Update – Las Vegas Food Fight: Restaurants vs. Food Trucks

So it looks like the Las Vegas City Council  couldn’t come to an agreement on the distance for the proposed buffer zone and the issue was tabled during the September 5th City Council meeting. While the matter may still be brought up at a later date, it looks like at least for now, your favorite food truck will be able to freely roam the streets of Downtown Las Vegas.


Las Vegas Food Fight: Restaurants vs. Food Trucks

I’ve been away from here for a while. I worked the past month with only 1 day off so it was pretty hard to find time to write, but I’m back. While I still have more posts to share about my trip to Annapolis, something really important came up that I just had to write about.

If you follow the food truck scene in Las Vegas, then you’re probably already aware of the August 15th September 5th City Council meeting to take up a proposed ordinance that would prohibit Las Vegas food trucks from parking within 300 feet of an established restaurant.

The initial proposal, by the City Council’s Recommending Committee back in March, was 1300 feet (about the length of 3 football fields). The recommendation was based on pleas from downtown restaurant owners, arguing that food trucks poach their customers by moving into restaurant space during peak foot traffic hours. Restaurant owners also argue, that food trucks operate at an advantage because they don’t have to pay rent or property taxes. Ultimately, members of the City Council’s Recommending Committee voted in favor of a 300 foot zone, which will be brought before the City Council for review on Wednesday, August 15th September 5th.

While I think that some sort of buffer zone between brick and motor restaurants and food trucks is fair, I think that Councilman Bob Coffin, along with certain restaurant owners, are unfairly trying to give food trucks the short end of the stick.

My thoughts:

  1. Cream always rises to the top. It’s as basic as if your food is good, people will want to eat it. I’ve eaten at some of the restaurants that have been the strongest supporters of the ordinance, and I have to say, the food they serve just isn’t that good. The food trucks they’re so mad at, aren’t “poaching” business, they’re just offering a more appetizing option.
  2. It’s called survival of the fittest. Animals can become extinct and so can a business. Food trucks have been around for a while, but they’ve only become the “hot thing” the last couple of years. Maybe the food truck trend will last, maybe it will go the way of polaroid cameras and disco music. Either way, only the strong and delicious will survive.
  3. It’s called a marketplace and America is full of them. Have you ever been to a mall, how about a grocery store? Well, they’re full of different brands/stores selling similar stuff, all clustered together. It’s the stuff our capitalist society was built on.
  4. Get in the game. If you think that food trucks have an advantage because they can follow foot traffic, then do what Pop’s Cheesesteaks did when they added a food truck to their existing brick and motor establishment.
  5. Can’t we all just get along. I’ve been to a food truck that’s run out of something and has referred me to another truck. It shocked me at first, but it was a pleasant surprise. In the end, isn’t that how communities are built? Because if you aren’t for competition, how about cooperation.

If you want to know more about how food trucks and other street vendors contribute to economic growth and enrich communities, then you should read the Institute for Justice report, Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending

Fukuburger has been very vocal about their opinion on the proposed food truck ordinance, and has scheduled a Park and March to the City Council Meeting on Wednesday, August 15th at 9am. Since writing this, the City Council meeting has actually been pushed back until September 5th. Follow Fukuburger on twitter @fukuburger for more info and updates.