So which restaurant owners are opposing this?
Street Treats nails it when he states that food carts will increase the foot traffic and make thing busier for everyone. I would be so excited if a thriving food cart scene was able to be established near my restaurant. It would be an indication of being in a good are.
it hurts me to see that you've written "cripple". see my aunt sally has a disease that noone in the family discusses much, I don't know what exactly is wrong with her, but she walks trippingly, thighs together, calves apart, while also using a walking aid for arm support. so is "ruin" a better word? but that brings up Inca ruins and such. "Demolish?" That's kind of poo-poohing environmental disasters. How about "block" or go the extra distance and say "Block Party". '...knee-jerk reaction is to block party a great proposal...'

stupid probably, but it's just my two cents, what do you expect?
Demanding that food vendors get consent to use the sidewalk from private building owners is not only stupid, it's illegal.

First, demanding things can't be illegal, first amendment and all that. If I demand people ask me before putting on ugly clothes, the demanding wouldn't be illegal.

Second, the City Council can pass whatever law they want instructing SDOT to do whatever they'd like. It may be that the law would be unconstitutional, but it wouldn't be illegal. In this case, the City has broad powers to regulate activity on the sidewalk (see how food carts are treated today), and it's extremely improbable that this would be unconstitutionally.

Please write posts that are not entirely nonsense and poor logic.
First of All

verb /ˈkripəl/ 
crippled, past participle; crippled, past tense; cripples, 3rd person singular present; crippling, present participle

Cause a severe and almost insuperable problem for
- developing countries are crippled by their debts

Secondly, I could see how restaurant owners would be upset about this, but COME ON. Serving sizers are down, prices are up, and wait-people are demanding exorbitant tips for minimal service. There are simply fewer and fewer affordable options for a quick dish. Restaurant owners need to adapt and offer competitive options or face the full wrath of capitalism.

I wants me some cheap eats.
I think the Stranger is right on this one. Mobile food vendors would not hinder brick 'n mortar establishments from doing business. They would be competing with them- and competition is good for consumers. We want this!
If the food vendors were shutting down the whole street and physically blocking people from getting to other businesses, I'd have a different opinion. These restaurants don't want competition, which is understandable, but ultimately should hold no bearing to the council's decision.
@3: "it hurts me to see that you've written "cripple" ... stupid probably, but it's just my two cents, what do you expect?"

It must really suck to know that little about words and their meanings.
@4: on your first point, i think you may have misread that:

in that it's not that the fact that what they are demanding is "illegal", but more so were if it was enacted, it would most likely be ruled illegal because it is almost assuredly unconstitutional...

so its not illegal to propose it, surely they have a right to do just that....

& i guess, if they wanna pay $400 plus an hour for a fight that in the end they will likely lose, then... I'd say okay who are we to stop them?

good money following bad, for no reason IMO.

'cause that money would probably be better served giving their employees some health insurance.
it would most likely be ruled illegal because it is almost assuredly unconstitutional...

Like I said, the City via SDOT has broad authority to regulate activity on the sidewalk. The City Council can pass whatever regulation they would like, and I seriously doubt that would be unconstitutional.
I would actually be pretty annoyed by 20 food carts in those 7 blocks.

About half that sounds right.

Businesses have been thinking they own the sidewalk since the anti-smoking laws. I've given the SPD non-emergency number to so many people giving shit to smokers (promptly followed by telling them to go fuck themselves).
@7 thanks. when i comment, i like people paying attention to what i write. good to know you're with me.
Let's save everyone the energy and just play a videotaped councilmeeting from pretty much any other city in North America circa 10 years ago when they legalized food carts. Unlike something like the tunnel, this isn't a unique Seattle problem, and many many cities have had this discussion before (and food carts won).
@9: true, concerning the WA State constitution, The City and SDOT working with and for the WRA basically ran roughshod over it, again and again on many times over Federal and State factored laws

often to them the constitutional limits and legal rules are an anathema and a "perceived" enemy, rather than effective guidelines and necessary elements to do business the right way.
If I owned a restaurant, I'd wonder why the city/council is so worried about helping street food vendors, but are perfectly content to let Seattle's ridiculous outdoor seating regulations continue unabated. Shouldn't existing restaurants get a chance to populate the sidewalks with tables and chairs before that real estate gets swallowed up by an endless convoy of taco trucks?
@1 The owner of Rancho Bravo is a big naysayer about it.

It's all a bunch of hooey, and restaurant owners need to realize that a food truck experience is totally different from a restaurant experience. If anything, it will get people outside and walking around more, and when they see a food truck line that's crazy long, they will think, "Hm, maybe we should just check out that restaurant?" No one's gonna make plans to go to a restaurant and then decide, "Screw it, let's just eat at that food truck." Scenario A involves going from less comfort to more comfort. Scenario B is the opposite direction (more comfort to less comfort). People aren't going to choose that.
@15 ++++ like fourteenith internets:

'cause come on, it is really like the open source stuff, because even despite Seattle backward laws about food trucks some of the best things available today are and were active food trucks just a bit ago , think rancho bravo, skillet and marination station,

the regular sit down places need to step up their game, and there is nothing wrong w/ that, right?
@1 the owner of rancho bravo took out a full page ad in the Weekly opposing this. I personally think his money would be better spent renovating his restaurant. Great food with a crack den vibe.
I own a restaurant owner and I'm dead set against this. If you don't understand why, then you're probably not a business owner. There's competition and then there's unfair competition. Food trucks parked in my high rent area who are able to serve cheap food because they don't have my overhead is unfair competition. If the guy from rancho, who also owns a food truck understands this, maybe you 'tards who have never had the balls to open their own business should too.
@18 Maybe you ought to open a food cart. I hear the markets about to explode.
@15 my thoughts exactly.

Here in Seattle I'd there are 9 or 10 months in the year where I'd most likely want to eat indoors.

I've never patronized Rancho Bravo, don't think I'll be doing so anytime soon. Especially given how rare I eat out.
@16, Veraci Pizza was a mobile food cart before they opened in a storefront. They still take the mobile out.
"@1 The owner of Rancho Bravo is a big naysayer about it."

Do as I say, not as I do.
@18 isn't a restaurant owner, he's a douchenozzle poser who was gifted a shitty restaurant by his mommy.

I'm a business owner, and my biggest local competitor isn't just on same street but on same floor of (my) building.

This ended up being a boon for both of us. Competition is healthy and it made both of our companies have to bring our 'a' games

Restaurant owners have had it easy thanks to a weak council. Food vendors make for vibrant and lively cities. You should know:

A. It's not "your" high rent area
B. Folks who are looking for "high rent" food don't tend to go for cheap street food
C. If you can't compete with cheap food in your brick and mortar store your product must Fucking suck... how awful are your food inspection violations?
d. The only Tard is the fuckwad Douche who borrowed mommy's money and can't run a business, gets a shriveled micropenis whenever a better idea crosses his dirty tables.

Bring on the great street food. Bring on the cheap eats. Bring on the lively city. Seattle may become a world class city yet, despite the pathetic attempts by a rotten few threatened by better food and savier business models
If a restaurant's strategy is to locate itself where people have no other choices, then they deserve to go out of business.
Too many mediocre to bad restaurants open with the business plan of being the only X restaurant in the neighborhood. That's just retarded, or crippled, or disabled or whatever.
I have no problem with food trucks, provided they meet the same criteria applied to brick & mortar restaurants: rent, utilities, insurance and taxes; regular maintenance of a commercial dishwasher; hot water & sewage; garbage & recycling charges; city, county & state permits & fees; just for starters.

The fact is that food trucks are leeches, sucking blood out of nearby restaurants.

And let's not forget that food trucks serve food that isn't particularly healthy to start with, and that they don't generally clean up after themselves, either.

Far better is the Portland model: cluster the food trucks in pods, supply them with water & power (charging them for it, of course), and HAVE THEM COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER, not with rent-paying brick & mortar restaurants.
are you a fucking idiot?

food trucks arent leaches - BM restaurants don't deserve the business they get, apparently

food trucks don't serve healthy food? have you been to the average restaurant? almost all food in restaurants is inherently unhealthy. this argument is as fucking retarded as you are.

btw, there are over 30 B+M food service vendors within a 2 block radius of the food carts in PDX. way to shill for the shitty restaurants that don't deserve to be serving regardless.

Funny you should choose as your handle the foppishly Francophilic term for a tiny, little shriveled baby cucumber

So sure, let's take your proposal at face-value. But to be equally fair, we should also allow that all food trucks must be granted the right to apply for a liquor license, to place outdoor seating on the sidewalk adjacent to where they're parked, to operate on the same schedules as brick-and-mortar restaurants, to be able to set up anywhere there's space available for them to do so, and to be able to take advantage of any other competitive edge that will draw customers to them - just like you can now.

I mean, if you sincerely want to level the playing field because you're afraid your mediocre-yet-overpriced sit-down menu can't compete with cheap street food vendors, then LET'S FUCKING LEVEL IT.
Ah, the restaurant owners who can't afford to pay their workers a decent wage are also opposed to more competition. Remember, "small business is the backbone of the economy".
Come on folks- if you think there should be food carts, wonderful. But please stop bullshitting us with claims that food carts don't compete with restaurants for business. Of course they do.

When a person decides to eat out, they'll go to either a food cart or a restaurant, not both. And food carts are not going to magically increase the amount of money people spend eating out.

I'm honestly puzzled - why is everyone all so obsessed with food carts? Is it because Portland has them?
@28: Right, better to replace all the restaurants with food carts that pay even shittier wages to fewer people.

Hey, but they're serving food! In a cart!
#28. You are one of those who has probably never had the balls to take a chance on anything. Competition is fine. Unfair competion is not. Learn a little about how the industry works, how thin the margins are and how easy it is to compete against someone who doesn't have a quarter of your overhead. Not everyone runs a sitdown restaurant. These trucks are competing directly for the quick meal dollar. I agree with #25. I view these trucks as parasites on a neighborhood. They want to swoop in during the busy times and take business from the restaurants that pay high rents to be there. Fuck that. If people are so enamored with food trucks, let them setup in an empty lot somewhere and people can take a trip to visit them.

@30 Well, one way that restaurants could compete with food carts is by hiring away all the good help with, you know, superior wages and benefits. Also, offering a better dining experience to their customers, most of whom don't want to try and eat outside in Seattle's neverending near-winter.

Otherwise, yes, all the restaurants will all be replaced by food carts.
Wah! I'm a restaurant owner who doesn't want the government mandating that I provide a measly benefit such as sick leave, even though it won't really put me out of business. But I want the government to protect me from those mean, vicious food cart people, who also won't really put me out of business. I like the competitive capitalist system that allows me to flourish in business, but I don't really like competition. Competition means I actually have to step up my game. Wah!
@31: "never had the balls to take a chance on anything. Competition is fine. Unfair competion is not. Learn a little about how the industry works, how thin the margins are and how easy it is to compete against someone who doesn't have a quarter of your overhead. "

Learn what "business models" are.
#31. My business model is fine. I took out a 300k loan and after almost 4 years have paid off half of it. I don't mind competing against other businesses that have the same overhead as me. But once you allow carts and trucks to set up shop a whopping 50 feet away from me, it's changing the rules after the game has already started. Other cities have started to reign in the street food scene because it is unfair to b&m - look at some of the recent legislation passed in LA - only allowed to park for an hour then have to move on, etc. Like I said, it is pointless to argue this because people who have never run a business will never understand. But the fact that the guy from rancho is opposed to it should make people consider that there is a valid argument here. It is not about competition - it is about what you are able to charge for your product based on your overhead.
@10: If you were smoking within 25 feet of any building entrance, I sure hope those people used the non-emergency number to call the cops on your ass.

That's not "businesses thinking they own the sidewalk." It's the right to walk to my own fucking door without you blowing carcinogens in my face. Follow the law and move out of the way and nobody will "give you shit."

This town is retarded.
I'm having second thoughts about supporting carts. The reason is the greasy smoke coming off of some of them goes right inside the business and inside turns into like being next to a kitchen exhaust. This happened recently at The Showbox at the Market. That cart out front was boilin up some dogs and inside we got bathed in botchulism and grease smoke. Not awesome.
If the food truck is taking up the sidewalk, then how the hell am I going to walk passed this thing? Seriously, this seems like a win win for people who are too lazy to walk two blocks to their favorite restaurant. You're also taking money away from local neighborhood business and handing it over to someone who probably doenst live in the city.

I wouldn't mind competition if it came from a few blocks away, but when its parked 50' right next to my restaurant, serving the same kinds of foods, then its not the fun and wonderful type of competition that you think its going to be. Its predatory and eventually one will drive the other out of business. You'll get some cheap eats, but it wont last and you might get sick from it because when it comes to this sort of thing, either you have the money to piss away in under cutting the competition, or they'll sacrifice certain things. Maybe the quality of the food will drop, are you sure thats beef or chicken? Maybe they wont clean the machines as often. Maybe they'll heat things at a lower temp to save on heating gas, or chill things at higher temps to save electricity. Maybe they'll just mop the floors with water and avoid using bleach?

They should restrict these food trucks to parks & bus stops.
I'm responsible for a building in a district that would see more food vendors under the new regime. My only concern, I guess, is litter. I already have to clean up blobs of sauerkraut and mustard every Saturday and Sunday morning. But whatever - tahini and hummous would make the chore more cosmopolitan.
This whole fucking thread is retarded. If I'm a restaurant owner I'm opening up my own fucking food cart, right outside my door, with a different name on it, and I'm getting them coming and going.
@18, BB wrote, "I own a restaurant owner and I'm dead set against this. If you don't understand why, then you're probably not a business owner. There's competition and then there's unfair competition. Food trucks parked in my high rent area who are able to serve cheap food because they don't have my overhead is unfair competition."

You present food carts as restaurants without the burdens of "rent, utilities, etc." Consider that they are food service establishments without the luxuries of roofs, seating, alcohol sales, large numbers of staff, large kitchens, and large amounts of storage. Of course a restaurant will have to pay for all that. The question is: What are they doing with it?

If the luxuries restaurants have and food trucks don't have (e.g., roofs, seating, alcohol sales, large numbers of staff, large kitchens, and large amounts of storage) don't make the restaurants more valuable than food trucks, then we may need fewer restaurants and more food trucks.
@35, BB wrote, "I took out a 300k loan and after almost 4 years have paid off half of it. I don't mind competing against other businesses that have the same overhead as me. But once you allow carts and trucks to set up shop a whopping 50 feet away from me, it's changing the rules after the game has already started."

BB, are you suggesting that there are people who might have started a business running a food cart if only there had been talk of such several years ago, but since there wasn't, those people instead spent hundreds of thousands of additional dollars to start restaurants? If so, that's really unfortunate, but do you really think we should continue to bar this other type of business (food carts) just because people invested lots of money in the infrastructure needed to provide services that many of the rest of us don't really want (the things that restaurants have that food carts will never have)? I asked you this previously, but you never answered.

Seattle restaurants: You have many things that a food cart will never have. Please use them to your advantage. If a food cart's food is better than yours, buy from its suppliers and/or hire its staff to prepare food as part of your business. I'd be sorry to see you go, but if you're not offering what people want at the price they're willing to pay, and someone else is, you've been very fortunate to last this long. Please don't ask me to bar that other party from doing business in our neighborhood just to keep your apparently-flawed business model viable.
@32: Food carts don't provide jobs for wait staff, bussers, or dishwashers.
@Phil: What do you think the five and ten year results of your plan would be? What would be the model of an 'efficient' and profitable restaurant? Have you run a profitable or break-even restaurant?

I would think that rent alone would prohibitively impair restaurants from being able to compete on a equal footing with food carts.

I don't know why protectionism is bad. Are restaurants or food carts more beneficial for the local people and community?
for those businesses whining about how food carts have unfair competition because they "don't have the same overhead", maybe you should look in the mirror for your failure. YOU chose to locate in a high-rent location. it was YOUR business model that was flawed. if you are barely making ends meet and a cart/truck selling burgers/pizza/sandwiches 50' away brings your re-envisioned, locally sourced, organic north west fare restaurant to the ground, then you were doing it wrong to begin with.

and @39, what is wrong with you?

1) trucks won't be parking on the sidewalk, they still have to obey vehicular laws. they'll be parked on the street where someone would park a car. carts will be on the sidewalks many of which are clogged currently by coffee shops and restaurants who have requested, and successfully received, permission to have seating on the sidewalk in front of their own business.
2) fun and wonderful competition? are you kidding me? competition is cut-throat. it's about providing a better and/or cheaper product to the customer and letting the consumer make their choice; not protecting your bad business planning skills. one will eventually drive the other out of business? possibly. welcome to capitalism. you've been participating and didn't even know it.
3) i've been to plenty of brick and mortar restaurants that have made me sick; one's where i didn't know if what i ordered was actually beef or chicken. one's where chicken was under-cooked, burgers over-cooked, hair in the sauce. all your arguments about the sanitary conditions of a food truck apply just as much to a brick and mortar restaurant. even more so i would say, because you have the space to store chemicals and cleaners and sinks. but yet, i always see how this and that restaurant have health code violations. so your comment is ignorant and self-serving at best.
@45: I didn't offer any plan. I have no specific experience making restaurants efficient or profitable. I have not run any restaurant.

Zach wrote, "I would think that rent alone would prohibitively impair restaurants from being able to compete on a equal footing with food carts."

I would think the lack of roofs, seating, alcohol sales, large numbers of staff, large kitchens, and large amounts of storage would prohibitively impair food carts from being able to compete on a equal footing with restaurants.
@46: If I understand, you're saying the whole idea of a restaurant is fundamentally flawed from a business perspective (they're stupid for paying rent, wait staff, etc.), and that they're going the way of brick and mortar bookstores? And good riddance?
If Starbucks started parking espresso carts in front of every small coffee shop in the city, I'm guessing all of you food cart douchebags would be singing a different douchebag song.
Between this thread and the asshole restaurant owners who don't want to pay sick leave, I think I need to start cooking for myself more.

Well, considering the monthly "churn" of restaurants closing-and-opening we see on SLOG every month, I guess I'd have to say there's definitely a flaw in the model somewhere...
@51: I attribute the churn to the shitty economy.

People are getting laid off from corporate jobs, and real estate and construction business is drying up, so they gather up their savings and open a cafe/restaurant/bar/club. It's also one of the few career options available to newly arrived immigrants without tech skills.

At the same time, people have less money to spend eating out. So, it's really fucking competitive right now. Food trucks make it more so.

I'm not sure where I stand on this issue. I agree a fella ought to be able to make a living selling food from a truck. It also strikes me as unfair and anti-neighborhood to park a food truck in front of a restaurant that has invested in the neighborhood and siphon off their business. Same goes for parking book carts in front of book stores, espresso carts in front of coffee shops, and marijuana carts in front of dispensaries.
@48 and @52

i don't think you DO understand. did i say anything about brick and mortar restaurants going away and good riddance? nope. my comment was, if your business plan is to sell $2 mexican street tacos from a $15,000+/mo restaurant space and your margins are so low as is that you're barely getting by; you have a flawed business model.

and who's talking about parking a taco truck in front of a mexican restaurant. from what i'm hearing trucks/carts would need to be 50' from an existing restaurant. that's far from "in front of".
Honestly, I'd rather live in a city where every restaurant spilled tables and chairs out onto the sidewalk than live in one with rows and rows of taco shacks with aluminum siding. In other words, I'd rather live in Barcelona than Portland.

Maybe we can do both, sure. But I'm more worried, by a long shot, about how hard it is for restaurants to jump through all the regulatory hoops of creating al fresco dining experiences than I am about making the streets trailer food-friendly.

But the churn occurs during good economic times as well as bad, so it can't be the ONLY reason restaurants go out of business.

And seriously, have you seen the crowds pouring into some of the new joints that have opened up recently, just on the Hill? Poquito's: packed. Skillet: packed. And yet most of the other restaurants in their immediate vicinity seem to be doing just fine (there are exceptions, but I also chalk those up to their general unexceptionalness, for example Grim's and Ciao, to name two), despite the added competition. I really don't see a handful of food trucks in the neighborhood changing that paradigm to any great extent.

The bottom line is that if a sit-down restaurant offers a quality product that people are willing to spend money on, they'll do fine, or conversely, if they can offer something equally as cheap-and-filling as a food truck, but in a more comfortable atmosphere, ditto. OTOH, if their product is of poor-to-mediocre quality and/or the price-point is higher than the quality of product and service demands, then they deserve to be driven out of business by their own mediocrity. If they can't hack it with a few trucks dispensing cheap-but-reasonable quality fare in their neighborhood when others seem to be succeeding despite the additional competition, well, that's how Capitalism is supposed to work, isn't it?
that Dan Nolte guy who was quoted sounds like a pretty awesome guy

Learn what "business models" are.

"@32: Food carts don't provide jobs for wait staff, bussers, or dishwashers."

Let's protect the buggy whip manufacturers too, while we're at it.
I feel like the anti-truck folks are saying some nontruths in order to help their points.

First, there will be no trucks "in front of" a restaurant. There is a 50 foot setback from *any* restaurant. That will probably take care of whole blocks at a time, depending on the number of restaurants on the block.

Second, there will not be food trucks just lined up on the street, end to end. This legislation calls for "zones," and I think there will be a lottery type system to determine who gets the permit -- in other words, the number of food trucks serving to the sidewalk will still be quite limited.

Third, a food truck will not be allowed to "camp out" on the street permanently in these zones. Food trucks actually have regulations too, and they are required to return to their commissary once every 3 or 4 hours, I believe. Plus, theyre a dang TRUCK -- they can only carry so much food, and eventually they're gonna run out. During their lunch times, the popular trucks run out of their hit items by 1pm.

All of this hullabaloo from restaurant owners conveniently skips over a very important point: If you are getting beat by a food truck that is 50 feet away that offers no place to sit, no bathroom, and no alcohol, then you need to fix your shit. You know it and we know it. You just don't want to own up to it.
" It also strikes me as unfair and anti-neighborhood to park a food truck in front of a restaurant that has invested in the neighborhood and siphon off their business."

So should we ban more than one cupcake place in a neighborhood? How many ice cream shops can a block hold? What about bars? All these "siphon off other business".

A dollar taco is not reaching the same market as your 15$ entree.
While I don't support the draconian restrictions some of the restaurant owners are demanding, those who argue that "the sidewalks are public rights-of-way and therefore fuck all adjacent businesses" are a bit lacking in their nuance.

Businesses have a legal obligation to keep the sidewalks in front of their establishments clear of snow, ice, and other obstructions. They have a moral (and possibly legal, depending on the municipality) obligation to keep them clean and free of litter as well.

It stands to reason that a business should have a right to object to an outside usage that causes an adverse effect inside.

Particularly if that adverse effect is noxious grease fumes. About half of The Comet is uninhabitable thanks to the horrible stench wafting through the window. Now imagine if you owned a clothing store, and anyone could just roll up outside and send that stink into your space and garments!

Restaurants have strict ventilation codes, both for safety and to avoid being a nuisance to their neighbors. Food carts and trucks should be required to do the same.

(And what kind of Grade D hot dogs and oil are the Capitol Hill carts using to create that pervasive and horrendous smell, anyway? Do they never clean the things? Or do Capitol Hill drunks just have horrible taste? The Dante's carts in Ballard smell amazing from a block away, yet are somehow imperceptible from within the businesses right next to them.)
I patronize both food stands and restaurants. When I want a restaurant experience, I go to a restaurant. When I want a food stand experience, I go to a food stand. From my personal perspective as a consumer, they don't compete or compare with each other. I usually go to a food stand for a quick bite when I would otherwise just go to a grocery store for a sandwich, or maybe to McDonald's for a Big Mac, or better yet, to Dick's for a burger and fries (yeah, I eat fast food sometimes and am proud of it). So, the food stands are more competing with the grocery stores and fast food establishments, from my perspective anyway. I don't go to a food stand when I want the amenities that a restaurant has to offer.
Lots of bar and restaurant owners take over sidewalks, but never use them such as on 11th Ave.
Regarding food carts:

Portland tried, no one died!

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