After working in the food service industry for several years, Troy King purchased his first food truck in 2014—a gourmet chicken food truck called Pollo. He offers his customers a range of dishes, including chicken and waffles, fried chicken tacos, chicken gyros, and fried chicken sandwiches. By 2015, Troy had expanded his business by buying a bus and converting it into a second food truck. Troy also continues to buy old buses and vans, converting them into food trucks and reselling them to food truck entrepreneurs around the country.
In September 2016, Troy was operating Pollo in downtown Louisville when a city inspector threatened to issue a citation and tow his truck simply because Troy was serving customers within 150 feet of Cravings ala Carte, a restaurant in the basement of the PNC Building that also serves chicken. Troy was forced to abandon his vending location and his customers.
Troy worries that he can be shut down and forced to abandon his vending location anytime a nearby restaurant claims it sells similar food, or modifies its menu to add an item similar to something he offers. Plans to expand his vending business to other locations around the city invariably run into the proximity ban’s requirement that he obtain written approval from every brick-and-mortar competitor within 150 feet. As a result, Troy must avoid large swaths of Louisville’s good vending locations where it’s convenient for customers to find him.
How Louisville Helps Restaurants Shut Down Their Food-Truck Competition, and How IJ Is Going to Stop It.
City Council members in Louisville worked closely with established brick-and-mortar restaurants to keep out food truck competition. IJ secured a federal court order barring the city from discriminating against food trucks and then successfully worked…