Birmingham’s street food scene is young and popular. We serve innovative, delicious, quick, and affordable meals. But the city council is currently debating a new ordinance that would make it nearly impossible for us to operate, effectively driving Birmingham’s blossoming food trucks and carts out of town.
- Restricts us from operating within 230 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. This provision is unconstitutional because it is intended to protect restaurants from competition. It is not the proper role of government to protect one business from another. Plus, food trucks boost local businesses, including restaurants. Restaurants in cities like Houston, Las Vegas, Austin and Los Angeles have heralded food trucks and carts for increasing foot traffic to their establishments.
- Severely restricts hours of operation. Under the proposed ordinance, mobile food vendors can only operate for two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, and two hour in the evening: “suggested hours are 7 to 9 a.m. for breakfast, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, and 4 to 6 p.m. for dinner.” This restriction addresses absolutely no legitimate public health and safety concern.
- Limits our operation to carved-out “zones,” upon the approval of a new “mobile food vendors committee.” By design, our business model is meant to bring food to the customer – not the other way around.
- Creates needless and unclear red tape we would be forced to navigate.
We have proposed our own common sense ordinance based off of best-practices of other cities with thriving street food and restaurant scenes. Out of respect for restaurants, we have included language that would prohibit us from operating directly in front of brick-and-mortar establishments:
4) No Mobile Food Vehicle business activity shall be conducted directly in front of any Restaurant entryway; nor shall any such activity be conducted in a manner designed to interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic to or from any Restaurant or other business.
We are only asking for what restaurants and other businesses in Birmingham already have: we want the city to respect our right to earn an honest living and have a chance at being successful.