When it comes to bad vending laws in the United States, Sarasota County, Fla., takes the cake (and all the other good eats, too).
In the world of mobile vending, some local governments enact “proximity bans” that forbid food trucks and carts from operating near brick-and-mortar restaurants. Lawmakers sometimes try to pass these off as necessary to protect the public’s health and safety–and other times, they acknowledge them for what they actually are: attempts to protect brick-and-mortar businesses from the competition of food trucks.
Sarasota County enforces a whopping 800-foot proximity restriction—one of the largest the Institute for Justice has ever seen. This is coupled with a “consent exemption,” which means that mobile vendors can do business within 800 feet of a brick-and-mortar if the restaurant’s owner allows it. This is naked economic protectionism, and it’s unconstitutional.
Sarasota’s laws are bad for business, bad for consumers, and bad for economic liberty. Every person should be free to earn an honest living free from arbitrary and anti-competitive government interference.
Tell your county commissioner to support Sarasota’s food trucks and reform the county’s vending laws by eliminating the proximity ban!
You can stay up-to-date and find out what else you can do to help by visiting the website of SRQ Food Truck Alliance, a group of over 20 mobile vendors fighting to reform Sarasota’s vending ordinances.