Regulation can leave bad taste
Customers should set the rules surrounding mobile food trucks.
So far, the City of Champaign's exercise in regulating mobile food trucks has turned out to be much ado about nothing.
Only one food truck, Crave Truck, has signed up.
That may or may not be a sign of things to come. But here's a little advice for city officials eager to set all kinds of rules — locations and hours, etc. — for how the trucks operate. Go easy on the rules and let the market sort itself out.
Food trucks, like any other business, respond to the marketplace. If there is demand from customers for long hours, let them stay open as long as they have customers. If there is public demand for more than six locations, why limit the number?
City Attorney Fred Stavins has cited the need for this sort of thing — regulating food trucks — because in the 1990s "there were pizza guys in front of pizza places."
At the risk of being accused of heresy by the all-regulation-is-good crowd, what's wrong with that?
People buy the pizza that is the best combination of cost, taste and convenience in the surrounding that best suits their needs of the moment.
It's understandable that a restaurant owner might not appreciate the competition from a food truck operator. But let the public, not the bureaucracy, decide.