As food trucks continue to spread across the United States, many brick-and-mortar restaurants are struggling to fend off new competition from mobile eateries. Some restaurateurs feel the mobile eateries have unfair advantages, such as fewer regulatory burdens and the ability to move to where the crowds are and shut down in bad weather.
But in an interesting twist, some food trucks are envious of stationary restaurants—and want a piece of the action.
Verde Food Truck in Boulder, Colorado has sold Sonora-style Mexican cuisine since summer 2011. While the truck has done well, the business’s growth has been stunted by the fact that there’s only so much room to cook inside the truck, few customers in bad weather and city regulations prohibiting it from selling alcohol. Last week, Verde’s owners T.J. Ingraham and Mike "Seth" Sethney opened a new restaurant in downtown Boulder called Verde.
"It's awesome ... dream come true," Ingraham told Boulder’s Daily Camera. "It's nice to come in and have a margarita with the burrito.”
In Buffalo, New York, the Black Market Food Truck, which sells gourmet sandwiches, has spawned a new restaurant called Marble + Rye that will have 70 tables and sell “New American cuisine with a global influence,” including specialty burgers and steaks.
In North Carolina, several food trucks in Raleigh and Durham have recently announced plans to open stationary restaurants. Tootie’s Mobile Kitchen recently started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in order to raise $25,000 to open Tootie’s Bar on Rigsbee Street in downtown Durham. (The campaign has only raised 6 percent of its goal so far, though.)
The influx of food truck operators opening brick-and-mortar restaurants shows the power of new business models to shake up industries and, in turn, fuel their own economic growth. Food trucks are hurting some existing restaurants, but they are also driving the creation of new ones.
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