A FOOD TRUCK from Wautoma was parked on July 4 near the intersection of Mill and South streets in downtown Green Lake. 							 Tim Lyke photo
A FOOD TRUCK from Wautoma was parked on July 4 near the intersection of Mill and South streets in downtown Green Lake. Tim Lyke photo

     Like many restaurants in Green Lake, Adam’s Rib is open year around, pays property taxes, provides jobs, donates to local causes and contributes by virtue of its permanent presence to the fabric of the community.

     Food trucks, on the other hand, are available only when and where crowds gather, pay no property taxes, provide no local jobs, do not donate to their host cities and typically have generators that release more carbon emissions per meal than stationary restaurants.

     Their nomadic existence enables them to flit from festival to grand opening to street carnival.

     It’s a sound business model with low overhead and an ability to maximize sales by only being open at a time and location of its owner’s convenience.

     Adam’s Rib, on the other hand, has committed itself to downtown Green Lake by “parking” at 538 Mill St. for 41 years.  

     Co-owner Jean Adams and her daughter, general manager Rachel Nitz, are proud of the affordable, hometown food they’ve offered patrons in July and January, during sunshine and snowstorms.

     And they don’t begrudge competition.

     But they told the Green Lake Common Council July 1 that they believe in a level playing field, where competitors for diners’ dollars may fairly vie for business based on price, quality and hospitality. “Don’t you think we should have an ordinance of some kind to protect all our restaurants?” Adams asked the council.

     Like many smaller cities, Green Lake has no ordinance on its books regulating food trucks.

     A natural tension between itinerant entrepreneurs and established business owners is particularly acute in a resort town like Green Lake, where commercial spaces sit empty while restaurants run on particularly thin margins during the winter months.

     Whether food trucks are a fad or the future of informal dining, cities such as Green Lake and Ripon — which has its own food truck guidelines — should do their best to provide more equity for property-tax paying businesses. ...
                  — Tim Lyke

To read the entire editorial, including what Ripon requires in its food truck guidelines, see the July 11, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.