Restaurants say food trucks are killing business
Good afternoon great foodie friends.
Are Food trucks / carts unfairly killing restaurant business?
First let me state clearly that culinary wonderment is served equally by great restaurants and food trucks alike. I have no bias against either business model, but on the contrary, I do believe that any and all businesses need to earn their patrons just as any retail or wholesale business should.
When I listen to the debate, it is clear that many facts are being overlooked or ignored. I do feel that the food trucks are unnecessarily on the defensive side of this debate, but believe that a healthy, factual debate can educate the general public, as well as hopefully dispel some questionable facts.
Lets ask the question-Why is there a debate about this issue at all?
It doesn’t matter what business you are in, you will always have competition nipping at your heels and that should fuel your fire and desire to earn and gain repeat business based on some basic business principles.
In this case:
*Good location or better known as-“location, location, location”
*Good to great food
*Attention to detail
*Understanding your costs and your customer
I have always maintained that the only way to create great food with over the top flavors is through food that is made from the heart and the soul of the culinary master. The difference shown by the cook/chef that loves what they do and truly feels the passion for culinary magic, shows itself from the moment you see the food, then smell the flavours and finally taste the creation…… A little over top in my explanation maybe?…..I don’t think so.
Now lets talk about some of the arguments we hear from the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association who states:
The Restaurants have a significantly higher economic reality around leases and property taxes than the food trucks do.
While there may be some truth to this statement, the missing facts are as follows:
*Food trucks pre-pay for parking for all day when most are only able to operate between the hours of 11:00 am and 2:30 pm.
*Food trucks must have a commissary kitchen which can cost upwards of $2000/ month, they may not use a home based kitchen.
*Most food truck/carts must park their trucks in a secured, enclosed garage.
*Food trucks are supporting 2 kitchens between their truck and commissary and susceptible to 2 health food inspections.
*Most food trucks business is “seasonal” when it rains many patrons don’t come
*Food trucks have to start and maintain a marketing effort to garner patrons to try their new concept.
*Food trucks are at the mercy of the city when it comes to road closures for events or road work and may have to move their location at anytime with little notice
The debate needs to be heard, but on a fair playing field. At the end of the day, if you can’t offer customer satisfaction on many levels whether you are a food truck or a restaurant you won’t earn repeat patrons. People work hard for their money these days and will vote with their dollar when it comes to where and when they will eat.
Due to where they are situated in downtown Vancouver, many food trucks or carts become destination locations for those patrons not working in the surrounding towers. At first my thoughts may have been that the food trucks would give some restaurants a run for their money but as I searched harder for who comes to the trucks, I found that it is mostly the surrounding business towers occupants, who would at many times be bringing a bag lunch or may opt for fast food. The fact that they have only so much time for lunch likely precluded them from making a restaurant meal a daily ritual in the first place. Many of the food trucks offer them a healthy unique alternative to a bag lunch or fast food.
When we want to sit down with friends or for a business luncheon, most – if not all- would make their way to a favorite restaurant.
Basically what we need the city to do in regards to this issue, is understand that restaurant saturation needs to be monitored and licences issued in areas that aren’t over loaded already with food trucks or restaurants.
The two business models can co-exists if they all play to their strengths and earn the repeat business $ that they all search for. Lets not blame the restaurants or the food trucks for these debates, lets try and consider all the facts and support our favourite restaurants and food trucks….. Lets be proud of the Culinary Mecca that Vancouver has become. We are so lucky to have so many talented chefs in our great city…..lets embrace and support the deserved.
In conclusion, have you now noticed some successful food trucks have also opened a brick and mortar location?
I think that it begs the question, who is the debate really with.
Tags: Food trucks, restaurants, controversy, are food trucks taking restaurants business
Categories: you ask for it and I’ll find it out!