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Are Food Trucks Really Good for Roswell?

My perspective… a continuation of anti-business by the same cronies.

Food Trucks are gaining an increased presence in Roswell with advocacy and support of local government and local business associations. The very groups that should be advocating and looking out for local businesses appear to be caught up in the wave of what is trendy and cool versus what is wise and practical. This is disappointing.

Food Trucks are undoubtedly popular and a chíc dining choices across the nation. From coast-to-coast the food truck evolution is taking root; it is featured in competitions and shows on television. Years ago, long before the novelty of high end cuisine from a truck came about, food trucks provided inexpensive chow to blue collar workers that could not get out to restaurants during scheduled lunch breaks. These are not your grandpa’s food trucks.

As white-collar suburban families race to Don White Park and Founders Park where these mobile dining boxes set up, overlooked is the slap to the face of local business owners.

In March 2012 Roswell’s municipal leaders signed into code an ordinance that allows for mobile food vendors in the City. Roswell’s ordinance provides for an applicant to pay an annual $150 fee (and meet minimum requirements that any similar business owner would meet) for the privilege of being a mobile food operator. That is it, that is all… $150. Did you know when it is a “City Sponsored Event” such as Alive After 5 this license requirement and fee are waived? Zero investment in our community. 

Consider local business owners’ perspectives.

Having personally developed, constructed and operated both businesses and organizations in the City of Roswell, my firsthand experiences demonstrate $150 does not begin to scratch the surface of financial burdens placed on local residents being entrepreneurial in the local community. Where is consideration for local, brick and mortar businesses that employ residents, support the local tax base, fuel a neighborhood economy and support the charitable needs of this community?

The ridiculousness of the food trucks minimal license fee goes beyond its impact on local restaurants though, without question, these are our neighbor proprietors most severely impacted. Want to add patio seating at your local eatery? Need to upgrade electrical or plumbing to accommodate your guests? Do you need a simple sandwich board sign? It is these simple necessities that our local businesses face daily. Ask anyone that has done it. The hurdles, the over-reaching requirements and fees make doing business in Roswell a challenge at best. $150 will not get you anywhere.

Until the City gets serious about pro-development behavior towards local business owners, there is a way we, local residents, can make a difference.

Several years ago when our nation fell into its “economic crisis”, a company I owned began a consulting initiative to local business owners known as Keep It Local. Our plan was part collaborative marketing, part education and part community philanthropy. Our success in North America opened doors where the Keep It Local program grew to impact local businesses in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Colombia and Peru. Would that program help Roswell businesses today? Absolutely.

Nevertheless, with or without a formal program in place, the key for success is advocacy and commitment by local folks like you and I. I’m not urging you to make a plea to local government or walk in a protest march. (History shows government wouldn’t listen anyhow.) The only thing we need of government is LESS.

Vote with your wallet Roswell! This is step one. It has been proven time and again that just because something is trendy and popular, it isn’t necessarily good for you. Instead of heading to Don White Park this weekend, visit one of Roswell’s locally owned and operated restaurants. Let’s make a conscious effort to support the local folks that we call neighbors and that make our community a better place.

Vote in November! This November Roswell’s mayor and several council seats are up for election. Let’s hold our elected officials accountable. Let’s ask tough questions and let’s elect candidates with a proven platform of pro-Roswell, pro-Local Business. Let’s walk away from rhetoric and look to action.

Keep it local Roswell! It begins with you. Make an impact!

Jason Boles, Roswell Resident and Business Owner

 

“The “Roswell River Food Truck Weekends” are sponsored by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Food Movement, an Atlanta food truck company.”

-ajc.com, July 1

 

Other links for reference:

http://www.ajc.com/news/business/food-trucks-coming-to-roswell-park/nYbJK/

 

http://roswell.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/food-truck-weekends-comes-to-roswell

 

https://www.facebook.com/RoswellRiverFoodTruckWeekends

 

http://www.roswellgov.com/documentcenter/view/2492

Scummy Al K July 30, 2013 at 12:15 PM
George, will say in all fairness, "the Indian" food truck isn't among the best and the Riverside event does not include the blue ribbon trucks. For a good breakdown of the pros and cons of the the local events, check out http://285foodies.com/forum/metro-atlanta/food-trucks-carts-and-stands-street-food/105/ It's a breakdown of which trucks put out quality food and service much like a certain Canton Street restaurant was slated to do.
Some dude who lives in Roswell July 31, 2013 at 10:05 AM
"It's a breakdown of which trucks put out quality food and service much like a certain Canton Street restaurant was SLATED to do." Oh man. Shots fired!
Morris Devereaux August 20, 2013 at 08:54 AM
As just a resident without ANY ties to any particular restaurant, I just want to throw in my two cents about this .... debate. On one hand, I'm a firm believer in competition. If our B&M restaurants choose not to provide convenient food at the parks (and they never have), then they have no grounds to complain when someone else fills the niche they have ignored for years. BUT, on the other hand, there is absolutely no reason our B&M restaurants should have to endure more regulation and governmental paperwork than food trucks do. Both are food providers and should have identical requirements. Charging food trucks $150 and our B&M Restaurants hundreds more plus a great deal more regulation does nothing more than drive off B&M businesses. That's all I have. Let the fight continue again without interruption!
Scummy Al K July 08, 2014 at 08:28 PM
B&M restaurants are finally realizing if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That is the newest craze. Maybe the author of the article can tell his client to be ahead of the curve.

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