In response to your interview in the Park La Brea News / Beverly Press in the article titled, “Mobile Food Trucks are Eating Restaurants’ Lunch.” http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2010/02/mobile-food-trucks-are-eating-restaurants%E2%80%99-lunch/comment-page-1/#comment-61 .
My name is Maxson Smith, and I am the owner/operator of the TastyMeat! truck. I am writing to voice my concern over your public criticism of the burgeoning “Gourmet Food Truck” industry in the aforementioned article. To be frank, I find your comments, especially voiced as such from a respected public figure, to be rather brash and ill-informed - if not prejudiced and discriminatory.
“A lot of businesses in stationary, permitted locations feel it’s unfair competition, and I tend to agree with them,” Koretz said. “There have been problems with these trucks popping up in front of businesses and people’s homes. They’re less of a nuisance in one lot, but I’m not thrilled with that either. I think they work well at construction sites where it’s difficult for workers to have access to other food, but I think that should be their only place in the city.”
It is my opinion that a man of elected public service serves the constituency best by listening to the will of it’s people. If, collectively, the 60-odd “gourmet” food trucks are serving 6000-10000 happy customers per day, how can one possibly believe that they have no place in Los Angeles society? Do you feel the notion of free and unrestricted trade to apply only to business owners in stationary locations? Is, in your interpretation of the law, a long established business guaranteed greater rights of trade than a newly established business? Should I not be able to make the complaint that the local “stationary” restaurants are cutting into my profits? If your answer is no, than your answer is unfairly biased according to your responsibilities as an elected government representative.
By stating that a “lot of businesses in stationary, permitted locations feel it’s unfair competition,” you are giving the people the impression that we are nothing more than a band of illicit gypsies. I am governed by the same Health Department rules and regulations as any other restaurant in Los Angeles county, and am fully permitted and allowed by state and local law to operate in the manner you feel has “no place” in my city. Further, I find it personally insulting that you would relegate the fruits of my endless labor to be “A NUISANCE,” and, at that, a nuisance fit only for construction workers. I am positive that any customer of mine would readily disagree, construction workers included. I would welcome you to come eat from my menu. If you are not wholly satisfied, and if you find your meal to be anything short of delicious and of high quality and worthwhile of repeat business, I am happy to refund you (though the situation has yet to arise for us).
I feel that your comments expose an unfair and unjust bias, most likely based on uninformed and preconceived notions. My profit margin is razor thin, as are the margins of nearly every other food truck in Los Angeles. It is time-consuming, difficult labor, plagued with unforeseen trials and tribulations. I work just as hard, and easily harder for my money than most business owners.
Every day, every week, every month, is pure struggle for myself and my young family. My definition of “unfair” is obviously on the other end of the spectrum than yours. Features like these, with negative and inflammatory comments, are unfair. They serve, unfairly, to further the will of a handful of well-connected brick-and-mortar restaurant owners, and to, unfairly, make my struggle at the American Dream just a bit more difficult.