Chris Morales, the only guy to successfully establish a mobile food vendor business in Bethlehem, is going to be running for Bethlehem City Council, and I think his entry into the race provides a great opening to inject the issue of overhauling Bethlehem’s anti-competitive food vendor ordinance into the discussion.
I’ve written about this here, here and here, but basically the issue is that a few years ago Bethlehem’s politicians hastily wrote some regulations with the goal of making it inordinately difficult to run a mobile food business in response to some Southside businesses whining about competition.
The ordinance succeeded at its aims apparently, because Bethlehem only has one mobile food business.
People who don’t want any competition from nimble low-overhead food businesses have good reason to cheer this outcome, but people who like eating good affordable food need to rise up against this bullshit. Mediocre businesses are the only beneficiaries of the current rules. For everyone else it means fewer choices and higher prices.
City Council needs to adopt this model vendor ordinance that would make it very easy to open mobile food businesses, promote competition between restaurants mobile and immobile, and improve the city’s food scene and its customers.
They might even consider creating a revolving loan fund for people who want to start new mobile food businesses.