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Do food trucks hurt skyway restaurants? Downtown Food Committee to address the issue

Skyway retailers are calling a meeting tomorrow to discuss whether food trucks are given an unfair advantage
Skyway retailers are calling a meeting tomorrow to discuss whether food trucks are given an unfair advantage
Brian Garrity
Are the food trucks that Minneapolis diners seem to love so much causing undo harm to existing businesses? Are they given an unfair competitive advantage by the state that traditional brick-and-mortars can't compete against? A group referring to itself as the Downtown Food Committee seems to think so. This Wednesday it will be holding a meeting open to all downtown retailers to discuss the issue.

The group is raising the idea of whether food trucks have created a competitive environment in which they are unable to effectively compete and are seeking ways to "improve the food truck ordinance so it works better for the residents, workers, food truck owners, and the restaurant owners in downtown Minneapolis," according to the flier they put out for Wednesday's event.

The flyer for Wednesday's Food Truck discussion; contact info has been redacted.
The flyer for Wednesday's Food Truck discussion; contact info has been redacted.
Courtesy of the Downtown Food Committee

It would appear that the movement to rethink how the food trucks are allowed to operate in downtown Minneapolis is being spearheaded by D. Brian's Deli founder Doug Sams. D. Brian's is located in the skyway system at the intersection of Eighth & Nicollet, about a block away from the gathering of food trucks. Sams has been vocal about his concerns over food trucks but has repeatedly stated that he's not anti-food truck, but that he instead wants to find a way in which the system can work for everybody.


The event flyer lists several bullet-pointed topics that will be covered during the meeting. An open discussion will be held in regard to the amount of business that's allegedly been lost due to the emergence of the trucks, and it another session the committee will forecast what will happen in the coming summer if nothing changes.

The group hosting the meeting also provided us with a copy of its "impact statement," which asks business owners to share the "impact" that food trucks have had on their businesses. The introduction to the statement reads, "In order to determine the impact on downtown and skyway restaurants caused by the concentration of food trucks along Marquette Ave., please provide some information that compares your sales and wages paid in 2012 with 2011. This could be as simple as the appearance of less customers; however, actual numbers or financial information are much more useful."

The founders of the Downtown Food Committee provided us with the documentation for the meeting, but they declined to give statements before the event.

What do you think about the issue? Do you frequent skyway restaurants less now that food trucks have become easily accessible, and if so, why? We'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments below.


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