Is there a war on food truck vendors? In San Antonio, Texas there is…
Imagine if you had to ask permission from your competitors to continue doing business or face closure?
As more people catch the entrepreneurial bug, vending trucks make good sense. It’s a relatively mobile business that saves tens of thousands on start-up costs, creates independence and even bolsters local economies.
That is until cities in tandem with restaurant organizations shut them down. After all, they are competing food businesses. But is it really fair that food truck vendors in San Antonio must ask permission from their brick-and-mortar competitors if they can conduct business? And get charged for the “privilege” of asking? Is it right that the city hand selects who is able to thrive and who must close their doors? That is the current conflict as reported recently by Institute for Justice.
But it gets worse – speaking of closing truck doors, vendors must close down or move on out like nomads leaving their clientele behind if a new restaurant, convenience store or grocer opens within 300 feet of the truck’s newly acquired space. That’s quite a gamble for the truck vendor considering that at any point they can be pushed out by whomever should open shop in the area.
Food trucks face regulation too – they pay the city, too. Instead of finding ways to boost all businesses, it looks as though the city is punishing new businesses and fostering unhealthy competition among restaurateurs. But just think how restaurant owners would feel if they had to ask permission from McDonald’s in order to function.
If it wasn’t nearly insurmountable to start a brick-and-mortar to begin with, maybe this wouldn’t be an issue at all. What is the city really trying to protect?
The Institute for Justice is representing several San Antonio food truck owners in a pending Texas District Court case to challenge the city’s “no-business zones.”
Nobody should need their competitors’ permission to operate a business. But for over a decade, the city of San Antonio has forced food trucks to do just that. San Antonio bans food trucks from operating within 300 feet of every restaurant, convenience store, and grocer in the city. The law applies whether a food truck vends on private property or public property. This has created thousands of 300-foot “no-vending” zones all over town. The Alamo City is using government power to play favorites.
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