It sounds like a tasty idea -- a delicious niche.
I recently came across this video interviewing Jeffrey Dermer of the law firm of Dermer and Behrendt. Among his food truck clients, he represents the Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association.
He sells freedom, and how food trucks should appeal for different reasons to the left and right in this county.
Maybe the way to look at it is that, like most of us, business people who proclaim they believe in competition, free markets, and lack of government intervention in ways that inhibit the so-called "job creators" suffer from situational ethics. For example, some people who believe in immigration do not when those ethnic types or nationalities they do not appreciate try to immigrate to our country. Likewise, restaurants and food vendors believe in free markets until it is they that find themselves in competition or at a disadvantage. Then they want the government to bail them out in the form of regulation. In short, businesspeople really do not want competition, and those making their money in the markets do not want free markets. They want business or profits, but each would prefer a monopoly. I have always related to the difference between a developer and an environmentalist. A developer is someone that wants to build a house in the woods. An environmentalist is some that already owns a house in the woods. The same may describe the tension between restaurants and food vendors with their new food trucks counterparts. I have not met many older attorneys that do not believe there are too many lawyers. Yet, most law school students believe that there is at least a deficit of one. And, for time and eternity this has always been true.
This is especially true with the rise of the gourmet food truck. Maybe established businesses do not complain too much when a food truck goes to a construction site. But, what about when a gourmet food truck hits the city streets?
There are now gourmet food truck festivals for example. Increasingly, there are mobile food truck gatherings. There are mobile food truck bazaars. Magazines like Businessweek are starting to list the tastiest mobile meal spots. There are websites dedicated to helping you locate food trucks. There are TV shows on food trucks. Just get online. What you will find on food trucks, and especially the new gourmet trend, is enormous. And, this does not count the other mobile vendor issues. Read all of it.
Gourmet food trucks are a trend. Entrepreneur magazine published a short article on how to start a mobile food business. The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled Food Truck Nation. One food truck in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida partner with strikers as their official food truck. Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs is holding a conference on selling without a store that features the food truck business.
There are manufactures that sell food truck, such as Armenco.
In addition to the Southern California Association, there is the New York City Food Truck Association, DC Food Truck Association, St. Louis Food Truck Association, Wilmington Food Truck Association, Tallahassee Food Truck Association, and new associations are being established all of the time.
The point is that in investigating any new practice niche, and in obtaining client referrals, it is important that you can find the people, places, organizations, associations and entities that can help you do this.
And think you do not know enough to venture into this niche? In reality, you do not have to know anything. You start how I started my search. Find everything concerning food trucks and the the business online. Make notes. Absorb everything. Then make lists of those that you need to speak with to get affirmation and guidance. Find the agencies in your area that in any way regulate food trucks and make contact. Find food trucks online and go talk to the operators about everything they faced or now face to get in and stay in business. I will bet you this much -- laws, rules, regulations and lawyers are involved.
What seems obvious is that where you have local brick and mortar businesses in this country you will have people trying to restrict competition. So, it seems the law of mobile vending is really that simple. There are also obvious issues such as obtaining licenses, permits, inspections and the like.
Food truck law probably falls under the larger umbrella of hospitality law. But, this is were it is possible to carve out a niche. I would suppose that most food trucks and organizations cannot afford the overhead of these large hospitality law firms.
Maybe it is time you start investigating this area of law on your own.