was a way to build their brand, save up some money, and eventually start a brick-and-mortar restaurant. That is until local governments decided to get in the way.
In Baltimore, a pizza truck operator, Joey Vanoni, is not allowed to park his truck within 300 feet of any brick and mortar restaurant that sells pizza. Joe and the Institute for Justice have sued the city and the case is currently pending.
A cupcake food truck operator in Chicago, Laura Pekarik, is only allowed to remain parked for 2 hours at a time, and that’s when she can find parking. Typically she is not allowed to park in most places, making it hard for her to take her truck into the city.
In Green Cove Springs, Florida, days after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the town, Jack Roundtree took his BBQ food truck into downtown to give out free hot lunches and barbecue to residents and utility workers. The city manager sent the police to shut him down and kick him out.
Democratic Chicago City Councilman, Tom Tunney, who gets to write the rules for food truck parking and who also has owned multiple restaurants for over 40 years, believes that brick and mortar restaurants shouldn’t have to face competition. He says: “It is such a small margin business and it employs so many people, that’s what we need to protect.” Forget the small entrepreneurs trying to start their own brand and business, forget the consumers who enjoy the food offered by food trucks, and forget the quality services and quality pricing that is incentivized through competition.
It isn’t the government’s job to decide which businesses should be allowed to compete and which businesses are more important. It isn’t the government’s job to protect certain industries. Let everyone compete and allow the consumers to decide which businesses are superior. Getting the government involved only hurts small businesses, consumers, and the local community.