Obviously, Streetside Parking means more supply of places for mobile units to operate. But it is what the local industry plans to use it is where we all benefit.
First, we can mobilize to food deserts in Raleigh’s growing Downtown area. When you look at the downtown landscape, there are places that are very popular: Moore Square, Fayetteville Street, and Glenwood South. However, we have new areas where businesses are taking risks to grow. However, our food service industry hasn’t had a chance to survey the market to see if it is economically viable. This is where a food truck’s small footprint and lower risk in real estate can benefit all interest parties. We can offer a supply of food service to meet the consumer’s demand to ditch the brown bag. However, in order to do so, food trucks need a place to park. Buildings downtown are not structured like corporate parks in our outlying areas with abundant space to park a truck in. We need to occupy space beside buildings. This is where allowing a food truck for Streetside operation is valuable.
Second, food trucks are still popular in our culture. We also have a retail operations coming back downtown. However, some traditional marketing and promotion may not be enough. A food truck can offer additional promotional opportunities. They can park outside a Grand Opening, an Anniversary party, or specific promotions to draw guests. It also can help stimulate buzz for a specific district, if allowed to have multiple trucks parked. It can also allow for guests to stay longer at retail establishments, because of a food option. It can also allow some of grassroots markets to expand. For outdoor markets located in parking lots, imagine those spaces where food trucks occupied replaced with more vendors. This is another area where food trucks operating Streetside will benefit others.
Lastly, Streetside operation will help Raleigh incubate food business start-ups. As businesses will attest, a new customer costs more than retaining a customer. Some food trucks may operate as a mobile business for their business life. But some food trucks may be a previous step to a further business model. It could be advertising for a catering business, it could be establishing brand awareness for a retail/packaging business, or it could be to advertising or establishing a brick and mortar location. If Raleigh allows more mobile food business opportunities, a mobile food business may be more apt in opening their next stages in Raleigh.
New Orleans’ Garden District uses food trucks to bring awareness to their Magazine Street local and small businesses.
If you have similar feelings as I and want to help build these opportunities, please reach out to the City and let them know. By doing this you are telling them you don’t want to brown bag your lunch, give retail stores without a parking lot an opportunity to have a food truck, and tell them you want Raleigh to be known as food truck friendly. Without our voices, they will not see the demand for more mobile food opportunities. Only together we can make this happen.
This important vote goes down today: Tuesday December 1st!
How to contact your elected officials
Office Phone: 919-996-3050