Competition from Food Trucks is Good for the Marketplace

发布日期:2011年7月20日- Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association website

By Jeff Dermer, SoCalMFVA Attorney with the law firm of 真皮贝伦特

The blogosphere and mainstream media has been recycling the same, poorly-reason analysis about how “unfair” competition from Gourmet Food Trucks is “bad for the local economy” and therefore discriminatory regulations that have the effect of limiting consumer choice are developed or maintained.  Just this week stories coming out of Seattle, 罗利, 杰克逊维尔, and New York City have regurgitated this theme.  The complaints are typical — “lower overhead” and “less taxes” (but not lower prices!) are reasons to ban or regulate the trucks out of existence (or at least, off the block).

作为食品卡车的律师之一, I often have to rebut this argument with simple economic reasoning — which doesn’t always work so well because it is a little on the theoretical and, 因此, 无聊的一面.  This week’s liquidation of Borders Group, Inc., and the media and societal reaction to it illustrates why the argument is so wrong and why the advance of food trucks should be welcomed as progress and not fought.

本周,Borders Group, Inc .. — the parent company of the familiar book store chain — announced that it will liquidate.  Borders was unable to find a buyer for its 399 stores.  The first Borders opened in 1971 and it was sold it K-Mart in 1992, which helped it expand from 20 to 400 stores.

那么为什么Borders会失败呢?  The Wall Street Journal provides an analysis.  “The fall of the nation’s second-largest bookstore chain surprised few inside Store No. 1.”  (July 19, 2011, Lamenting Borders’ Death at ‘Store No. 《hg8888皇冠》作者:马修·多兰.)  The WSJ surmises that the stores lost their distinctiveness while changes in technology led to increased competition from and other internet retailers and e-book providers.


The one theme that we do not find anywhere in the media is that Amazon competed ‘unfairly’ and that Borders should not be allowed to go out of business.  Yet, Amazon, and online retailers in general, have enjoyed less sales tax exposure.  当然, Amazon has lower “overhead” (a common complaint from would-be economists posing as restaurateurs).

Yet, it seems to me that the loss of Borders is seen as merely a signpost on the road to progress.  Amazon offered consumers what they wanted, faster, less expensive, and now with Kindle, 更好的.  这是 exactly what is happening with the Gourmet Food Trucks.

Quick-serve and fast food restaurants are finding that they are unable to maintain high margins in office complexes when confronted with gourmet street-fare.   Consumers are voting with their feet that they prefer choice, and a 更好的 price/quality combination.  这是despite restaurants advantage of 气候控制s, 表, and bathrooms!

为什么会这样?  Truck technology allowing for more methods of cooking and meal preparation safety combined with social media has changed the competitive landscape.  Older industries are caught flat footed and the weakest competitors are seeking governmental protection.

The silliness of the arguments about “lower overhead” or “unfair competition” is shown in the case of Borders.  Not one government is seeking to ban online book sales, 电子阅读器, or subsidizing brick and mortar book stores.  为什么?  因为, 在核心层面上, everyone knows it is futile and undermines free-market competition that drives progress.  Most people do not want fewer, more expensive books, less access, and fewer choices to read.

So the next time you read someone like the guys over at the 柠檬月亮餐厅 (which is petitioning to have trucks prohibited from its block) decrying how “unfair” the competition is from food trucks that cannot provide shelter, 气候控制, 表, 或浴室, 我建议你再考虑一下.  If they cannot compete against a clearly disadvantaged business platform then what does that say about their prices and/or quality combination?  In other words, do you really want to live in a world without Amazon.Com与消费者选择?

Jeff Dermer is the Managing Partner of 真皮贝伦特 — the Food Truck Attorneys.  ( Twitter @Dermer_Behrendt