Food Trucks are Hurting the Family Business

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by tastybasslines, Mar 10, 2014.


  1. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    In case you haven't noticed, over the past several years, there has been a food truck explosion, especially here in Los Angeles. Gourmet trucks offering everything from burgers to lobster have become very popular. In fact, I read that there are some 5,000 or more in LA alone.

    Now, my father in law owns a convenience store in a part of town that has high tourist traffic, and right now is the beginning of tourist season. There will be a much higher traffic from now and getting busier into the peak of summer and leveling off around August.

    A massive amount of food trucks have infiltrated the area recently, and his business has started to see a sizable dropoff, which he expects to get worse. He is the only store other than the local sit down restaurants that sells food in the area.

    The local businesses have had to band together to try to prevent the trucks from getting into the area. It is not just my father in laws business that is hurting. The trucks started by sending people at 4AM to park until the trucks arrive to stay there for the entire day. They do not care about tickets, because it is so lucrative for them. Now the local business group has starting sending people to grab any spots at midnight, and one truck told my father in law that if they need to, they will leave their trucks there permanently, pay any tickets, and have someone else deliver more food and supplies to them. The trucks fight with each other for spaces.

    It's completely unfair. My father in law's rent is very,very high. These trucks need only a permit. They have a cash business where they pay virtually no overhead, no rent, no property insurance, property taxes, or any taxes at all for that matter, no maintenance for bathrooms and whatever else can be thought of. They also take up additional parking for customers of all the stores in the area. The city likes the food trucks, but mostly for other parts of town where there is less business going on and will not do anything about it.

    The only option for the businesses seems to be to pay people to camp out the entire street. It's ridiculous and my father in law is pretty angry about it all.
  2. DwaynieAD

    DwaynieAD

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    have you father in law park his own food truck out front of his store. food from the truck, convenience items inside.
  3. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    He doesn't have a food truck, doesn't want to pay for one, and doesn't want to pay parking fines every day.
  4. elgecko

    elgecko

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Location:
    Anasleim, CA
    I suspect many food trucks themselves are "family businesses".
  5. DwaynieAD

    DwaynieAD

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2010
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    but you said it's so lucrative for these other food trucks, meaning it could be for him as well.
  6. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    And your point is?
  7. 6jase5

    6jase5 Mammogram is down but I'm working manually Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego/LA
    They have to find a happy medium. I like food trucks, but it's gotten to be the SoCal food service loophole and the industry although competitive by nature is getting volatile. I'm starting to see some regulation with hours, locations, etc.

    They should have restrictions on proximity, brick and mortar doesn't get the option.
  8. whoatherechunk

    whoatherechunk Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Eat at one of the food trucks and claim you got food poisoning. Just kidding. Seems like a very sticky/difficult situation. What type of food trucks are they? Does your father in law offer any similar types of food?
  9. elgecko

    elgecko

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Location:
    Anasleim, CA
    Just that everyone, not just brick & mortar based family businesses, is just trying to pay the bills.
  10. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    Location:
    Lacey, WA
    A similar situation happened in Seattle recently, but different industry. Cab drivers in Seattle got their knickers in a twist about the relatively unregulated car services encroaching on their territory. The cab companies won. I suggest your F-I-L band together with other businesses in his hood and work with the city to regulate the food trucks.

    -Mike
  11. EricssonB

    EricssonB

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    Apr 5, 2011
    Location:
    Buckley AFB, CO.
    Competition is competition. Adapt or die. Market protectionism stifles competition.
  12. basscooker

    basscooker

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    Location:
    cincy ky
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    He can turn his store into a Legal Dispensary. Win/Win. Visit his store, then visit the trucks.
  13. fisticuffs

    fisticuffs

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    May 3, 2011
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    Disclosures:
    Product Specialist for Musical Instruments, Full Compass Systems
    Yeah it sucks but that's business. Sounds like the businesses biggest strength was lack of competition. Time to find a new strength.
  14. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Queens NY
    Food trucks aren't nearly as popular in NY as they are in LA, but the few that I go to occasionally sell great food for very little money. This one particular taco truck in Corona, Queens sells dirt cheap tacos that are amazing. I'm sure they're hurting the business of sit-down Mexican restaurants near by but I'd rather spend 10 bucks for 4 tacos and a drink from the truck than sit down in the restaurant for a meal that costs more, takes longer, and isn't as good.
  15. Passinwind

    Passinwind Charlie Escher Supporting Member

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    Political action is always an option. In Portland the hot ticket is food truck "pods", off the streets and on private lots. This allows for tables, bathrooms, and...taxation at a fair rate for all involved.

    Also, maybe your father in-law can figure out a way to leverage the success of the food trucks as an opportunity? Food trucks don't typically sell beer, for instance...;)
  16. Session1969

    Session1969 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    What kind of food does he serve in the convenience store ?
  17. Jhengsman

    Jhengsman

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2007
    Location:
    Arcadia, CA
    Not quite, these trucks have been featured in TV shows and movies as a new outlet for chefs unable to fund their own traditional restaurants. They are not the roach coach, barf wagons or gut trucks that travel to construction sites.

    A little convenience store owner can hire an actual chef and drop a truck in a mini-mall parking lot or on the street, but how long is it before that chef buys a truck that used to be on the construction site circuit and strikes out with his entrepreneurial spirit?
  18. basscooker

    basscooker

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    cincy ky
    Disclosures:
    Owner, Chopshopamps.com
    There's a solution that makes sense; reduce foodstuffs, increase snack and liquor inventory and re-brand.
  19. EricssonB

    EricssonB

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Location:
    Buckley AFB, CO.
    "They found a more efficient way to deliver a product to the market -- shut them down!"
  20. marko138

    marko138

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Location:
    Perry County PA
    Adapt or die. This is 2014. The game has changed. We should have flying cars, but instead we have food trucks. Gotta change with the times.

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