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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Doggy Bag: Do Mobile Vendors ReallyThreaten Restaurants?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 6:17 PM

What if they were licensed to sell alcohol, too? - JASON/FLICKR
  • Jason/Flickr
  • What if they were licensed to sell alcohol, too?
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Street rumble: Tuesday at the California Taco Trucks blog, Alan Wiig weighed in on last week's New York Times look at brewing tensions between mobile food vendors and brick-and-mortar merchants. That's precisely the focus of Monday's hearing by the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee. District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty is sponsoring the agenda item, described as "a hearing on the existing and desired procedures and regulations related to the operation of mobile food vehicles and pushcarts" ― that is, is it in the city's interests to ease barriers for entry into legal mobile food selling? And what, exactly, is the risk to restaurants when mobile vendors operate within two blocks of their host stations?

For his part, Wiig ups the ante with the specter of street booze sales. Wiig:

What is interesting is how street food eateries are perceived by restaurants and cafes with fixed locations as threats.... In a down economy, the mobility allows the vendor both to go to their customer, and to move throughout the day and week. The restaurant or cafe does not have this luxury. Of course, a city without sit-down places to grab food, coffee, or a beer would be a city without places to socialize. But to add a twist to this free-flowing thought, what if street-drinking was allowed, so you could have an Anchor Steam while sitting on the curb, eating your street taco? Then the street itself becomes the social space completely.

Er, Alan? It's probably not a good idea to bring that up at Monday's hearing.

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