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Food Trucks in Jax: DVI Board Votes No

With Jax Truckies Food Truck Championship taking place this weekend, Downtown Vision's Board of Directors votes to further restrict this burgeoning small business sector from being a part of our downtown revitalization process. With our public agencies continuing to take a sledgehammer to a fly and prohibiting a revitalization movement in the process, Jax Truckies organizer Mike Field expresses his views towards this industry and where it stands in Jacksonville.

Published March 30, 2012 in Urban Issues      116 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


feature

We currently sit on the precipice of a burgeoning entrepreneurial-driven industry. The question we now face is will we take that next leap? Will Jacksonville allow an environment that is less hostile towards mobile food trucks?
Food trucks represent the type of innovation our community needs to rise above the Great Recession. Food trucks have shown us how business owners can adapt to changing times. Will our laws now change with them? In my opinion our economy and our downtown need them.

Our city needs more jobs. It's no secret that small businesses must lead the way for an economic recovery to take place.  Small business accounts for roughly half of U.S. labor markets employment. Furthermore, small businesses typically fill niches in the labor market that are underserved and traditionally have high rates of unemployment.
Many food truck operators are disenfranchised former employees who have been laid off due to the crushing economic forces of the Great Recession. Food trucks offer an affordable way to open a small business. More so, they have proven to be incubators for larger expansions of small businesses. In the restaurant industry, nearly half of new businesses will fail. Food trucks offer less risk than a traditional restaurant as the start-up and operating costs are much less than traditional brick-and-mortar locations. There is still inherent risk —just ask a food truck operator how a week of inclement weather will affect their bottom line. However, the risk of opening these types of businesses is mitigated by the cost structure and flexibility of scheduling. I grew up in a family that was in the restaurant industry and spent many long hours working in kitchens. I’ll never forget being told by former partners that the food industry is somewhere that ‘takes money in order to make money’. That kind of advice is daunting to a would-be entrepreneur.


Riverside's Pele's is an example of a brick & mortar business that started as a mobile vendor.

Shouldn't we encourage a level playing field in which someone can open an affordable business and stake out their own pursuit of the American dream? These would-be entrepreneurs deserve an opportunity to forge their own economic destiny. These economic engines don’t require large public subsidies to expand. They don’t even require taxpayer-guaranteed loans. The city simply needs to get out of the way and let these creative and innovative entrepreneurs do what they do best.

Downtown Jacksonville is currently underserved. This will be especially true with the addition of Everbank employees downtown and the opening of the new courthouse. Food trucks can provide temporary uses for the multiple empty lots that currently litter our downtown landscape. Whereas an empty lot is unwelcoming, food trucks stimulate pedestrian activity by activating unused spaces. By improving walkability, you make downtown more desirable both as a residential neighborhood and a place where more companies will want to do business.

In a recent study, 58% of business owners in downtown Portland found food vendors increase foot traffic. More foot traffic adds to the vibrancy of nearby retail stores. It’s no surprise then that big box retailers across the country host food truck events in their parking lots. These enterprising stores have figured out that sales increase commensurate with the increase in foot traffic these mobile vendors bring.


While unproven fears of harming brick and mortar restaurants has created a hostile public agency outlook towards this industry in Jacksonville, cities with downtowns that have achieved a level of vibrancy that we can only dream of locally designate locations for this industry in their cores.  As a result, more foot traffic is created, opening additional retail and dining opportunities where vacant buildings once stood.

Cities like Boston and Vancouver have designated locations and shifts in which food trucks can operate.  Licensing designated spots in Hemming Plaza and the open space in front of the new courthouse would not only provide needed revenue, but would also serve to make these public spaces destinations and not pass-throughs.

It will take leadership to modify rules to make this viable for Jacksonville. Strong leaders such as Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Atlanta City Councilpersons Kwanza Hall and Natalyn Archibons have recently led the charge in their own cities to adapt rules to allow for mobile food vendors to operate. Mayor Bob Buckhorn of Tampa even hosts a monthly food truck event downtown. Even a small city like Sanford, FL recently started to host a food truck bazaar. Are we that far behind Sanford?


While hundreds of foodies enjoy unique local dishes from some of our newest small businesses, Hemming Plaza will continue to sit empty as a redevelopment committee struggles to find solutions that will increase its usage.

City leaders need to see the benefits these pioneering entrepreneurs can contribute to our community.  This is why Jax Truckies was formed.  In a city that fashions itself as being business-friendly, why stifle the creativity of entrepreneurs?  By allowing a favorable environment for food trucks we can allow the kind of innovation that contributes to the sustainable fabric of our entrepreneurial economy. Maybe then we can begin to live up to our moniker: The Bold New City of the South.

Editorial by Mike Field







116 Comments

Anti redneck

March 30, 2012, 03:37:57 AM
Something needs to be done to keep those fools from killing downtown off.

Noone

March 30, 2012, 04:52:57 AM
2010-856 The transient vendor ban. Go get'm Mike.

The Public Trust just totally crushed in this community.

DVI along with councilman Redman are missing this opportunity.

Imagine, even for a second a rotation of Food Tucks on our Historic Promised 680' Downtown Public Pier.
    "      ,    "     "   "     "      "     "        "   "       "       "    "   Bay St. Pier Park.
    "      ,    "     "   "     "      "     "        "   "       "       "    "   Jacksonville Tradeport Pier.
This is Shipyards III. Shipyards/Landmar 2010-604, 2011-560

This is an epoch opportunity to reclaim Public Access and Economic Opportunity to our St. Johns River our American Heritage River a FEDERAL Initiative.  We are a joke.

Today is the last day for FIND project submissions for this cycle. 4 years later and I still don't have a sponsor for a Pocket/Park  Pocket/Pier that I can take to the commissioners of FIND. Again, We are a joke.
Does anyone have a clue as to what the 4 FIND projects are for this cycle?
Redman is the chair of Waterways.

Visit Jacksonville
        or
Don't Visit Jacksonville

I am Downtown and why you aren't.

Public/Private/Partnership

Mike, See you on Private land at a Private event in 31 hours. 

     

TheProfessor

March 30, 2012, 06:58:12 AM
It's like an instant start-up business without all of the overhead costs.  If a brick and mortar shop can't compete, then maybe they shouldn't be open.  Let the power of the free market take its course.

blandman

March 30, 2012, 07:02:09 AM
Bummer!  Seems pretty short-sighted.  While in grad school in Philly I frequented food trucks most days.  There were more than 30 just on UPenn's campus, alone!  This is a website started by students devoted to collecting menus, and reviewing the food:  http://www.pennfoodtrucks.com/  Some of the trucks were excellent and had very long lines.  Others not so much...isn't that how it should be?  The presence of the food trucks didn't stop the line at Chipotle from spilling onto the sidewalk at lunch, nor (Bobby Flay's) Burger Palace, nor any of the other well-run, tasty, brick & mortar restaurants on or near campus.  Center City and Old City and the other neighborhoods in the city had just as many food trucks...allowing them seems like a gauranteed way to increase foot traffic.

simms3

March 30, 2012, 07:15:54 AM
^^^Yes, that is how it is here, too.  Certain chef-driven lunch spots and Chipotle will still have incredible lines and waits, but food trucks do some major business.  Every business district has designated spots for them, and sometimes they come on designated days.  I just ate at an Asian-Taco fusion restaurant 2 nights ago in Midtown owned/run by one of the most popular food truck operators in Decatur.  One of the developments I work on in Chattanooga has a mercantile with local food court operators, and one is SOuthern Burger which is at the moment one of the most popular food trucks in Chattanooga as well as a permanent "food court" tenant in Warehouse Row.

Food trucks are almost passe at this point.  I was going to food trucks lined up in bar districts in 2006 and according to the Food Network they are already a slowing/diminishing trend in LA (not sure what the "new" trend is there, but LA is always a few years ahead of everywhere else).  Jax is soooo far behind it's hard to even think about.

It's not like food trucks are the end all be all, and they are pretty standard/old news by now, but seriously the fact that the city won't even allow them to convene on a designated day in a designated space within downtown goes to show how backward Jacksonville is.  These little decisions are why that city is sinking fast.  Evacuate now while you have a chance!

copperfiend

March 30, 2012, 07:21:18 AM
Less competition the better, right???

thelakelander

March 30, 2012, 07:22:38 AM
Portland, Tampa, Philly, Los Angeles, etc. have all successfully incorporated locations into their cores for food truck courts that have generated additional foot traffic to the benefit of the entire environment.  At the very least, it would make sense to truly study and evaluate the pros and cons of their incorporation before abruptly making a decision clearly based on something that can be proven as untrue with a simple google search or day trip to downtown Tampa.

Unfortunately, this is so predictable its pretty easy to see where things will go before we flush tons of public money down the drain once again, giving those against downtown more momentum to turn the spigot completely off.  Cities are organic and innovation and creativity can't be shut down by the fear of a few.  The stuff being shut out will eventually adapt and grow in another section of town.  From the line of ethnic restaurants and businesses lining Baymeadows and the reemergence of Park & King, to the artist and breweries clustering around the intersection of Park & King, real life examples are already there.  All of these places have benefitted at the expense of being shut out of downtown.  So while we move chairs around Hemming, only to see people still not show up regularly, what will be the next district to boom?  Will it be Edgewood Avenue on Murray Hill, Hendricks/San Marco Boulevard in San Marco, Main Street in Springfield, St. Nicholas Town Center, Riverside's King Street, etc?  Which district is about to hit a market rate home run first is the only unpredictable thing I see out there.

Nevertheless, I do wonder how will we create a vibrant creative class environment when the people and businesses that are needed to build these places are continuously closed out from truly participating in them.

simms3

March 30, 2012, 07:22:59 AM
And if brick and mortar restaurants are the concern, wtf.  There are like 2-3 chefs in Jax that even have name recognition outside of Jax and the city is no foodie paradise.  It is already a place with restaurants who could simultaneously operate mobile vendors - Mossfire, the Sheik, Lubi's, etc.  These guys don't want to take the risk of opening a permanent location in downtown because it ISN'T a place for brick and mortar restaurants, but I'm sure they'll risk a food truck??

What beside La Cena are the brick and mortar restaurants downtown?  There are none - Quizno's?  Subway?  Some standard office delis?  Chew is already closing and Olio is the only decent fare place left.  I mean come on.  The fact that DVI/leaders actually fear a hurting to brick and mortar businesses goes to show they have no self-realization.  There aren't restaurants downtown just like there aren't people downtown.  How many stupid people are in Jacksonville?  Apparently too many.

ben says

March 30, 2012, 07:29:24 AM
This. Is. Retarded.

TPC

March 30, 2012, 08:31:23 AM
Sad news. It seems like Jacksonville can't even take one step forward, but we are always taking two steps back.

jcjohnpaint

March 30, 2012, 08:34:35 AM
Well the DVI is made up of downtown business leaders?  Are they putting their interests first in this vote? 

wsansewjs

March 30, 2012, 09:18:58 AM
I call for MetroJacksonville to create their own mobile truck and sell strictly bottled water (This still qualify for food industry regulation, etc.) We can have MetroJacksonville drive around and BREAK the laws, and continue to break the laws to boycott and protest against the city.

Who's in with me!?

-Josh

fieldafm

March 30, 2012, 09:28:03 AM
Well the DVI is made up of downtown business leaders?  Are they putting their interests first in this vote?

That type of trepidation and ignorant fear is unfounded. 
One only has to look to our closest metropolitan area neighbor: Orlando

Fashion Square Mall and Oviedo Mall both now routinely host food truck bazaars.  Both of these malls have vibrant food courts.  However, they have figured out that increased foot traffic from food trucks has led to increased overall sales in the mall on the days of their events.






Oviedo's mayor, Dominic Persampiere, actually promotes the event at Oviedo Mall.


In Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn promotes a montly food truck festival downtown:



So the question you have to ask yourself is... instead of studying the issue to find ways to mutually benefit from increased foot traffic as our peer cities our doing, why should we close the drawbridge and continue to fight?  Hasn't Fort Downtown suffered enough from this walled-off mentality?  Maybe the time to open the gates and let the other townspeople in has finally come?

If opinions are measured by money flowing out of downtown restaurants at lunch and dinner time and into surrounding in-town neighborhoods like San Marco and Riverside, then my opinion is that making downtown more hostile towards potential customers isn't the way to go.

comncense

March 30, 2012, 09:40:32 AM
Really after 5pm, who's business are you hurting? Burrito Gallery will still have it's loyal customers as well as Indochine. Those are about the only options of places to eat downtown after the work day. Not sure who came up with the 11pm hour.

mtraininjax

March 30, 2012, 10:17:20 AM
I have to believe the DVI Board's decision was based on money. Terry Lorince is a smart person and she wants what is best for downtown, but if you drive a food truck and you show up from 10-2 and take business away from the people paying into the DVI fund, she's going to protect her own, and rightly so. I think the DVI fund should make the license for the food truck to operate downtown 1.5x the amount as brick and mortar, because the truck can move from place to place depending on need and events, brick and mortar has fewer options.

Here are the directors:

http://downtownjacksonville.org/DowntownVisionInc/BoardofDirectors.aspx

Quote
Will it be Edgewood Avenue on Murray Hill, Hendricks/San Marco Boulevard in San Marco, Main Street in Springfield, St. Nicholas Town Center, Riverside's King Street, etc?

My vote is Riverside's King Street, with the addition of new places, and what Steve and Scott have done at one end, and with the addition of new restaurants at the other end (hurry up and show us the new Jackson's), I think this area is primed for a real takeoff. Soon, the bloomers store on the corner will be forced out, and Park and King will turn into an area like St. Johns and Ingleside in Avondale. I love it!

avs

March 30, 2012, 10:20:31 AM
Business people that still want to have business lunches will still frequent the brick and mortar.  They need a sit down.  But it gives people just needing a quick bite some great options.  This city is so backwards and really truly lacks leadership by the elected officials.  They are behind on so many things. Its the same with urban ag.  This city's fear of progress keeps it in the shadows of great successful cities

thelakelander

March 30, 2012, 10:50:15 AM
I have to believe the DVI Board's decision was based on money. Terry Lorince is a smart person and she wants what is best for downtown, but if you drive a food truck and you show up from 10-2 and take business away from the people paying into the DVI fund, she's going to protect her own, and rightly so.

Can this be proven?  The experience in peer communities suggest otherwise.  Like a mall, the clustering of complementing uses tends to attract more clientele for every one. 

mtraininjax

March 30, 2012, 10:56:39 AM
Quote
Can this be proven?

Ask Ron Chamblin for sure. He is a board member with DVI, ask him what the issues were and the real facts. I think that Terry presented a case to protect those who are paying into the fund. I really doubt that there would be an issue, in government, so long as the Food Truck Vendors were paying into the fund. Its a lot like the Hot Dog Vendors, they have to buy a license to operate too. I know this could work, but normally it comes down to money as an issue, and not once has anyone else mentioned money in their reports.

wordofmouse

March 30, 2012, 11:21:26 AM
 This group has no business making legislative laws.
NON Elected self serving group.......this is a glorified home owners association.
Start the legal defense fund and take them to court.

 DVI is a not-for-profit 501(c)6 organization whose mission is to build and maintain a healthy and vibrant Downtown community and to promote Downtown as an exciting place to live, work, play, and visit.

Downtown Vision, Inc. was formed in 2000 at the request of Downtown property owners to provide enhanced services within the Downtown Improvement District.

fieldafm

March 30, 2012, 11:25:35 AM
Quote
I know this could work, but normally it comes down to money as an issue, and not once has anyone else mentioned money in their reports.

I have presented several case studies of other municipalities successfully establishing pod/vending locations and vending time slots.

It doesn't take much effort to see how this is implemented to the mutual benefit of all in other peer cities. 

stephendare

March 30, 2012, 12:53:38 PM
http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content/topstories/story/Push-to-bring-food-trucks-to-town/xg1Egv0yH0Oei8ZaXTs0WQ.cspx

It's awesome that they totally failed to mention either metrojacksonville or the Facebook page, lol!

But for real it's also awesome to see another media source support the cause!

fieldafm

March 30, 2012, 01:04:26 PM
I would encourage you to write your clear-headed and detailed thoughts on the matter to the Mayor's office, your city councilperson and at-large city council members.

They need to hear your thoughts. 

thelakelander

March 30, 2012, 01:12:14 PM


fieldafm

March 30, 2012, 01:16:45 PM
Ennis and I were fortunate enough to be invited on Melissa Ross' First Coast Connect radio show yesterday.

Melissa has advocated on the issue before as well:
http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2012-02-21/story/melissa-ross-food-trucks-would-add-citys-vibrancy

Clearly, the public wants open dialogue and discourse on the matter.

It's time to make your voice heard.

urbanlibertarian

March 30, 2012, 01:21:54 PM
I don't believe the DVI vote has the force of law but is a position taken by it's board.  What we should fear is the Transient Vendor bill working it's way through City Council.  Unfortunately crony capitalism is thriving at every level of government.  Outright bans and onerous licensing requirements are ways that government shields existing businesses from free market competition and takes choices away from consumers.  I can't wait to hear how this is for our own good or how it protects children. :)

fieldafm

March 30, 2012, 01:32:07 PM
The previous transient vendor legislation never went anywhere.

What the city needs now is a specific plan of action to accomodate market-driven mom and pop businesses to help bring pedestrian vibrancy to our downtown.

I would encourage you to let City Council and the Mayor's Office (DVI does not make policy) know of your support of such measures. 

Noone

March 30, 2012, 02:38:09 PM
Fort Downtown

Fort Downtown-Thats funny!

urbaknight

March 30, 2012, 02:46:51 PM
I hope their talk about revitalizing DT wasn't just another bait n switch tactic to get our votes.

John P

March 30, 2012, 03:08:42 PM
Of course Dvi isnt going to approve bunches of food trucks to compete with exiting businesses. Would the San marco merchants association, 5 points business association, Park & king business association, or the St. Johns town center? Hell no they would not. Every dollar I spend at a food truck isnt spent at Zodiac grill or Chicago pizza or what ever. Parking issues are have been documented on Metrojacksonville so I dont see anyone driving in from Riverside, San marco, or Beach blvd to eat at food truck either. What am I missing?

WmNussbaum

March 30, 2012, 03:10:01 PM
Where exactly would food trucks park during normal business hours? Our downtown streets aren't exactly wide enough to accommodate many such trucks during the day without creating a good bit of congestion.  Those trucks won't want to be downtown after the work day because as things are now there are no potential customers then.

If you're going to get downtown going, permanent businesses are needed - restaurants, for instance, and what restaurants are going to be attracted to open if they have to compete with vendors with a much lesser overhead? And maybe just a few feet away? I assume each truck must have a food service permit and be subject to Health Dept. inspections, but I suspect they only have to have one business license. A business that has two brick and mortar locations must have a license for each location. Could food trucks be required to have a license for each location they use?

I looked up the directors of DVI and a great number are not with businesses that would compete with food trucks, and a good number aren't even in any sort of retail sales activity. 


WmNussbaum

March 30, 2012, 03:14:50 PM
Maybe the City could devote some Hemming Plaza space for a couple of trucks and assign them on a rotating basis. That would get the trucks off the street and make Hemming attractive to a more desirable element.

stephendare

March 30, 2012, 03:20:56 PM
Of course Dvi isnt going to approve bunches of food trucks to compete with exiting businesses. Would the San marco merchants association, 5 points business association, Park & king business association, or the St. Johns town center? Hell no they would not. Every dollar I spend at a food truck isnt spent at Zodiac grill or Chicago pizza or what ever. Parking issues are have been documented on Metrojacksonville so I dont see anyone driving in from Riverside, San marco, or Beach blvd to eat at food truck either. What am I missing?
A

JohnP,the food trucks are also existing businesses.  The real complaint about the trucks downtown from the restaurants is the fact that JEDC has a special tax on downtown cafes.  If they want to serve food on the sidewalk, they have to pay JEDC 150 dollars a year for the pleasure, not to mention that they also have to pay a special tax to DVI that no one else in the city has to pay.

Typically, instead of repealing the fee for the "cafe license" in order to give a level playing field, they started working against the transient vendors and food truckss.

And merchants associations do this all the time,John .  When San Marco closes off the street for arts festivals, do you think that there aren't already galleries and decor shops in San Marco square?

tpot

March 30, 2012, 03:56:20 PM
I'm so glad I left this backwards town years ago........this place seems to take steps back instead of forward......

John P

March 30, 2012, 04:00:15 PM
Stephen. No they dont do it all the time. Ive been part of business asscoiations and they do it on special occasions like you described in San marco. Dvi also approved it for special occasions, late nights and a 1x month food truck event. Listen im all for food truck events like at Bold city brewery where its not hurting existing businesses but if your competeing with traditional restauarnts in the same area in a WEAK market then thats not positive. Your arrgument ONLY works if the food trucks bring in bunches of people to downtown who would not have come.

mtraininjax

March 30, 2012, 04:04:11 PM
Quote
The real complaint about the trucks downtown from the restaurants is the fact that JEDC has a special tax on downtown cafes.  If they want to serve food on the sidewalk, they have to pay JEDC 150 dollars a year for the pleasure, not to mention that they also have to pay a special tax to DVI that no one else in the city has to pay.

Excellent stuff Stephen, like I said earlier, follow the money. Its really all about money, you pay your license, you get to play in the downtown area like anyone else.

What someone from MetroJax should do is go to as many of the food trucks, this weekend, and then work to represent them and their wishes to the DVI board to get the issue resolved. I sense these truck vendors need some organization or someone to be their voice. Any takers out here?

blandman

March 30, 2012, 04:05:00 PM
Where exactly would food trucks park during normal business hours? Our downtown streets aren't exactly wide enough to accommodate many such trucks during the day without creating a good bit of congestion.  Those trucks won't want to be downtown after the work day because as things are now there are no potential customers then.

If you're going to get downtown going, permanent businesses are needed - restaurants, for instance, and what restaurants are going to be attracted to open if they have to compete with vendors with a much lesser overhead? And maybe just a few feet away?

DT streets are plenty wide enough. I'd bet they're as wide or wider than most cities that have them.  Philly's are narrower and much more congested.  And who says a food truck can't be a permanent business?  The cafe on the corner (hypothetical) is only open from 8am-5pm.  What do I care if it flies away or sinks into the ground when I'm not a patron?  If the same food truck is parked on the corner every Mon-Fri, it's permanent to me.  And what restaurant doesn't want competition?  Why are there no Starbucks downtown?  Would you rather open a sandwhich shop next to a very popular burrito stand/fruit truck/caribbean jerk chicken shack or next to an empty surface lot/row of empty store fronts?  Doesn't make sense to me.

stephendare

March 30, 2012, 04:09:20 PM
Stephen. No they dont do it all the time. Ive been part of business asscoiations and they do it on special occasions like you described in San marco. Dvi also approved it for special occasions, late nights and a 1x month food truck event. Listen im all for food truck events like at Bold city brewery where its not hurting existing businesses but if your competeing with traditional restauarnts in the same area in a WEAK market then thats not positive. Your arrgument ONLY works if the food trucks bring in bunches of people to downtown who would not have come.

Well john, you can't have it both ways.  Either merchants associations do these things or they don't.  Pretty simple I think.

Food trucks bring foot traffic.  Empty buildings and streets do not.

simms3

March 30, 2012, 04:51:16 PM
So this is all over a $150 fee?  That's nominal.  The food trucks should just suck it up and pay, but I can't possibly be led to believe that all 8 food trucks refuse to pay a $150 licensing fee to serve food on sidewalks.

Arguably shopping centers have the most tricky merchants' parameters when anchors are involved, and yet shopping center owners have found ways to amendably come to terms with the anchor(s) and the small shops in terms of arranging mobile vendor events.

And regarding space - in an urban design class I took in college we examined American downtowns one day, and Jacksonville had the highest percentage of surface parking lots and vacant lots of any major city downtown.  There is plenty o' land to put these things.  Just go to Google Maps, close your eyes, and point to the screen - that's one place they could go.

I know in my neighborhood there are two designated areas they go - one is a parking lot directly owned by a performing arts center.  The other is a surface lot owned by Daniel, which is currently putting up its fourth tower in the same development and will be filled with more restaurants.  Within one block of that lot which Daniel owns are 6 restaurants on the ground floor of other DANIEL owned buildings - STK Steak, Cucina Asellina, Piola, Ra, Ri Ra, and soon to be Cafe Intermezzo.  Not to mention all of the other restaurants in buildings not owned by Daniel, but owned by members of the Midtown Alliance.  The arrangement was made successfully and I don't remember much of a backlash (though there was discussion years ago).

There is no reason Jacksonville can't do this.  Perhaps DVI restaurants and landlords are already feeling the pinch from the general lack of office workers and residents downtown, and so they feel there really is not room for both mobile vendors and permanent restaurants.  In that case, the deeper issue needs to be addressed and soon.

John P

March 30, 2012, 04:57:11 PM
Perhaps DVI restaurants and landlords are already feeling the pinch from the general lack of office workers and residents downtown, and so they feel there really is not room for both mobile vendors and permanent restaurants.  In that case, the deeper issue needs to be addressed and soon.

Ya think? Careful with that kind of talk  simms3 or youll be labled a fool by the clearly superior ones.

Tacachale

March 30, 2012, 05:11:46 PM
^No, the issue is that the bricks-and-mortar places have to pay a $150 fee to have sidewalk seating, plus pay the DVI self-tax. I think the point is that they don't like the idea that a food truck could come in and not have to pay.

Seems like an easy solution would be to just find reasonable rules that bind, or don't bind, everyone.

stephendare

March 30, 2012, 05:22:18 PM
^No, the issue is that the bricks-and-mortar places have to pay a $150 fee to have sidewalk seating, plus pay the DVI self-tax. I think the point is that they don't like the idea that a food truck could come in and not have to pay.

Seems like an easy solution would be to just find reasonable rules that bind, or don't bind, everyone.

Exactly.  Sorry for not being more clear, simmsy.

simms3

March 30, 2012, 05:59:47 PM
I'll see if I can find the arrangement details up here, but since the food trucks commonly park on a major developer's private lot, I wonder if what they pay is a pass-through to the developer or paid directly to the Alliance.  I do know the developer, though not from the city, holds a lot of sway in Midtown Alliance due to their local neighborhood investments worth well over a billion dollars in the past decade alone.  This lot also serves as valet parking for STK, a NYC-based restaurant on the ground floor of the office tower component, just to show the dynamic here.

One thing that must be noted is that in the case of food trucks on this particular lot, they are "competing" with restaurants who do volumes similar or maybe even higher in scope than the restaurants at SJTC, but these restaurants are also paying rents that are the among the highest in the south (well, outside of South Beach - they are paying higher retail/restaurant rents than you would find in Brickell for instance).  It's still difficult to get retailers into Midtown, but restaurants do so well they can afford the high land costs and pay rents anywhere from $35 to $65 depending on the site, parking and foot traffic.

The dynamic is different in terms of "competition" between businesses here, but the way the deal is structured to actually have the food trucks might be something Jacksonville can cue from.  Are there any local developers just sitting on empty land waiting to eventually be developed?  Who for instance owns all of the vacant lots?  It won't be the office tower landlords, but maybe the Atkins guy owns something?

WmNussbaum

March 30, 2012, 06:34:09 PM
Quote
DT streets are plenty wide enough.

That's hogwash unless you eliminate metered parking places, loading zones, other no parking zones, etc. Bay Street and Broad Street may be more than two traffic lanes wide, but I can't think of another one in the core area where most of the workers are. Not Forsyth, Adams, Monroe, Duval, Julia, Hogan (barely two lanes), or Laura.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

March 30, 2012, 08:38:21 PM
This whole - nowhere to put them - is the weakest excuse I've ever heard.

Anti redneck

March 30, 2012, 09:27:55 PM
I call for MetroJacksonville to create their own mobile truck and sell strictly bottled water (This still qualify for food industry regulation, etc.) We can have MetroJacksonville drive around and BREAK the laws, and continue to break the laws to boycott and protest against the city.

Who's in with me!?

-Josh

I'll support it! I'm sick of these bigots doing everything they can to keep from Jacksonville thriving. It's almost like they hate things that make a city look alive, or hate Jacksonville for that matter!

WmNussbaum

March 31, 2012, 08:10:57 AM
I am not opposed to food trucks, but tell me where you would have them park - specifics, please - name of street and between what two intersecting streets.

Adam W

March 31, 2012, 08:19:00 AM
Quote
DT streets are plenty wide enough.

That's hogwash unless you eliminate metered parking places, loading zones, other no parking zones, etc. Bay Street and Broad Street may be more than two traffic lanes wide, but I can't think of another one in the core area where most of the workers are. Not Forsyth, Adams, Monroe, Duval, Julia, Hogan (barely two lanes), or Laura.

You wouldn't need to eliminate metered spaces - you could just allow them to park in those spaces without having to pay. Same thing with loading zones.

Where there's a will, there's a way. It should be the City of Jax that opposes it b/c of parking and logistics. That makes sense. And it should be up to the city to help figure out a way to make it work.

DVI should support it and use its clout with the city to help make it happen. Not oppose it outright because of reasons it has nothing to do with.

blandman

March 31, 2012, 08:44:36 AM
That's hogwash unless you eliminate metered parking places, loading zones, other no parking zones, etc. Bay Street and Broad Street may be more than two traffic lanes wide, but I can't think of another one in the core area where most of the workers are. Not Forsyth, Adams, Monroe, Duval, Julia, Hogan (barely two lanes), or Laura.

Forsyth, Adams, Monroe or Duval? All four streets have parking on both sides and two wide lanes of traffic!  Plenty of room...like someone said earlier, allow the trucks to park in the street parking spaces.  It seems crazy that a city that has next to nothing in the way of foot traffic, has nice wide downtown streets, and ample vacant & surface lots would need to be convinced of this.  Strange.

futurejax

March 31, 2012, 06:49:46 PM
Why do downtown cafes have to pay a $150 outdoor sidewalk seating fee anyway?  Do downtown leaders want people actually downtown or do they not?  These rules seem to be delusional and based on some idea from a dream that there are too many crowds and lots of chaos downtown so there needs to be more rules/fees/structure in order to maintain order and prevent over-crowding.  Same problem with their backwards parking policy.  Why not just build a gigantic wall with gated entry around the entire core charging people for the right to go where nobody wants to be.

Ernest Street

March 31, 2012, 07:33:11 PM
These decision makers are Insulated from actual life activities that most of us consider normal and urban. Downtown is dirty and icky for GOB club members and their wives.
 A little travel to some other place than North Carolina would do them wonders!
(Kinda reminds me of when GW was amazed at a grocery store Laser barcode scanner!) ::)

Garden guy

March 31, 2012, 08:12:55 PM
This is just one more example of good ole boys with their good ole conservative ideas and minds...welcome to jacksonville.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

April 01, 2012, 03:55:19 PM
I am not opposed to food trucks, but tell me where you would have them park - specifics, please - name of street and between what two intersecting streets.

The most obvious to me would be Monroe St. at Hogan in the dead zone between the Ed Ball and . or on the Sidewalk at Monroe & Laura at Hemming Park.

Pearl and Water St would also make sense.  There's a really busy bus hub and then CSX, 550 Water St & the IRS.

thelakelander

April 01, 2012, 04:37:51 PM
I stopped in Hemming Plaza earlier today to take some pictures.  This block of Duval, between Laura and Hogan, is one of several that would work.

Bill Hoff

April 01, 2012, 09:29:54 PM
I'm looking forward to the monthly food truck event Downtown. DVI's memo described how Tampa successfully established this event and I hope to see it Downtown soon.

Hemming Plaza would be perfect.

thelakelander

April 01, 2012, 09:42:35 PM
Did they actually say they were hosting one?  It be cool if they were.  It read to me that they would allow the hosting of a monthly event.  As of yesterday's event, none of the trucks there were aware that DVI would be hosting a monthly event.  Btw, another great potential designated location for trucks would be Adams or Pearl Streets in the vicinity of the new courthouse's green space.  The closest downtown restaurant is a three block walk away from the new courthouse's main entrance.



A similar public space in downtown Toronto.

Bill Hoff

April 01, 2012, 10:34:40 PM
Did they actually say they were hosting one?  It be cool if they were.  It read to me that they would allow the hosting of a monthly event.  As of yesterday's event, none of the trucks there were aware that DVI would be hosting a monthly event.  Btw, another great potential designated location for trucks would be Adams or Pearl Streets in the vicinity of the new courthouse's green space.  The closest downtown restaurant is a three block walk away from the new courthouse's main entrance.



This is what was stated in the memo:

2) We also believe a monthly event held Downtown during the week at lunchtime – similar
to Tampa’s Food Truck Fiesta – would encourage people to come into Downtown and build
excitement for our Downtown without significantly impacting existing businesses who have
committed to our Downtown’s growth and improvement.


Here's info on Tampa's Food Truck Fiesta:

http://www.facebook.com/MayorsFoodTruckFiesta

&

http://www.tampagov.net/dept_mayor/foodtruck.asp

&

http://www.tampagov.net/appl_tampa_announcements/ViewRelease.asp?ReleaseID=9007



stephendare

April 01, 2012, 10:39:11 PM
Did they actually say they were hosting one?  It be cool if they were.  It read to me that they would allow the hosting of a monthly event.  As of yesterday's event, none of the trucks there were aware that DVI would be hosting a monthly event.  Btw, another great potential designated location for trucks would be Adams or Pearl Streets in the vicinity of the new courthouse's green space.  The closest downtown restaurant is a three block walk away from the new courthouse's main entrance.



This is what was stated in the memo:

2) We also believe a monthly event held Downtown during the week at lunchtime – similar
to Tampa’s Food Truck Fiesta – would encourage people to come into Downtown and build
excitement for our Downtown without significantly impacting existing businesses who have
committed to our Downtown’s growth and improvement.


Here's info on Tampa's Food Truck Fiesta:

http://www.facebook.com/MayorsFoodTruckFiesta

&

http://www.tampagov.net/dept_mayor/foodtruck.asp

&

http://www.tampagov.net/appl_tampa_announcements/ViewRelease.asp?ReleaseID=9007

So in other words, No.  They are not planning on organizing one.

Bill, why are you shilling for DVI?

They don't need any help, and can speak for themselves.

thelakelander

April 01, 2012, 10:52:26 PM
We actually documented Tampa's event in the months leading up to the Jax Truckies event.  There's a Mayor Buckhorn quote in one of the articles about Jax Truckies from last week:

Quote
In the city of Tampa, the issue hasn't been the regulations as much as parking issues and raising awareness about food trucks.  In the little over a year that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office, he's ensured that the trucks there are properly equipped with all the appropriate fire and safety equipment and created a monthly food truck rally in Downtown Tampa.  Instead of taking business away from restaurants downtown, Buckhorn said the rallies have actually brought more business to them during the rallies.

"They've given our downtown a tremendous shot in the arm," said Buckhorn, who calls himself the mayor of food trucks.  He encouraged Jacksonville's leaders to support the trend. "The long-term impacts of reinvigorating your downtown far surpass the inconveniences of dealing with the codes," he said.

Did DVI's board actually consult with the City of Tampa or did they just read one of our older articles?  I ask because Buckhorn has been quoted as saying the trucks have improved the business of brick & mortar restaurants several times.  That goes against the reasons suggested by the DVI board for limiting food trucks in downtown (which goes against the Buckhorn quote above). 

Anyway, I hope I'm wrong in my questioning.  I would love to see DVI host monthly food truck rallies in Hemming Plaza and advocate in favor of eliminating a lot of the regulations placed upon the food truck industry in Jacksonville.  This would surely beat paying $30k a year for a Hemming Plaza seat shuffler.

fieldafm

April 02, 2012, 08:11:15 AM
Can't find the video... but Action News had a segment on Saturday night about the event.
If anyone has the link to the video, please post it here.  They covered the event and also did a segment with Driftwood BBQ Sat night.

http://www.actionnewsjax.com/mostpopular/story/Food-truck-vendors-hope-to-help-revitalize/w_W_MbtcVke6iQ3dq2N65Q.cspx


There were also a few clips Friday morning

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+6%3A25%3A30+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2410&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+6%3A25%3A31+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+7%3A13%3A57+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+7%3A32%3A41+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+7%3A32%3A41+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE


Kerry Speckman has a wrapup about her experience here:
http://www.thespecktator.com/2012/03/1097/

Pictures are up on the Facebook page
facebook.com/JaxTruckies

Visit Jacksonville had info about the event on their social media feeds and on their website. 

First Coast News announced the event

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/article/249890/3/Jax-Truckies-Food-Truck-Championship-Saturday

Jacksonville.com had a previous article about the event

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/423471/gary-mills/2012-03-06/jax-truckies-food-truck-championship-set-march-31

Coverage should be in Jacksonville Mag and Folio Weekly

If you are on Twitter you can hear what people are saying about the event here:

twitter.com/JaxTruckies

Roaming Hunger (a food truck website) had the even on their social media feeds

Here is the podcast for Melissa Ross' First Coast Connect show

http://www.wjct.org/mp3/fcc/fccmar2912.mp3

WmNussbaum

April 02, 2012, 08:30:28 AM
Stephen, I am not shilling for DVI. (A couple of weeks ago I went to one of its meetings for the first time.) But putting large food trucks along the most used streets in the core is not a great idea. If I were a local restaurateur and saw potential customer parking spots being take up by food trucks which didn't even have to feed the meters, I would think that the playing field just got tilted.

Putting one or two or more in Hemming Plaza would be a good idea. With luck, one might even find a space to sit and not have to try to eat handing up. A fee should be charged for the privilege. No one gets a free ride. If the trucks are not subject to health dept. inspections, they should be. If they don't have to have an occupational license, that should be changed. Put 'em somewhere that they don't compete with the brick and mortar restaurants (unless you want them to get run out of business). The new courthouse opens in a couple of months and EverBank will be moving into its new headquarters soon. There is a lot of surface space available nearby. The food trucks should be jostling for position to rent space in those lots what with all the new available business. 

More to the point, however, is why this is such a big issue. I work downtown and usually have lunch there. I never - NEVER - have to wait on a table, or get jostled along the sidewalks. Why? Glad you asked. Because there aren't that damn many people out on the street. Would food trucks change that? Possibly, at least short-term. So have someone show up at the next City Council meeting and speak out in favor of putting them in the Plaza and see what happens.

A brief digression: Someone criticized a $150.00 city fee for sidewalk seating. This is one of the attitudes that makes this city so poor. Why the charge? Because the city needs the money, and the sidewalks are city property. Our tax base is low and getting lower - especially in the downtown area. Where is the money to do things supposed to come from? I don't enjoy paying taxes any more than the next guy, but there ought to be a limit on being tightwads. (And speaking of that and DVI, I was interested to find out that the Ambassadors are paid for by DVI, not the City - but, admittedly, from taxes it collects - an extra millage imposed on downtown property owners. I do not object to the extra millage rate I pay - it's small enough.)





 

fieldafm

April 02, 2012, 08:43:35 AM
Quote
Putting one or two or more in Hemming Plaza would be a good idea. With luck, one might even find a space to sit and not have to try to eat handing up. A fee should be charged for the privilege. No one gets a free ride. If the trucks are not subject to health dept. inspections, they should be. If they don't have to have an occupational license, that should be changed. Put 'em somewhere that they don't compete with the brick and mortar restaurants (unless you want them to get run out of business). The new courthouse opens in a couple of months and EverBank will be moving into its new headquarters soon. There is a lot of surface space available nearby. The food trucks should be jostling for position to rent space in those lots what with all the new available business. 

They have licenses and pass routine inspections just like brick and morter businesses do.  In fact, the state came out and inspected all 7 trucks at our event Saturday(they all passed, one vendor who had a conflicting schedule recently got a clean plate award last week, that's now the SECOND food truck to get a clean plate award this year... pretty good odds considering there are less than 15 in the city).

No one is advocating a free ride.  We are advocating fixed locations (like every other city that successfully integrates food trucks downtown) with specific fees in order to stimulate pedestrian activity downtown. 

No one wants to put other businesses in the poor house.  You have to be seriously kidding yourself if you believe I am advocating for something like that.  You won't find a bigger supporter of our downtown businesses than myself.  And frankly, it isn't very convenient to support them being that they are so few and far between. 

BUT, it has been proven in countless other cities that food trucks can be a missing piece to the bigger puzzle.  They will bring people downtown.  They will stimulate pedestrian movement downtown.  Now we must find mutually beneficial solutions in order to move our downtown forward... and put aside petty differences.  We all want everyone to experience financial gain, but instead of fighting each other... why not work together?  For once ?!?

Non-RedNeck Westsider

April 02, 2012, 09:03:47 AM
Why is it that everyone wants to complicate the issue?

Food Trucks in Hemming.  When (not if) they set up shop, they will draw more people from the offices to try it out, if nothing more than the novelty.  Say 1,000 people try it out.  Out of that 1,000, 300 of them are the people that usually sit at their desk and eat microwaved lean cuisines because they only have 45 minutes or so to eat and can't justify spending $10 on lunch, but were coerced by a friend at work to try it out.   

Well, that's 300 people now walking past your (brick & mortar) menu board on the way to Hemming, the same one's that are normally at their desk, that say - oh, I didn't know they had that, or - that looks delicious, maybe we need to come by here next week.

Not only are the food trucks NOT going to take away your regular business, they will more than likely INCREASE your exposure, which would lead to MORE business.  Think of it as free advertising.

It's the same reason the businesses downtown get the shaft before and after Jags games.  That's potentially 60k people that are being shuttled just outside of your door that don't have an opportunity to stop in.  IF they (JSO) didn't manage the flow of traffic so well, it would give people a reason to park further away and walk or shuttle and even stop in, grab a few more drinks (probably unneeded after the game) or browse your gallery for a bit, while the traffic dies down.

ben says

April 02, 2012, 09:48:51 AM
Why is it that everyone wants to complicate the issue?

Food Trucks in Hemming.  When (not if) they set up shop, they will draw more people from the offices to try it out, if nothing more than the novelty.  Say 1,000 people try it out.  Out of that 1,000, 300 of them are the people that usually sit at their desk and eat microwaved lean cuisines because they only have 45 minutes or so to eat and can't justify spending $10 on lunch, but were coerced by a friend at work to try it out.   

Well, that's 300 people now walking past your (brick & mortar) menu board on the way to Hemming, the same one's that are normally at their desk, that say - oh, I didn't know they had that, or - that looks delicious, maybe we need to come by here next week.

Not only are the food trucks NOT going to take away your regular business, they will more than likely INCREASE your exposure, which would lead to MORE business.  Think of it as free advertising.

It's the same reason the businesses downtown get the shaft before and after Jags games.  That's potentially 60k people that are being shuttled just outside of your door that don't have an opportunity to stop in.  IF they (JSO) didn't manage the flow of traffic so well, it would give people a reason to park further away and walk or shuttle and even stop in, grab a few more drinks (probably unneeded after the game) or browse your gallery for a bit, while the traffic dies down.

Couldn't have put it better myself.

fsujax

April 02, 2012, 09:58:33 AM
you know, locating them at Hemming is a great idea. Close to a Skyway station. Think of all the southbank employees who never venture to the northbank. They just might leave their side of the river for something like this. More people on the Skyway, more feet on the sidewalks, a win for everyone. It seems so logical.

Bativac

April 02, 2012, 10:31:05 AM
you know, locating them at Hemming is a great idea. Close to a Skyway station. Think of all the southbank employees who never venture to the northbank. They just might leave their side of the river for something like this. More people on the Skyway, more feet on the sidewalks, a win for everyone. It seems so logical.

I agree with this 100%.

I had a friend who worked on the Southbank. I used to visit for lunch and we'd frequently end up at the Landing mall-style food court (us and maybe a couple dozen other people). But if there were food trucks at Hemming Plaza, we would gladly have taken the Skyway over there.

(As an aside, that friend, a lifelong Jax resident, left town a couple years ago for Greenville, SC, citing among other reasons, a "much nicer" downtown!)

mtraininjax

April 02, 2012, 12:47:44 PM
If the DVI gets paid on this, by the trucks, with a new licensing fee, I believe we will see them downtown. Again, its a money issue with brick and mortar paying into the fund and so should the trucks. Pay the man get your license.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

April 02, 2012, 01:00:50 PM
If the DVI gets paid on this, by the trucks, with a new licensing fee, I believe we will see them downtown. Again, its a money issue with brick and mortar paying into the fund and so should the trucks. Pay the man get your license.

We agree on something, somewhat.  If they (the trucks) want to operate individually, they should most definitely pay into the 'sidewalk seating' fund at a rate greater than the normal restaurants. 

I also think that it would be more of a benefit for everyone if it were held weekly in a bazaar type fashion - at least until the word is spread.  With a certain day of the week set aside for a certain area downtown - with all the extra permitting fees waived, until the concept is solid enough for these guys to go out on their own. 

I guess I'm saying that I wouldn't want to just roll my truck up to Hemming and expect sales, I would at least like some fanfare and pomp and circumstance for the first few times to draw out the cubicle eaters.   And I wouldn't really want to pay anything for the opportunity, but if it seems like something that could be sustainable in the future, without the ticker tape,  I'd gladly pay the extra fees to allow my truck in town.

CityLife

April 02, 2012, 01:33:55 PM
Great piece Field! A couple questions. I haven't been able to follow this whole thing, so apologies if I'm rehashing old arguments.

Are vacancy rates lower in other areas where Food Trucks are widely implemented? Are rents higher there than in Jax? Basically, is it more difficult to open a start up restaurant in those places vs. Downtown Jax?

Would Downtown Vision be less opposed to Food Trucks if they operated at night in the "E-Zone" (or whatever the heck they want to call it)? I've always thought of food trucks as being more of a nighttime thing. Me and a few others in Springfield once kicked around the idea of opening a weekly or monthly "night market" with different food vendors/trucks from around town, live music, drinks, art, etc. Basically an Art Walk type thing restricted to one spot. With the existing bars and venues along Adams, Forsyth, and Bay, it would be awesome to close down a few of those streets and have a food truck/night market festival once a month (or more).

I think food trucks would bring more people to downtown at night than at lunchtime. More people would come walk the River Walk at night if they knew they could grab a quick and easy bite to eat on the waterfront. More people would come to the bars if they knew there were an array of pre and post drinking food options.

I'm not taking DVI's side at all. Just wondering if a compromise could be to allow food trucks to operate at night in the entertainment district. Art Walk is a once a month band-aid. Jazz Fest is a once a year shot in the arm. Downtown needs to start taking daily multi-vitamins. Allowing Food Trucks to operate in the entertainment district would be another step in creating a healthy and sustainable downtown.

stephendare

April 02, 2012, 01:48:15 PM
Great piece Field! A couple questions. I haven't been able to follow this whole thing, so apologies if I'm rehashing old arguments.

Are vacancy rates lower in other areas where Food Trucks are widely implemented? Are rents higher there than in Jax? Basically, is it more difficult to open a start up restaurant in those places vs. Downtown Jax?

Would Downtown Vision be less opposed to Food Trucks if they operated at night in the "E-Zone" (or whatever the heck they want to call it)? I've always thought of food trucks as being more of a nighttime thing. Me and a few others in Springfield once kicked around the idea of opening a weekly or monthly "night market" with different food vendors/trucks from around town, live music, drinks, art, etc. Basically an Art Walk type thing restricted to one spot. With the existing bars and venues along Adams, Forsyth, and Bay, it would be awesome to close down a few of those streets and have a food truck/night market festival once a month (or more).

I think food trucks would bring more people to downtown at night than at lunchtime. More people would come walk the River Walk at night if they new they could grab a quick and easy bite to eat on the waterfront. More people would come to the bars if they knew there were an array of pre and post drinking food options.

I'm not taking DVI's side at all. Just wondering if a compromise could be to allow food trucks to operate at night in the entertainment district. Art Walk is a once a month band-aid. Jazz Fest is a once a year shot in the arm. Downtown needs to start taking daily multi-vitamins. Allowing Food Trucks to operate in the entertainment district would be another step in creating a healthy and sustainable downtown.

Great points city life, and I just want to point out that Art Walk, The Jazz Featival et al, are necessary band aids specifically because of boneheaded decisions like these.

No legal economic activity should be banned in the downtown.  Our attempt to regulate without understanding any of the consequences is the very reason that anything other than bandaids have been precluded.

mtraininjax

April 02, 2012, 04:55:31 PM
I don't expect to see a Food Truck in Avondale anytime soon, unless it pays to be there on a day where the merchants have closed the streets. There is simply no parking available for a Food Truck. The Shell spaces are leased to 'town and Brick workers, so unless downtown gets its act together, I may never see a Food Truck in my 'hood.

Any thought to having them show up at RAM when they offer beer on the 2 weekends of the year they are allowed to have beer? That would be an awesome event, we might not ever leave the underbelly of I-95. Maybe they could have a Food truck event at Annie Lytle?

duvaldude08

April 02, 2012, 05:47:51 PM
Great piece Field! A couple questions. I haven't been able to follow this whole thing, so apologies if I'm rehashing old arguments.

Are vacancy rates lower in other areas where Food Trucks are widely implemented? Are rents higher there than in Jax? Basically, is it more difficult to open a start up restaurant in those places vs. Downtown Jax?

Would Downtown Vision be less opposed to Food Trucks if they operated at night in the "E-Zone" (or whatever the heck they want to call it)? I've always thought of food trucks as being more of a nighttime thing. Me and a few others in Springfield once kicked around the idea of opening a weekly or monthly "night market" with different food vendors/trucks from around town, live music, drinks, art, etc. Basically an Art Walk type thing restricted to one spot. With the existing bars and venues along Adams, Forsyth, and Bay, it would be awesome to close down a few of those streets and have a food truck/night market festival once a month (or more).

I think food trucks would bring more people to downtown at night than at lunchtime. More people would come walk the River Walk at night if they knew they could grab a quick and easy bite to eat on the waterfront. More people would come to the bars if they knew there were an array of pre and post drinking food options.

I'm not taking DVI's side at all. Just wondering if a compromise could be to allow food trucks to operate at night in the entertainment district. Art Walk is a once a month band-aid. Jazz Fest is a once a year shot in the arm. Downtown needs to start taking daily multi-vitamins. Allowing Food Trucks to operate in the entertainment district would be another step in creating a healthy and sustainable downtown.

Now I will say that the food trucks at night are a definate plus for the bar/cub crowd. When I stayed on univeristy, there were at 2-3 food trucks within a couple blocks from each other. (due the club crowd from club rain ,etc) I almost wrecked one night because I see a bar b que food truck at 2:45  in the morning. Heck If I knew there were food trucks downtown at night,I would go down there just because. LOL

But the point is they shouldnt be limited at all. Its just stupid. I dont see any other resturant downtown " losing business" because of food truck during lunch time. They would just add variety to the "food" scape. And with the pouring in of Everbank employees into downtown, they would make a ton of money. HOPEFULLY, the council shots down their recommendation. I PRAY they do.

Adam W

April 02, 2012, 05:54:47 PM
Quote

Now I will say that the food trucks at night are a definate plus for the bar/cub crowd. When I stayed on univeristy, there were at 2-3 food trucks within a couple blocks from each other. (due the club crowd from club rain ,etc) I almost wrecked one night because I see a bar b que food truck at 2:45  in the morning. Heck If I knew there were food trucks downtown at night,I would go down there just because. LOL

But the point is they shouldnt be limited at all. Its just stupid. I dont see any other resturant downtown " losing business" because of food truck during lunch time. They would just add variety to the "food" scape. And with the pouring in of Everbank employees into downtown, they would make a ton of money. HOPEFULLY, the council shots down their recommendation. I PRAY they do.

+1

Anti redneck

April 02, 2012, 07:58:51 PM
Why is it that everyone wants to complicate the issue?

Food Trucks in Hemming.  When (not if) they set up shop, they will draw more people from the offices to try it out, if nothing more than the novelty.  Say 1,000 people try it out.  Out of that 1,000, 300 of them are the people that usually sit at their desk and eat microwaved lean cuisines because they only have 45 minutes or so to eat and can't justify spending $10 on lunch, but were coerced by a friend at work to try it out.   

Well, that's 300 people now walking past your (brick & mortar) menu board on the way to Hemming, the same one's that are normally at their desk, that say - oh, I didn't know they had that, or - that looks delicious, maybe we need to come by here next week.

Not only are the food trucks NOT going to take away your regular business, they will more than likely INCREASE your exposure, which would lead to MORE business.  Think of it as free advertising.

It's the same reason the businesses downtown get the shaft before and after Jags games.  That's potentially 60k people that are being shuttled just outside of your door that don't have an opportunity to stop in.  IF they (JSO) didn't manage the flow of traffic so well, it would give people a reason to park further away and walk or shuttle and even stop in, grab a few more drinks (probably unneeded after the game) or browse your gallery for a bit, while the traffic dies down.

Yeah, watch them be told they can't be at Hemming. They need to revolt, to protest, to let their voices be heard! These anti-progress people will continue to run things off if they are not stood up to!

Adam W

April 02, 2012, 08:16:14 PM
Why is it that everyone wants to complicate the issue?

Food Trucks in Hemming.  When (not if) they set up shop, they will draw more people from the offices to try it out, if nothing more than the novelty.  Say 1,000 people try it out.  Out of that 1,000, 300 of them are the people that usually sit at their desk and eat microwaved lean cuisines because they only have 45 minutes or so to eat and can't justify spending $10 on lunch, but were coerced by a friend at work to try it out.   

Well, that's 300 people now walking past your (brick & mortar) menu board on the way to Hemming, the same one's that are normally at their desk, that say - oh, I didn't know they had that, or - that looks delicious, maybe we need to come by here next week.

Not only are the food trucks NOT going to take away your regular business, they will more than likely INCREASE your exposure, which would lead to MORE business.  Think of it as free advertising.

It's the same reason the businesses downtown get the shaft before and after Jags games.  That's potentially 60k people that are being shuttled just outside of your door that don't have an opportunity to stop in.  IF they (JSO) didn't manage the flow of traffic so well, it would give people a reason to park further away and walk or shuttle and even stop in, grab a few more drinks (probably unneeded after the game) or browse your gallery for a bit, while the traffic dies down.

Plus, what's to stop the brick and mortar restaurants from operating their own food trucks? If the food trucks go down well, it might be the perfect way to exploit the market and get additional diners they wouldn't normally get.

I can see a restaurant like Burrito Gallery doing the food truck thing and making a lot of money.

JeffreyS

April 02, 2012, 08:52:36 PM
I was told at the Brick and Mortar location for Monroe's Smokehouse that they had hoped to use their truck to find a good place to put a Brick and Mortar downtown. The problem is they can't park their truck to find out if it is a good market.

thelakelander

April 02, 2012, 10:12:56 PM
Plus, what's to stop the brick and mortar restaurants from operating their own food trucks? If the food trucks go down well, it might be the perfect way to exploit the market and get additional diners they wouldn't normally get.

I can see a restaurant like Burrito Gallery doing the food truck thing and making a lot of money.

Absolutely.  A few of the trucks at the Jax Truckies event were owned by local restaurants.  Monroe's Smokehouse is located on the Westside and Brucci's Pizza has three brick and mortar locations in town.  This whole regulation issue concerning food trucks is really silly and shows how backward we can be at times.  Half of the concerns and fears mentioned about this industry can easily be answered with a simple Google search.  Too many people make too much money to not be able to subject themselves to a couple of minutes of research on issues before coming to economic impacting conclusions, imo.  When will we realize that nothing is new under the sun and that Jax is a decade behind most peer communities on issues like this?  Because we're so behind, finding good and bad examples to the issues we currently deal with tends to be a fairly easy task.

Bill Hoff

April 02, 2012, 11:52:49 PM
I'm curious as to why people think these food trucks would draw new people into Downtown for lunch.

After all, they'd have to fight the much talked about parking problems in Downtown which have been highligthed 1000 times on MJ, and do so with a limited amount of time to travel to Downtown, park, eat, and return to where they came from.

In my view, food trucks would attract mostly the same lunch crowd that eats lunch Downtown right now, thus canabilzing the brick & mortars business....which matter more than food trucks.





stephendare

April 02, 2012, 11:55:06 PM
I'm curious as to why people think these food trucks would draw new people into Downtown for lunch.

After all, they'd have to fight the much talked about parking problems in Downtown which have been highligthed 1000 times on MJ, and do so with a limited amount of time to travel to Downtown, park, eat, and return to where they came from.

In my view, food trucks would attract mostly the same lunch crowd that eats lunch Downtown right now, thus canabilzing the brick & mortars business....which matter more than food trucks.

Is that based on your experience owning food trucks or restaurants?

Or perhaps you've leased to restauranteurs who were cannibalized by trucks?

Is there a city that you have in mind where your scenario has happened?

thelakelander

April 03, 2012, 12:00:11 AM
I'm curious as to why people think these food trucks would draw new people into Downtown for lunch.

Because we've evaluated other cities where the trucks have actually done what we're claiming.  Tampa is a great example.  Anyone who really wants to see if person should consider a day trip down there when one of the rallies are taking place.

Quote
After all, they'd have to fight the much talked about parking problems in Downtown which have been highligthed 1000 times on MJ, and do so with a limited amount of time to travel to Downtown, park, eat, and return to where they came from.

Why all of the fear about allowing small business growth in the urban core, in the form of a food truck generating foot traffic in the dead zones of downtown?

Quote
In my view, food trucks would attract mostly the same lunch crowd that eats lunch Downtown right now, thus canabilzing the brick & mortars business....which matter more than food trucks.

You're view isn't supported by the reality of what's occurring in cities like Tampa.  Policy decisions should not be made on opinions without a basis of factual data to support them.  What facts are you basing your opinion upon?






thelakelander

April 03, 2012, 12:04:02 AM
In my view, food trucks would attract mostly the same lunch crowd that eats lunch Downtown right now, thus canabilzing the brick & mortars business....which matter more than food trucks.

Bill Hoff or Mayor Bob Buckhorn?  Who's right and who's wrong?

Quote
In the city of Tampa, the issue hasn't been the regulations as much as parking issues and raising awareness about food trucks.  In the little over a year that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office, he's ensured that the trucks there are properly equipped with all the appropriate fire and safety equipment and created a monthly food truck rally in Downtown Tampa.  Instead of taking business away from restaurants downtown, Buckhorn said the rallies have actually brought more business to them during the rallies.

"They've given our downtown a tremendous shot in the arm," said Buckhorn, who calls himself the mayor of food trucks.  He encouraged Jacksonville's leaders to support the trend. "The long-term impacts of reinvigorating your downtown far surpass the inconveniences of dealing with the codes," he said.

Btw, I'm not trying to be funny.  However, I am trying to make a point about opinion verses fact and the need to research before making economic impacting public policy decisions.

thelakelander

April 03, 2012, 12:23:54 AM
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/s85mMDQVWaI?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0&quot;" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/s85mMDQVWaI?version=3&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0&quot;</a>

Quote
The newest food craze to hit the Tampa Bay area is food trucks (www.tampagov.net/foodtruck)—and the mayor’s on board in a big way. These traveling food emporiums are fixtures around town and during the monthly Food Truck Fiesta in the city’s Gaslight Square Park, inaugurated by Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a reported food truck aficionado.

“It’s not only great food, but it’s an amazing draw for our downtown. It draws a couple thousand people,” Buckhorn says. “It’s been the best shot in the arm for downtown Tampa in a long time.”

If your group can’t be there for the festivities, held the first Wednesday of every month, not to worry—several of the food trucks have regular lunch stops and even cater to private group functions.
http://www.meetingsfocus.com/Magazines/ArticleDetails/tabid/136/RegionID/211/ArticleID/17825/Default.aspx#top

stephendare

April 03, 2012, 12:30:30 AM
Hmm.. Boston's mayor seems to be pretty enthusiastic about Food Trucks as well.

But as, Bill Hoff says,....what do they know?

Quote
New food truck locations are coming to Boston's Back Bay, Chinatown, Financial District and South End neighborhoods under a 2012 mobile dining schedule and map announced by Mayor Thomas M. Menino's office, Tuesday.

In a news release, the mayor's office said Boston will add sites for six food trucks at four locations:

Two new food trucks in the Back Bay, near Copley Square at Stuart Street and Trinity Place;

One in Chinatown, across from the Registry of Motor Vehicles;

Two in the Financial District, on the corner of Milk and Kilby streets; and one in the South End, at Tremont and Berkeley streets.

A full list of locations, times and vendors is available. It does not appear to include the new locations.

The city has closed three food truck sites since Boston's food truck pilot program formally launched, last summer, announcing 15 food truck sites: Two in Bay Village, and one in the Financial District, at Milk Street on Post Office Square. With the six added today, there are now 21 sites active, across the city, not including sites on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

In Bay Village, the city got push back from area business owners, said Boston's director of food initiatives, Edith Murnane. "The program worked hard to try and balance that issue," she said. "We make sure there is nothing that is in competition with whoever is going to be there."

For example, in the food truck vendor lottery for the new sites, one vendor was denied because the vendor's truck, a sandwich operation, was too close to a competing sandwich shop, she said.

The South End food truck location will become Boston's first "food truck cluster" of three trucks on city streets, on the corner of Stuart Street and Trinity Place, which sits across Stuart Street from the John Hancock Tower, between Clarendon and Dartmouth streets.

stephendare

April 03, 2012, 12:34:17 AM
http://mobile-cuisine.com/features/trends/can-food-trucks-help-rescue-the-us-economy/

 that the national political discussion has moved away from the country’s debt ceiling, both the President and members of the Congress and Senate have shifted their focus to the continuing unemployment situation.

Still hovering at a dismal 9.2 percent unemployment rate (a number that does not include those who have exceeded their unemployment benefits and have dropped off the rolls entirely) our country is trudging along in a recession which began in 2008.

There have been numerous discussions by the politicos as well as the media talking heads about which sectors can help to stimulate our economy. As many of us already know, there is one industry that has been recession proof during this tough time. The mobile food industry has been steadily taking a foot hold as one of the major industries that has been able to flourish, and there is no indication that this trend will change.

Only now, 3 years into its rebirth, more people across the country have begun to understand about the gourmet food trucks in their area and have made them a part of their dining out itinerary. For many individuals, they look at the mobile food industry as only the food truck and food cart owners, but the industry which has been growing at a rapid pace, is much more than these culinary geniuses.

Food Truck Owners

Through our own research, we have watched the industry grow leaps and bounds since 2008 when Chef Roy Choi began the revolution with his Kogi BBQ Truck. As our readers know, we provide a weekly article which focuses on the new food trucks that have opened their service doors during that given week. Since we began these articles, we have seen no less than six trucks starting up every week from areas around the US.

Los Angeles, NYC and San Francisco are areas that are still growing, but more surprising to some, are that communities such as Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Dallas and even Rapid Falls, South Dakota are seeing food trucks pop up on a continual basis.

Many of these food truck businesses tend to start up small. With the ability to expand their brand recognition by serving delectable food, some truck owners within 6 months of hitting the streets, begin to look at expanding, not only the number of individuals they employ, but also in the number of trucks in their fleet. Some of the more successful truck owners are even able to open up brick and mortar locations based on the sales their food trucks have created.

Truck Manufacturing: Many of the countries truck manufactures are lagging in joining in on this growing sector. Once these companies catch on, they too should be able to produce more chassis for the builders to use as a base for more food trucks. More chassis production will require more employees, as well as more resources and more suppliers to provide them with the raw materials that are put together to create these rolling food truck platforms.

Food Truck Kitchen Builders

The number one issue we have heard from numerous food truck builders is that they cannot keep up with the demand of food truck orders they receive. The problem, as we mentioned, was their ability to acquire the chassis that they use to build the food trucks they sell.

This situation can be looked at as a domino effect if approached correctly. Should the truck manufactures provide the truck builders with more chassis, the builders in turn, would be able to produce more food trucks for the consistent growth of calls they receive from individuals looking to start up their new mobile food business. To do this, many of the builders would need to hire more employees, and in some cases, begin to look at expanding their facilities, which could help quickly turn around a number of the empty manufacturing complexes that litter the country.

The other sector that could be touched by a growing food truck building community could be construction. If a builder is looking to expand their market share, they may look at areas outside of their current location to open a truck building facility. If there is not a building that meets their criteria for a new warehouse, they may need to look at building one new. This process will lead to the use of architects as well as contractors to complete the construction.

Permit Expediters

Permits, fees and inspection requirements can change from town to town as many food truck operators know. The problem is, it takes time to learn what each municipality requires, and in the mobile food industry, time does equate to money. The longer it takes an owner to put together all of the proper paperwork for each city they wish to operate in, means the longer it will take them to actually begin operating.

Having come from the construction industry myself, I can attest to the benefits that permit expeditors provide. These individuals have long time relationships with many of the municipalities permitting groups. They know the processes, and keep up on all of the changes that happen so that they can streamline the process for their clients.

As the mobile food industry continues to grow in almost every region of the country, permit expedition companies will also be growing based on their ability to help speed up the arduous process of getting all of the proper paperwork in order to allow a food truck to open sooner than later.

Food Truck Consultants

The number of these professionals will be growing with the industry. Some will be former food truck operators, or some will come with a strong background from the brick and mortar restaurant industry. Consultants will be able to provide a number of valuable services that are absolutely needed. Not everyone with aspirations to open a food truck or cart will have all of the knowledge in various areas such as:

Culinary Experience: These individuals will be able to assist those who do not have the professional background to set up a proper menu, or how to prepare the meals in which they wish to serve from their trucks.

Small Business Operation: Knowing how to cook is a key to a food truck business, however, if you do not have the knowledge on how to operate a small business, you are on a quick trip to failure.

Branding/Marketing: So you have a plain white truck, with a great menu to sell from it, how do you brand your truck so that anyone walking past knows what you are selling?

Mechanical Experts: You’ve scoured through Craigslist and found what you think is the perfect vehicle to start your mobile business with. These professionals will be able to inspect the truck for you to let you know if the frame is damaged, or if all of the equipment is or is not up to your local health department code. Taking the time to hire one of these professionals may save you a lot of headaches down the road.

There are many additional industries that could expand if they latch onto the growth of food trucks that we didn’t even include. If the government were to make it easier for small business owners to retain small business loans to begin expanding their working capital, the mobile food industry could be the employment sector which could spark a whole group of new jobs as well as more revenue that government services could be funded with.

With every passing week, we are continually amazed by the rapid growth of the mobile food industry, with this growth will come a number of new employment opportunities. These new positions may just be in a sector that our politicians have over looked, and why we felt that we needed to bring it into the discussion. It is our belief that this growth can be part of the assistance our struggling economy needs.

What do you think?

stephendare

April 03, 2012, 12:50:19 AM
hmm
the nations largest 'brick and mortar' restaurants also seem to disagree with both DVI and Bill Hoff:




The company that wants you to “Eat Mor Chikin” now hopes you’ll eat it from a food truck.


Source: Chick-fil-a.com
Quote
In April, Chick-fil-A will follow several other national chains that have already entered the food-truck space.
In April, a franchisee will launch Chick-fil-A’s first food truck that will serve customers in the Washington, D.C., area. Currently, there is only one traditional Chick-fil-A restaurant in the nation’s capital.

“If they don’t have a presence in D.C., a food truck can be a good way to introduce themselves,” said Sam Oches, managing editor at QSR magazine.

The chain famous for its "Eat Mor Chikin" ad campaign is following in the fast-food tread marks of Taco Bell, Applebees, Dairy Queen, Jack in the Box and its sister brand Qdoba Mexican Grill. The pioneer very well may be Carl's Jr., which launched its "Star Diner" food truck in 1990 and currently operates eight that can be booked for street fairs or a large family reunion.

Bill Hoff

April 03, 2012, 01:06:20 AM
Because we've evaluated other cities where the trucks have actually done what we're claiming.  Tampa is a great example.  Anyone who really wants to see if person should consider a day trip down there when one of the rallies are taking place.

I'm all for the monthly rallies, like in Tampa. DVI also stated they support these. It's a great idea. I suggested Hemming Plaza, in another thread, for the location, and you mentioned the new court house green as another good spot. Let's do it.


Why all of the fear about allowing small business growth in the urban core, in the form of a food truck generating foot traffic in the dead zones of downtown?

Of course there's no fear about supporting small business and generating foot traffic, that's ideal. But not at the expense of other small business that have made a large and tangible investment in Downtown. And if a daily, lunch time food truck space is allowed among brick & mortars, it will directly hurt brick and mortars.......unless the food trucks draw in scores of new people from outside Downtown. MJ has covered the perils of parking Downtown in great detail, and potential new patrons from outside of Downtown would (usually) only have a 30-60 minute window for lunch and travel, so I don't see many traveling into Downtown and combating the chronicled parking perils to visit a few food trucks.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and that'd be great news.


You're view isn't supported by the reality of what's occurring in cities like Tampa.  Policy decisions should not be made on opinions without a basis of factual data to support them.  What facts are you basing your opinion upon?

I think you misundstood my view. I'm all for monthly food truck events, a la Tampa.

What have I based my opinion on? There's also negative articles about food trucks v brick & mortars out there. It's not all positive, beleive it or not. Google is a wonderful instrument. Every city is different and has different dynamics.

I hope Downtown Jax has a similar monthly event soon, as well as late night food trucks and special event food trucks, as supported by DVI. This way, food truck operators make more money, they get their own special on-going event, and the exisiting brick and mortars who've made a substantial, tangible investment in Downtown continue to benefit as well.

Just one person's opinion.

stephendare

April 03, 2012, 01:10:21 AM
Because we've evaluated other cities where the trucks have actually done what we're claiming.  Tampa is a great example.  Anyone who really wants to see if person should consider a day trip down there when one of the rallies are taking place.

I'm all for the monthly rallies, like in Tampa. DVI also stated they support these. It's a great idea. I suggested Hemming Plaza, in another thread, for the location, and you mentioned the new court house green as another good spot. Let's do it.


Why all of the fear about allowing small business growth in the urban core, in the form of a food truck generating foot traffic in the dead zones of downtown?

Of course there's no fear about supporting small business and generating foot traffic, that's ideal. But not at the expense of other small business that have made a marge and tangible investment in Downtown. And if a daily, lunch time food truck space is allowed among brick & mortars, it will directly hurt brick and mortars.......unless the food trucks draw in scores of new people from outside Downtown. MJ has covered the perils of parking Downtown in great detail, and potential new patrons from outside of Downtown would (usually) only have a 30-60 minute window for lunch and travel, so I don't see many traveling into Downtown and combating the chronicled parking perils to visit a few food trucks.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and that'd be great news.


You're view isn't supported by the reality of what's occurring in cities like Tampa.  Policy decisions should not be made on opinions without a basis of factual data to support them.  What facts are you basing your opinion upon?

I'm all for monthly food truck events, a la Tampa.

What have I based my opinion on? There's also negative articles about food trucks v brick & mortars out there. It's not all positive, beleive it or not. Google is a wonderful instrument. Every city is different and has different dynamics.

I hope Downtown Jax has a similar monthly event soon, as well as late night food trucks and special event food trucks, as supported by DVI. This way, food truck operators make more money, they get their own special on-going event, and the exisiting brick and mortars who've made a substantial, tangible investment in Downtown continue to benefit as well.

Just one person's opinion.

Duly noted.  Btw how's the campaign coming to close down all those convenience stores? 

Bill Hoff

April 03, 2012, 01:12:01 AM
hmm
the nations largest 'brick and mortar' restaurants also seem to disagree with both DVI and Bill Hoff:


I don't think myself or DVI said they weren't profitable .... they are. In fact, a family member is looking into investing in one.

stephendare

April 03, 2012, 01:15:19 AM
hmm
the nations largest 'brick and mortar' restaurants also seem to disagree with both DVI and Bill Hoff:


I don't think myself or DVI said they weren't profitable .... they are. In fact, a family member is looking into investing in one.

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but considering the business growth in downtown and the smoking wreckage left in the wake of SPAR, how credible would you expect either opinion to be when it comes to retail?

duvaldude08

April 03, 2012, 01:37:35 AM
I'm curious as to why people think these food trucks would draw new people into Downtown for lunch.

After all, they'd have to fight the much talked about parking problems in Downtown which have been highligthed 1000 times on MJ, and do so with a limited amount of time to travel to Downtown, park, eat, and return to where they came from.

In my view, food trucks would attract mostly the same lunch crowd that eats lunch Downtown right now, thus canabilzing the brick & mortars business....which matter more than food trucks.

Not true. I work on the southbank and I do not eat downtown for lunch. Not enough variety and I need something quick. If there were a variety of food trucks down there, I would go and able to get back from lunch on time.

thelakelander

April 03, 2012, 05:53:12 AM
Because we've evaluated other cities where the trucks have actually done what we're claiming.  Tampa is a great example.  Anyone who really wants to see if person should consider a day trip down there when one of the rallies are taking place.

I'm all for the monthly rallies, like in Tampa. DVI also stated they support these. It's a great idea. I suggested Hemming Plaza, in another thread, for the location, and you mentioned the new court house green as another good spot. Let's do it.


Why all of the fear about allowing small business growth in the urban core, in the form of a food truck generating foot traffic in the dead zones of downtown?

Of course there's no fear about supporting small business and generating foot traffic, that's ideal. But not at the expense of other small business that have made a large and tangible investment in Downtown. And if a daily, lunch time food truck space is allowed among brick & mortars, it will directly hurt brick and mortars.......unless the food trucks draw in scores of new people from outside Downtown. MJ has covered the perils of parking Downtown in great detail, and potential new patrons from outside of Downtown would (usually) only have a 30-60 minute window for lunch and travel, so I don't see many traveling into Downtown and combating the chronicled parking perils to visit a few food trucks.

Perhaps I'm wrong, and that'd be great news.


You're view isn't supported by the reality of what's occurring in cities like Tampa.  Policy decisions should not be made on opinions without a basis of factual data to support them.  What facts are you basing your opinion upon?

I think you misundstood my view. I'm all for monthly food truck events, a la Tampa.

What have I based my opinion on? There's also negative articles about food trucks v brick & mortars out there. It's not all positive, beleive it or not. Google is a wonderful instrument. Every city is different and has different dynamics.

I hope Downtown Jax has a similar monthly event soon, as well as late night food trucks and special event food trucks, as supported by DVI. This way, food truck operators make more money, they get their own special on-going event, and the exisiting brick and mortars who've made a substantial, tangible investment in Downtown continue to benefit as well.

Just one person's opinion.

Bill, did you overlook the point where Tampa doesn't limit trucks from operating everyday in their downtown?  In addition to allowing trucks to freely roam daily, they complement this with a monthly food truck rally.  So, unless you're for not limiting their access to downtown, you're off base with that example, just like DVI's board was.

Bill Hoff

April 03, 2012, 07:25:32 AM


Bill, did you overlook the point where Tampa doesn't limit trucks from operating everyday in their downtown?  In addition to allowing trucks to freely roam daily, the complement this with a monthly food truck rally.  So, unless you're for not limiting their access to downtown, you're off base with that example, just like DVI's board was



Yes, I did overlook that.

Since all city & town have different dynamics,  I think having something like a 90 day period to test out the concept would a great idea. That's a broad enough time to see the impact, positive or negative, on existing brick & mortars.

Are there any other ideal locations at the moment besides Hemming Plaza? It certainly would fill the "programming" hole they want to fill, or would it be more appropriate to locate it in a restaurant desert.....say around the LaVilla medical building & school?

thelakelander

April 03, 2012, 07:32:35 AM
I personally don't see anything wrong with a trial period.  As for locations, I think anywhere you have a large number of surface parking lots or parking garages would be great locations for rallies, as well as the new county courthouse since there's not a single restaurant within a two block walk of it's front door.  In addition, there are more areas where designated spots (similar to what we do with the hot dog vendors) could be carved out.  All in all, there's a ton of things that should be explored and researched before out right recommending to place restrictions.  My hope is that we'll eventually get to the point of at least fulling exploring various concepts before making long term economic impacting decisions.

fieldafm

April 03, 2012, 09:58:10 AM
It's clear DVI didn't do much research on Tampa before making their statement and the followup public statements.  Tampa does not ban these trucks from downtown except for a once a month event.  In fact, Tampa has the MOST food trucks in the state.  That doesn't happen b/c you artificially create an environment where it is hard for them to operate within.

http://www.actionnewsjax.com/mostpopular/story/Downtowns-Hunger-for-Food-Trucks/6dRky-T7nESdi9oHiQ6q6A.cspx

Tacachale

April 03, 2012, 10:13:09 AM
^Having reservations about unrestricted food trucks is one thing. However, as we saw last weekend, currently it's not feasible to have even a food truck event downtown. When any entity is making it difficult or impossible for interested parties to have events downtown, it's a major problem.

TheCat

April 04, 2012, 09:55:02 AM
Rich Jones, our news partner with WOKV, 1O6.5FM&69OAM, interviewed Stephen Dare regarding food trucks and dvi...it's short, 2 minutes, but poignant.


http://www.wokv.com/Player/101325721/

You can also catch Rich Jones' morning news recap on his blog:

http://www.wokv.com/weblogs/morning-news-recap/

simms3

April 04, 2012, 06:23:00 PM
Nice.  In the interview, the interviewer mentioned that DVI has stated that food trucks are illegal in downtown, and so he questions Stephen on whether the law needs to be changed or if Stephen doesn't like the decision.

Not only does that sound patently absurd to say that food trucks are blatantly illegal (though that may be), why would DVI even hold a vote if it were already legal.  Was the vote to change a law?  I thought the vote was to determine if members of DVI thought it would be ok to allow them.  Is the law that anything that occurs downtown be put to vote by DVI's members?

There are just too many holes going on here in this situation and I would like for someone to break it down for me so I can understand.

simms3

April 04, 2012, 06:26:39 PM
On another note, and the reason I came back to this discussion, we just held a food truck event at one of our struggling redevelopment properties in Chattanooga.

8 trucks showed up, massive crowds turned out, and the Food Court (which is really a local food kiosk mercantile in the lower level) had record sales that day.  In a spit of irony, both our restaurants and our food court operators did historical business on the same day we had 8 food trucks, and now we are going to make this a routine thing (and our tenants really want this event).

Perhaps DVI members should look at other food truck examples, whether in active downtowns with actual restaurants or parking lots of shopping centers with restaurant tenants, etc etc, and ask their own questions.  It sounds like DVI members a) don't think things through with logic and b) don't have any outside knowledge about the world in which they operate, nor do they seem interested in learning.

Anti redneck

April 04, 2012, 06:44:23 PM
What does Brown think of the food truck ban? Has he spoken on the topic?

fieldafm

April 05, 2012, 11:00:13 AM
Can't find the video... but Action News had a segment on Saturday night about the event.
If anyone has the link to the video, please post it here.  They covered the event and also did a segment with Driftwood BBQ Sat night.

http://www.actionnewsjax.com/mostpopular/story/Food-truck-vendors-hope-to-help-revitalize/w_W_MbtcVke6iQ3dq2N65Q.cspx


There were also a few clips Friday morning

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+6%3A25%3A30+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2410&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+6%3A25%3A31+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+7%3A13%3A57+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+7%3A32%3A41+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE

http://mms.tveyes.com/Transcript.asp?StationID=2415&DateTime=3%2F30%2F2012+7%3A32%3A41+AM&Term=Second+Harvest&PlayClip=TRUE


Kerry Speckman has a wrapup about her experience here:
http://www.thespecktator.com/2012/03/1097/

Pictures are up on the Facebook page
facebook.com/JaxTruckies

Visit Jacksonville had info about the event on their social media feeds and on their website. 

First Coast News announced the event

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/article/249890/3/Jax-Truckies-Food-Truck-Championship-Saturday

Jacksonville.com had a previous article about the event

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/423471/gary-mills/2012-03-06/jax-truckies-food-truck-championship-set-march-31

Coverage should be in Jacksonville Mag and Folio Weekly

If you are on Twitter you can hear what people are saying about the event here:

twitter.com/JaxTruckies

Roaming Hunger (a food truck website) had the even on their social media feeds

Here is the podcast for Melissa Ross' First Coast Connect show

http://www.wjct.org/mp3/fcc/fccmar2912.mp3

Stilly trying to get the video posted of Action New's coverage of the event on the news.

In the meantime:

http://jacksonville.com/opinion/blog/423471/gary-mills/2012-04-05/inaugural-jax-truckies-food-truck-event-just-beginning

fieldafm

April 06, 2012, 07:27:25 AM
Congrats to Driftwood BBQ for yet another Jax food truck clean plate award!  That’s now three clean plates given to Jacksonville food trucks this year, joining BBQ Jax and On the Fly.  At the Jax Truckies, all seven of our food trucks passed the same food inspections given to brick and mortar restaurants with flying colors just before they started serving our guests!

mtraininjax

April 06, 2012, 02:46:35 PM
Quote
What does Brown think of the food truck ban? Has he spoken on the topic?

Yes, his answer was "You need to talk with THE HAND, first".

Anti redneck

April 18, 2012, 04:13:31 AM
Quote
What does Brown think of the food truck ban? Has he spoken on the topic?

Yes, his answer was "You need to talk with THE HAND, first".

Did he really say that?

stephendare

April 18, 2012, 09:04:23 AM
Quote
What does Brown think of the food truck ban? Has he spoken on the topic?

Yes, his answer was "You need to talk with THE HAND, first".

Did he really say that?


It's a play on words, ar.  His chief of staff is Chris Hand.

And no, he didn't say that, lol.

Anti redneck

April 18, 2012, 08:10:07 PM
Quote
What does Brown think of the food truck ban? Has he spoken on the topic?

Yes, his answer was "You need to talk with THE HAND, first".

Did he really say that?


It's a play on words, ar.  His chief of staff is Chris Hand.

And no, he didn't say that, lol.

Oh I see now.

I was about to say, that's kinda rude for him to hold his hand up and say "Talk to the hand!" Lol.

Non-RedNeck Westsider

April 24, 2012, 09:39:13 AM
If you have a few minutes (20 or so) this is a must watch.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/350702/bobs-burgers-food-trucks

braeburn

April 27, 2012, 01:33:05 AM
People who live Downtown could really use a few of these food trucks, even during the week! You can only eat at the same places so many times when you want to go out. Forget about getting something good to eat on a Tuesday night and it's 11pm... you're screwed!

Besides, that whole argument of taking business away is nonsense. There's tons of free booze given away at art walk venues, and people still flood the local bars by the droves on Art Walk night. Same thing with the food. Cafe Nola, for example, gets the most business during Art Walk, when there are tons of people there with more than just brick and mortar choices.

A few food trucks being in the city doesn't mean I won't ever eat at the landing/burrito/big petes/etc ever again!

fsujax

April 27, 2012, 07:44:44 AM
I went to three different food trucks this week. All along the northbank riverwalk. What a great experience. The food, the views, all the people on the riverwalk, it has been a fun lunch week for me. Bring them downtown!

civil42806

February 26, 2014, 06:11:09 PM
"Sorry Ron, but it's really sad to hear that from someone who has actually experienced first hand the increased foot traffic and the resulting sales from people coming into your store that came downtown to eat at a food truck... people who had no other reason to come downtown other than visiting that food truck or attend a food truck rally."

Let me get this straight. Havent lived in jax for a while, but your saying people come to downtown just to eat out of food trucks?  Food truck rallys are one thing, but from day to day people travel from northside, westside, arlington just for the pleasure of buying food from a truck?

stephendare

February 26, 2014, 06:14:13 PM
"Sorry Ron, but it's really sad to hear that from someone who has actually experienced first hand the increased foot traffic and the resulting sales from people coming into your store that came downtown to eat at a food truck... people who had no other reason to come downtown other than visiting that food truck or attend a food truck rally."

Let me get this straight. Havent lived in jax for a while, but your saying people come to downtown just to eat out of food trucks?  Food truck rallys are one thing, but from day to day people travel from northside, westside, arlington just for the pleasure of buying food from a truck?

yes

Gators312

February 26, 2014, 06:49:26 PM
I travel from the Ortega area to downtown for Food Trucks.  I also like to visit Olio, BG, Chomp Chomp, Cafe Nola, and several other Brick and Mortar establishments.

If you put good things downtown, people will come downtown. 



FSBA

February 26, 2014, 08:32:46 PM
"Sorry Ron, but it's really sad to hear that from someone who has actually experienced first hand the increased foot traffic and the resulting sales from people coming into your store that came downtown to eat at a food truck... people who had no other reason to come downtown other than visiting that food truck or attend a food truck rally."

Let me get this straight. Havent lived in jax for a while, but your saying people come to downtown just to eat out of food trucks?  Food truck rallys are one thing, but from day to day people travel from northside, westside, arlington just for the pleasure of buying food from a truck?

You would be surprised. When I worked in Arlington, there was a group of ladies that would ask to have their lunch be a hour instead of 30 minutes on days when Corner Taco or On the Fly were setting up somewhere downtown.

thelakelander

February 26, 2014, 08:37:39 PM
Did they ever ask for extra time to make the drive to Quizno's or Subway?

FSBA

February 27, 2014, 08:51:03 AM
Did they ever ask for extra time to make the drive to Quizno's or Subway?

Noone

February 27, 2014, 10:01:39 AM
I went to three different food trucks this week. All along the northbank riverwalk. What a great experience. The food, the views, all the people on the riverwalk, it has been a fun lunch week for me. Bring them downtown!

Please while enjoying you Food Truck fare describe the vibrancy that you saw on our river.
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