Friday, March 4, 2011

San Francisco Restaurants use Police to Fight Food Trucks

Restaurants are calling the police when food trucks get close. Is this the best use of the Police? You tell me.


Restaurants, Food Trucks in Turf War


A food fight is breaking out in downtown San Francisco, with a group of restaurants squaring off against an incursion of food trucks that they say pose unfair competition.

The rift broke out a month ago after a food-truck vendor called JapaCurry began parking in front of restaurants in a South of Market neighborhood, selling to-go meals during the busy lunch hour. "They just showed up right in front of us, and didn't even ask," said Jasmine Tran, a clerk at Tart to Tart, a bakery café on Mission Street. "It hurt our business, definitely."

Lori Eanes for The Wall Street Journa

A dozen other nearby restaurants in the Mission and Second Street area signed a Jan. 21 complaint to San Francisco police asking to keep the vendor from parking so close to them. The complaint prompted the police to revoke JapaCurry owner Jay Hamada's permit for that street. Mr. Hamada disputes that he posed a business threat because his menu of mostly Japanese curry dishes isn't offered at any of the area's restaurants.

"I feel sorry, but I don't think I'm taking their customers," said the 40-year-old Mr. Hamada, who started his mobile curry business in November with a $100,000 investment.

Meanwhile, restaurateurs have expressed concern about a possible onslaught of food trucks under a new city ordinance designed to promote their growth. Some 65 to 70 currently ply the streets, according to a city official."

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