Food Truck Owners Rally Against Overregulation

Culinary entrepreneurs says multiple permits & inspections affect their profits

Salt Lake City - SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) - This Is The Place Heritage Park was the place for gourmet food trucks Wednesday night.

13 of them including Cupbob, Waffle Love and Chow Truck served hundreds of hungry patrons during the "Rally For Food Truck Freedom".

"Absolutely delicious," Tyler Berry said between bites. "So many good foods. Barbecue, Asian cuisine, funnel cakes, hot dogs. All kinds of stuff."

The key to good journalism is researching the topic so Good 4 Utah's Rick Aaron did his share. And several other people's shares.

It was all tasty but the operators of these mobile diners say Utah's laws leave a bad taste in their mouths.

Sean Hintze is the owner of Sean's Smokehouse, the name of his restaurant in Saratoga Springs and his year-old food truck.

"With my food truck I have to license in every single city that I'm going to work in," Hintze told ABC4 Utah News. "I have to have a health department inspection in every county I want to work in and I have to have a fire inspection in every different county I want to work in. The regulations are so overboard that it's probably driving a lot of food trucks out of business."

Connor Boyack is the President of Libertas Institute, a free market think tank.

"In every city in which they operate they have to pay fees," Boyack said. "They're having to jump through a lot of regulatory hoops. That's not something that happens to contractors or catering companies. They get one permit and they go wherever they want."

It seems like everybody loves food trucks. Well, everybody except the owners of brick and mortar restaurants who say they're taking a bite out of their business.

Chris Carver is the owner and founder of Tonyburgers. He and his brother Tony have four locations along the Wasatch Front and are working to open a 5th next week in South Jordan. They've seen their business sometimes fall off when the food trucks roll in.

"We obviously have more overhead," Chris Carver said. "We're not afraid of competition as long as it's fair. I just want it to be fair. If we're paying fees that they don't have to pay that doesn't sound fair to me but if we're level playing field, yeah bring it on."

Meanwhile the Libertas Institute and the Food Truck League will be pushing the legislature to pass a reciprocity law.

"So that food trucks can get licensed and inspected and regulated in one city," Boyack explained. "And the other cities would just recognize and honor that permit so they don't have the redundancy of all the fees and all the hoops to jump through."


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