Food Tribe Blog Post #3 - LA's Food Fight: Sit Down Restaurants vs. Street Food Vendors
Restaurants are not happy. Street Vendors are coming, and many restaurant owners feel as though they're not playing by the rules.
Street vending is technically illegal in LA; Los Angeles Municipal Code 42.00(b) bans the use of sidewalks for food vending, imposing fines of up to $1,000 and/or 6 months in jail on street vendors, regardless of their compliance with LA County Health Department’s food preparation standards.
In our opinion, the penalties don't always fit the crime, with independent street vendors oftentimes facing thousands of dollars in fines when convicted of multiple violations.
That's not to say that the issue of street vendors is one to be easily dismissed. Their have been some pretty serious concerns raised from local community members that need to be heard. Some of our favorite local LA restaurants owners are among those voices. Chief among them are perceived disadvantages including vendors' ability to park in front of a brick and mortar restaurant location, and poach foot traffic.
Does this sound familiar? A few years ago we saw a similar issue hit LA when food trucks started becoming popular.
There's a solution, we just don't know what it is yet.
The city of Los Angeles is weighing a proposal to regulate street vending on Tuesday, which would then allow vendors to freely sell their goods on city streets, with vendors paying permit fees and operating in special areas.
The Los Angeles Street Vendor Campaign has been campaigning for proposal adoption, sponsoring a recent study that found that if taxed and regulated, LA's food street vendors would be able to contribute $517M in local economic stimulus. That's a lot money.
Conservative figures estimate that there are over 10,000 street vendors operating on the sidewalks of Los Angeles, which shows that there's a demand! People (including us) like their street meat. But its true, they probably need to be regulated.
Let's stay tuned to the results of Tuesday's council meeting and hope we're able to come up with a solution that puts a smile on everyone's faces :)