By ALEJANDRO CANO | Fontana Herald News
Soon, the popular food trucks also known as mobile coffee shops and restaurants on wheels could be traversing San Bernardino County roads, offering a large number of snacks and dishes to satisfy even the most discerning palate.
That is because 2nd District Supervisor Janice Rutherford is designing an ordinance that could repeal the ban on mobile restaurants in the region, which in turn could create jobs and improve the quality of life for many residents while helping the local economy.
“Lifting the county’s prohibition on food trucks will generate opportunities for new small businesses and jobs in our communities. There’s already a huge consumer demand for the food trucks in our county,” said Rutherford. “Just imagine what kind of business food trucks could generate if we lift the ban on mobile food vending.”
In fact, during a recent event held in Chino to benefit the local school district, more than 4,000 people paid an entry fee to enjoy food from the trucks. Such popularity, along with a well-designed plan, could generate enough votes to lift the ban, said Scott Vanhorne, a spokesperson for Rutherford.
“We don’t want to rush the plan; we want to study the concept to offer a well-prepared ordinance. We know it will benefit entire families because it is way less expensive to own a food truck than a brick wall restaurant,” said Vanhorne. “The idea will help reduce the unemployment rate in the county; it is a win-win situation.”
Food trucks in the county were banned several decades ago on the grounds that they cause outbreaks of disease due to contaminated food. However, because of more stringent health standards, the risk has decreased dramatically, said Vanhorne.
“Thirty years ago, the food trucks were called roach coaches,” he said. “But things have changed. Today they offer gourmet food properly made by expert hands.”
Despite the popularity of food trucks, which originally were created to serve construction workers on site, the Inland Empire region, comprised of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, is the only area in the state that bans food trucks.
Rick Gambino, a Highland resident, supports the idea of bringing back the food trucks, saying they will benefit the local economy while offering him the opportunity to get back in business. Gambino, who comes from a family which owns restaurants, said it is time to wake up and realize the economic opportunity.
“It will be a gold mine. The region is large and the idea will benefit countless families. Not everyone has money to invest in an established restaurant and not everybody has the ability to operate in other counties. The idea is great,” said Gambino.
Discussion of the ordinance is just in the beginning stages right now, and approval is not certain. In the coming months, the ordinance could be presented to the Board of Supervisors for evaluation, Vanhorne said.