Dave Andelman of the Phantom Gourmet has been attracting quite a bit of attention lately for calling for tighter regulations on food trucks, saying they create unfair competition for brick and mortar restaurants. Of course Andelman is also the president of the Restaurant and Business Alliance, which calls itself "a trade association providing restaurant and business owners with a strong voice in government and media." Is it a conflict of interest that the head of a restaurant-focused media entity also heads an organization dedicated to getting restaurants media attention? Perhaps, though it's certainly no secret: both institutions make their associations perfectly clear. But local restaurant critic MC Slim JB has gone one step further in determining just how interrelated the two are.
On Facebook, he writes that "A casual inspection of the member list of the Restaurant and Business Alliance... suggests that about 75% of them are businesses that the Phantom Gourmet TV show has run ads for, plugged on the show (without any disclosure of a pre-existing business relationship), or both." He also notes that Restaurant and Business Alliance members number over 100 and each pay $1,000 for yearly dues. So does Slim think there's an issue here? Again, he writes: "I knew the Andelmans had a pretty sweet, corrupt racket going on, but I had underestimated its sophistication. Impressive."