December 22nd, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

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wweek.com readers comment on “Cartpocalypse”

“We all know the rules for mobile units going in. It’s clearly stated in their handouts and on the website that any remodeling, menu changes or location change plans need to be submitted to the Environmental Health Dept.-Mobile Unit Division for initial processing/approval. It’s also stated that owners will have to inquire with other agencies such as Building/Zoning, Fire Marshal, etc.

The Goodmans are not expected to know regulations for government agencies; that’s the responsibility of the cart owner. If you failed to follow procedure, you only have yourself to blame.

…Once you’ve attached a structure to your “mobile” cart, you are no longer mobile and have to follow a different set of regulations for brick-and-mortar restaurants.

We’ve had our cart for over 10 years. The addition of new carts hasn’t hurt us at all. In fact, we feel more carts in the lot have drawn more customers.

If you deliver a quality product, consistent and reliable service, you will have continued business.—Sausage Queen

“Last week in Tucson a food cart with propane at a neighborhood fair blew up, injuring three people. It will happen in Portland soon. I wonder if Leonard will visit the burn victims in the hospital and then pay out $1.5 million per person for not enforcing code?” —Jerry

“…Yes, there are many food carts in Portland, and yes, a LOT of them won’t make it to next summer. But that is the case with any new restaurant, not to mention many other sectors of the economy at the moment. One of the most widely used statistics for new restaurants is that 95 percent of them won’t make it past the first year (Educational Institute for Hospitality Management at MSU source). Food carts are no exception to this rule. To think of food carts as anything other than a restaurant operation is absurd. Sure there are many carts out there that put out sub-par food, but the EXACT same thing could be said about restaurants. The fact is there is an outstanding number of actually talented chefs putting out amazing food from carts.

In this economy where banks aren’t lending, and commercial real estate is pricey, carts are the only viable option for those of us who dream of getting our businesses off the ground. For many, it’s a step toward opening an actual restaurant.…Perhaps there’s a misconception about how well educated/trained many food cart owners are. Ask around—many have thorough business plans.

I was under the impression Portlanders loved supporting small business, DIY and good food. After reading this article, it seems more like we love to criticize those who are doing something that they are truly passionate about. Disheartening indeed. —Jargus

 
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