First came the food trucks. Then came the motorcycles that served coffee and the nail salons-on-wheels. Then all hell broke loose. At least that's how Phantom Gourmet CEO and Restaurant and Business Alliance president Dave Andelman sees things. He and his brothers who form the local food media entity have been speaking out about tighter rules for food trucks, and Andelman now has an op-ed in the Somerville Patch that spells out his position about how and where food trucks should be allowed to operate. Spoiler alert: not wherever they want.
"Will nail and hair salons on wheels set up on Newbury Street? How about busses that provide massage, or motorcycles that serve coffee?" wonders Andelman. He seems to think that food trucks may corrupt other businesses, showing by example how to cast off the shackles of not being housed in a moving vehicle and thereby causing a massive disruption for all the companies that didn't hit the road. Will future humans look back on the early 21st century as the point at which traditional business was forever crushed by a roving nail salon?
Although many see food trucks and restaurants as complimentary - as in the case of restaurants that own and operate food trucks - Dave Andelman seems to think that the two are destined for conflict. Of course it was views like these that got the Phantom Gourmet embroiled in a public feud with local food truck favorite Staff Meal, and the Patch piece probably won't make the Andelmans any more popular with mobile food vendors. He writes:
The restaurants can’t just 'step up their game'; it’s impossible for them to meet the prices of their mobile competitors given the cost structure of these two types of business.
His solution: food trucks shouldn't come within 1,000 feet of brick-and-mortars and should be relegated to public spaces like the Common and the Esplanade plus the occasional festival. Unless a food trucker writes a letter to all nearby restaurants, gets approval from the majority, and can then operate within 500 feet of them. He calls this measure the Food Truck Promotion And Restaurant Protection Provision. Food truck fans and operators will surely think of some other names to call it.