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Boone County / Hamilton County

Can mobile, brick-and-mortar eateries coexist in 'burbs?

April 15, 2013
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It remains to be seen whether Fishers’ new rules for mobile businesses will increase food truck traffic in the Hamilton County town—and what impact their arrival could have on established restaurants.

Opponents of the ordinance say opening Fishers to food trucks puts traditional restaurants at a disadvantage, given the overhead that comes with a brick-and-mortar location.

Mobile vendors say they have expenses of their own, not the least of which is fuel for their gas-guzzling trucks. Still, the concerns are understandable, if misguided, said Adam Perry, a Cicero resident who sells Indian-inspired tacos from his Taco Lassi truck—mostly in Indianapolis.

“A lot of people still don’t understand food trucks,” he said. “We’re not corporate raiders, coming in and taking business and profits overseas.”

The point of a mobile business is, well, being mobile. So food trucks rarely return to the same location day after day, and Perry said that’s not likely to change in the suburbs.

“If you park in one spot, you’re just like anybody else,” he said. Instead, food trucks keep moving and find customers via social media. “When we show up, it’s an event.”

Indeed, most of their trips to the ’burbs so far have been for special events on private property—at the invitation of business owners looking for a treat.

Perry and other members of the Indy Food Truck Alliance said they don’t have any desire to harm their brick-and-mortar competitors.

Noblesville resident Tirajeh Jones, for example, turned down an invitation for her Cutie Pie’s Pizza truck to park in front of the Upland Tasting Room on College Avenue in Indianapolis after she noticed a Little Caesar’s Pizza across the street.

“I wouldn’t do that to any restaurant,” she said. “We’re all just trying to make a living, bringing great food to people.”

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