Restaurant Owners Keep Food Truck Competitors On the Run

Chicago's GaztroWagon Food Truck
Chicago's GaztroWagon Food Truck

by Zack Christenson | Heartland.org

Starting any new business is tough. It’s even tougher in Chicago. And it’s even tougher if you’re starting a business that includes interest groups trying to keep you from succeeding. Such is the case with the burgeoning food truck scene. The problems faced by these entrepreneurs have been well documented, both inside and outside of Chicago.

You could assume that some restaurant owners may feel threatened by this new form of business, but I never would have guessed they would so brazenly attempt to stifle commerce and the free-market by playing politics. It’s something straight out of Atlas Shrugged. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last month that Chicago restaurant owners were mobilizing to try and block City Hall from creating an “unlevel playing field” for their brick-and-mortar businesses — by legalizing mobile food trucks with cooking on the premises.

Illinois Restaurant Association President Sheila O’Grady even went so far as to suggest a possible compromise: confining rolling restaurants to “food deserts” and neighborhoods with a shortage of brick-and-mortar restaurants.

Given the problem that already exists with guerilla marketers and food trucks selling pre-packaged products, Chikow said he’s not about to endorse the idea of mobile food trucks with cooking on the premises. It would only make an already unsafe situation worse, he said.

“There’s no one in favor of this right now,” he said. We’ve got people who have invested in facilities. They pay taxes. They hire employees and buy ads. They’re doing all this stuff and somebody comes in who doesn’t do all this stuff and they’re competing in the marketplace.”

Horse and buggy-makers really screwed up when they didn’t use their political clout to stop Henry Ford from producing cars at a mass scale. That man was a menace, with his innovative new product. Didn’t he know that buggy-makers had invested in facilities, paid taxes, hired employees, and bought ads? Who did he think he was competing in the marketplace? The nerve of that guy.