Food Trucks by the beach. Could they lead to more vacant storefronts?

The other day I wrote how local-operated food trucks were apparently coming to the beach this summer (read- food Trucks are coming to the Beach this Summer). Newsday posted article on the topic as well (read- Long Beach to allow food stands at the beach). Of course this is Long Beach, so with any plan comes great controversy. While most agree that the beach needs more food options, some feel these beach-side food trucks will hurt our downtowns.

The following was sent in by a concerned LB resident:

With this new proposal, anyone with 20 or 30k to get a food truck can open up shop on the most prized real estate in town and reap the benefits essentially rent free. Why would anyone spend hundreds of thousands (upwards of a million for something like corbin and reynolds) to renovate and equip any of these empty store fronts, then pay 10+ thousand a month in rents and taxes just to compete with gypsies who would now have the advantage of  better location. Most long beach businesses only make money in the summer months. Lucky ones break even in the off season…most lose money. While it is undeniable that most beach goers would welcome these food trucks and they would create a draw to the beach that is greatly needed right now, in the long term it would lead to more and more vacant storefronts.

I’ve been a proponent of food trucks, but this argument is a valid one. Of course, you can say “have great food and you don’t have to worry about it.” But, the convenience factor alone might be enough to hurt our two downtowns.

Keep in mind: we don’t know all the facts on these food trucks just yet. If it’s true that they are coming this summer, maybe there is a way we can at least tell people about other places around town. Perhaps a bulletin board with a food map? A restaurant directory? Allow places to advertise beach delivery service? I’m just throwing a few ideas out there…

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25 thoughts on “Food Trucks by the beach. Could they lead to more vacant storefronts?”

  1. Sounds like valid points, but why aren’t the local restaurants leading this charge? I have it on good authority that Sugo and Swings are planning on being apart of it.

  2. Four anecdotal examples of what food trucks do:

    1) While visiting San Francisco, I looked up the locations of the food truck parks so I could sample some local food at an affordable price. I visited an area I would not have gone to otherwise, and decided what sorts of restaurants I wanted to visit while I was there based on what I ate.

    2) While at a music and food festival I sampled food at 5 different food trucks in one day. All of those trucks have restaurants…Over the next year, I drove 40-75 minutes each way to dine at 4 of those 5 restaurants.

    3) I visit Smorgasburg every summer where Brooklyn restaurants showcase their food. I go to discover quality restaurants…if their food from a truck (or cart, or even just a cooler, hot plate and table) is good, imagine what they can do in a full kitchen!

    4) I went to Red Hook Brooklyn solely for their Latin food trucks and to enjoy a nice day outside. I got together a large group of friends to meet at the food trucks and picnic. After eating lunch and watching some soccer on the field. We walked around Red Hook, (I had never had a reason to go there before) shopped in a few stores, stopped in a local watering hole for a few drinks with friends, then found a restaurant nearby for dinner.

    These are my personal experiences, but I am not the only one that has had experiences like this because of food trucks. Change can have positive impacts. Food trucks offer quality food for lower prices and fast service. If people are out at the beach, they don’t necessarily want to go inside for a formal lunch anyway. If the local restaurants are involved it is a great way to get their food out there and attract repeat customers to their trucks and restaurants. I hope Duke Falcon’s, Geri’s, the Craperie, and Chaba’s new noodle shop get involved.

  3. IMHO, I’s like to keep them AWAY form the block on Edwards and on National, those 2 block are a big problem with traffic and parking.
    So I wish that they would keep that in mind.

  4. A Chaba’s noodle truck sounds really great. That could work.
    Not so sure about Gerie’s on a truck.
    But a Craperie truck sounds really good. That place has been a sleeper for a long time. If you folks haven’t tried it yet, you are really missing the boat. It would do great, and that’s exactly the kind of food that would sell of a truck.
    Even a sushi truck from Nagahama would be incredible but I doubt if Mr.Hide would get involved.
    I think that Duke Falcon’s has enough trouble getting , back on track without thinking about expanding any further. I was there about 10 days ago and things were far from normal. The food was FAR from where is should be, I have the feeling that either they changed chefs or that they were bringing in food from somewhere, perhaps even buying frozen food and nuking it.
    Also how about a Gino’s Pizza truck? Everybody loves a slice from Gino’s.
    And a Tex-Mex truck from the Cabana might do well, really really like that place!
    Main thing is to keep the place where ever it may be, clean and not in a residential area where it will get the neighbors angry. That space between the two lots, where they have that little ice-cream shack may work.

  5. As for your original question Food Trucks by the beach. Could they lead to more vacant storefronts?
    Yes they can and yes I think that they will.
    First off, why would a restaurant owner want to invest all that money to compete with himself? It don’t make sense. So if this comes to be, then we will most definitely see truck from outside of Long beach competing with the Long Beach restaurants, and guess who will win? The Trucks because they are going to milk the Lunch Hour and they won’t have the over-head that the Stores have.
    Bottom line, the brick and mortar restaurants pay a lot of money to do business in the city,, and to allow food trucks to come in, in direct competition, when they don’t pay the same freight as the the brick and mortar restaurants do is wrong!
    If you are going to have competition between food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants , the Food Trucks are going to win with NO contest.
    We much NOT discourage restaurants from opening, re-modeling, and expanding by bringing in new competition.
    After Sandy, there are so many restaurants who have either closed or have had some real hardships . Lets not bring them any more.

  6. It simply will not work. Yes the food tricks will do well if that’s the plan, but to say this will help the restaurant owners is BS. It will hurt them dearly. No question. And it just is not right. It’s a lame-brain idea .
    I say forget it.

  7. Anthony I am goint to sue you for the minutes I lost reading this blog entry and the subsequent comments some of which were just stupid.

    I

  8. The city people coming off the train don’t eat in the local sit down restaurants because there is no place to take a shower, change your clothes, and store your beach stuff. Those restaurants with sit down won’t really be affected. The restaurants who have window service or that is beach sand friendly are only a few on the main strip near train. To be honest most don’t serve quality food that these city people are use too.
    The truth is they aren’t going to bring in the cool food trucks like you see in the city it will be the local shops who want to participate. I am sure the city will be charging for the space and privilege to set up near the beach. How much is a food spot near National worth 10K?

  9. food trucks would not necessarily increase traffic and parking unless you have insight into a new trend of people driving to food trucks as they drive to restaurants. I have yet to read of a car-hop food truck.

    Food trucks do not increase motorized vehicle traffic, they do increase foot traffic.

    The issue you have could be solved with better public transportation.

  10. That really doesn’t happen. People getting off the train walk straight down, some stop at the smaller counter service places but hardly anyone is stopping for lunch at Duke’s before hitting the sand. If you watch they come off the train and head straight down. Why do restaurants close in Long Beach? Terrible food and service plain and simple

  11. Did you take a poll? They don’t stop at Dukes for 2 reasons, First of all he opens too late!
    Secondly, his prices are a bit higher than the rest of the places.
    Sutton place gets the crowd, because his prices are better and his burgers, wraps, salads etc are better.

  12. They will be double-parking somewhere to serve food, along with potentially long lines of people, which would cause traffic problems. Luckily I doubt the city will let a food truck near the precious Allegria so I’m not too worried about National Blvd.

  13. Peter you really think City people getting off the 10am or noon trains are stopping at Sutton Place? I know if I was on an hr train heading to the beach I would either
    A. Pack my own yummy lunch in a cooler and head straight down
    B. Stop at one of the few places that offer counter service… but If I come often I will quickly learn LB doesn’t have much in the way of good food. I would head straight down…

  14. I think the food trucks are a great idea. People would have a place to eat while visiting the beach. I do think local businesses should get the first opportunity to have trucks but it should also be open to other restaurants as well. As long as they are not connected to the local hack politicians.

  15. The place for people who want to have a place to eat while visiting the beach, is on the Boardwalk.
    NOT on the streets where we would be getting a mess of garbage, Contributing to the parking and traffic problems . Competing with the local restaurants and what ever.

  16. I think that’s a great idea… there is no where to get food or drinks for the majority of the beach other than ice cream stands at the entrances. It would be cool to have 5-10 booths along the boardwalk where food can be made and sold, much like at the craft fair. In my opinion the food is the biggest attraction to the craft fair (and probably the biggest moneymakers).

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