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I email the SCMFVA attorneys often about issues pertaining to the food truck industry.  In this email Jeffrey was responding to my post about competition.  I liked his email so much I told our him that I was going to post on our blog. He begrudgingly agreed to let me.

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Matt,

I think it is important to note that the food trucks perform different functions than the restaurants.  Food trucks perform a more limited test market for a new concept.  They also perform a ground-laying function for new territory.  Why should an entrepreneur just ‘guess’ when he doesn’t have to?  Also, a food truck can survive when no one location could support a concept.  None of these things are natural functions for a brick and mortar – and prior to high-quality food trucks, people were forced to go that route.  The gourmet food-truck is an innovation.  Restaurant-quality cuisine can be created in a clean and safe environment.  The only thing ‘unfair’ would be for potential or existing restaurateurs to be deprived of a more effective delivery platform for use under circumstances when a traditional restaurant would be highly risky and unlikely to generate the same risk-adjusted returns.   Landlords with proven restaurant spaces have nothing to worry about.  The problem is that it costs a lot to find out whether they do.   Food trucks allow the entrepreneur to be freed of the shackles on one location and/or a major capital investment.  Most of them would rather run a brick and mortar and, in fact, over time, food trucks should lead to more, successful restaurants as tenants.  Their existence should also help restaurants increase their bargaining power and thus reduce rents by virtue of the fact that there is an alternative available.

The potential for landlords to lose some bargaining power is the reason they are fighting.  That nobody would feel sympathy for them is why they are trying to do so under the guise of ‘unfair competition’ for restaurants.  At the core of any restaurant is a chef with a concept.   There is no difference with a food truck.  Trucks and brick and mortar restaurants would like lower taxes, less regulation, and lower costs of operation.  Destroying food trucks will hurt restaurateurs in the long run – they should not want this.  They are only bound to brick and mortar so long as they have a lease!

Jeffrey D. Dermer

Attorney at Law

Dermer Behrendt

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