Orange County: Food Truck Invasion…. Good or Bad?


by Greg Sebourn

The Orange County Register is reporting that the Food Truck Jamboree is coming to the Hyatt Regency Irvine January 27th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Imagine if Downtown Fullerton had something like this but on a weekend.  Maybe add some music and activities for the kids.

Unfortunately, many communities do not support food trucks because they compete against brick and mortar restaurants and generally have lower operating overhead.  Local government doesn’t like food trucks for a few reasons.  Their tax structure is such that they pay their sales tax within the city/county which they’re based and not where the tax was collected.  Some cities have began regulating food trucks in an effort to capture tax revenue and level the playing field for local businesses.  The fact that the trucks can drive into a city, sell food for an hour or two, then drive out of the city has caused code enforcement officers to take notice and issue citations for not having a city business permit.

Sadly, redevelopment agencies give cheap taxpayer funded loans to new businesses to come into town and compete against long existing and well established businesses, many of which are already struggling under the weight of employee benefits, higher taxes, and a depressed economy.

So, as one arm of a community attempts to level the field, another arm, the redevelopment agencies, cuts deep ruts and pits for the losers while building up a taxpayer funded framework for their chosen winners.

I support food truck operators in their endeavor of the American Dream and prosperity.  I don’t see the trucks as a threat to local business so long as everyone adheres to the often cumbersome regulations governing businesses and food safety.

Food trucks may not always be the healthy choice when it comes to food consumption but they will certainly help to spur some healthy competition.