Get out and eat at the Food Truck event tonight if you want to see hot and trendy options come to Smyrna. Smyrna citizen enthusiasm for tonight’s big event at Taylor Brawner made me venture out to the Howell Mill food truck park to get some perspective. While I was there, I enjoyed an incredible Big Green Egg grilled burger from the menu of Smyrna’s own Happy Belly. Muss and Turners, the brick and mortar establishment at Ivy Walk is the only place I’d heretofore purchase a beef burger. Happy Belly, its leadership having been involved with Muss & Turners, is now a second option for this connoisseur class of burger!
At first blush I sort of yawned at the food truck news. Having served on Smyrna’s Business Incentive Task Force, I am a big fan for incentivizing Smyrna business growth for the sake of increasing revenues for necessary city services (not to mention local jobs and homeownership). We must be mindful however not to have municipalities get too involved in running and managing retail business events. Past have stated local private citizen Bettie Cagle is managing this event. The challenge for Smyrna’s City Council and administration is to open the door for business without attempting to control or influence consumer retail interests. The latter, creating consumer market demand for retail food establishments should be left to local businesses and entrepreneurs. Ideally, the demand for food truck events in Smyrna will be enough to stimulate private business and/or non-profit interest in organizing and hosting. Moreover, allowing the free market to meet consumer demands avoids unrealistic, and often costly expectations that the city’s resources, time and talent should create retail business. That’s a confusing misconception about the city’s role. Bottom line, you grow locally owned businesses by allowing local businesses to provide business services. It’s good to hear that Happy Belly is involved and that a private citizen is managing the event.
Remaining engaged in the organizing and planning of a retail event such as this requires great fiscal caution. For example, vendor fees collected by the city should take into account the total cost of managing and operating the event. City resources are established on the basis of local governance by tax paying and (sometimes) voting citizens. Cost accounting for facility debt retirement, if any, event set-up staffing, supply resources used, grounds maintenance, etc. should be taken into consideration when establishing fees for vendor spaces at Taylor Brawner Park. If the vendor fee is too low, vendor interest may be based on a low cost of doing business that can’t be repeated for a long term establishment. That may be acceptable by the citizens who enjoy the unique dining opportunity but not by local establishments whose true cost of doing business, complete with property taxes, rent, fees, signage, etc. is much greater.
Other Pro Business Positives
- Keeps Properties on the Market - A municipality or property ownercan earn lease revenue from an unused property while keeping It on themarket. A local lot/business owner facing foreclosure may find hosting a food truck event their saving grace.
- Adds to the Business Mix - A slow retail spot can become a hotlocation with increased traffic by featuring food truck "star performers."
- Local Establishment Promotion - Local establishments might find starting a food truck themselves gives them a considerable advantage over these park and feed strangers. Business owners know that it's the free market that allowed them to open up in the first place.
- Low Risk Investor/Owner Research - A restauranteur considering new locations to open a brick and mortar can test market an area beforemaking a long term commitment. The coolest trucks will seek the most profitable locations.
My always hungry 4 year old son dreams of creating a car he says, "won'tbe so boring like yours daddy." In his imagination this car drives itself while hegets all his parent's attention in the backseat. The best feature he'sproposed comes from the highway itself. Moving restaurants that zip up next to your beach bound vehicle and delivers your food while in still in transit. Now that’s promise for a Happy Belly! See you at Taylor Brawner!
Written from my perch at - Yum!
Remember! If we want smaller government, we must become bigger people. LeoSmithtweets
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