The government shouldn’t tell food trucks they can’t be near restaurants

A new regulation in Columbus will limit where food trucks can be located.

According to the Commercial Dispatch, food trucks that operate in the city will now be prevented from operating within 200 feet of “any restaurant operating at a permanent fixed location” unless you receive permission from that restaurant.

It is not the government’s job to decide where people should eat. That choice belongs to the consumers. They will decide if they enjoy eating from food trucks, whether it’s as part of a town festival or for lunch tomorrow.

And it is up to the owners of food trucks to invest the capital to make a product that consumers enjoy. If everyone only wanted a restaurant with a physical location, there would be no need for these regulations. Instead, we have government picking winners and losers.

Unfortunately, this type of regulation isn’t unusual.

A couple of years ago Tupelo engaged in a similar debate, with council members openly saying they felt it was their job to support brick and mortar restaurants, at the expense of other business operations. The idea behind that thought is that your brick and mortars are more valuable to the city and therefore need to be protected by government. Fortunately, the city backed down from that proposal.

Cities should be encouraging food trucks to come to their city. They should want food trucks. Not look for avenues to make the job of owners more difficult.