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Food Truck Thursdays May be Coming to Alpharetta

The city's Special Events manager is proposing 18 events this year, and 28 in 2014.

Alpharetta residents who liked the food truck event in downtown Alpharetta last year should show their support at the City Council meeting tonight, as a proposal would add 11 Thursday night visits by the food trucks. Eighteen of the events would be scheduledfor the year.

The city's Special Events manager, Kim Dodson, said Alpharetta would partner with Fork In the Road to save $2,450 for each event. The cost for a single food truck event to the city would be $3,352, for a total of $44,100 for 18 events.

The city plans to model its events after Smyrna's successful "Smyrna Food Truck Tuesdays. Each event would include food trucks offering varing cuisine each week with music and beverages. Incorporated into the events would be different themes that may include a holiday or engaging element to offer variations. The community would come downtown from spring to fall for an Alpharetta street party.

Dodson said in her report that with 28 food truck visits planned for 2014, the cost would rise to $93,856 for the year.

Major cost components include: advertising, staff, safety (e.g. cones, barricades, message boards, etc.), rental/setup/breakdown of the sound equipment, tables, chairs, tents, dumpsters, trash cans, port-o-potties, etc.

An option would exist for one restaurant to participate each week along with the food trucks. And Special Events staff  will also work towards participation of downtown businesses and/or sponsors at the event.

Tom Miller February 04, 2013 at 05:41 PM
Why would City of Alpharetta taxpayers, which include restaurant owners, subsidize food trucks to compete with our restaurants that are trying to stay in business? Government should not compete with private industry. Also, if this effort is to help all Alpharetta businesses that are paying for it, the trucks should have events throughout the City (Windward Parkway, North Point Mall Area, Old Milton Parkway), not just downtown.
Rich Dennis February 04, 2013 at 07:08 PM
Tom, you are correct. We all want a vibrant city where people come from around the area to spend their money and drive revenue for local businesses. But it is unfair to spend taxpayer dollars to subsidize these food truck businesses when there are local restaurants that have invested (risked) 10+ times the amount of time, money, and effort to open their business. In the restaruant business (I own two) weather is a significant driving force to revenue. Many restaurants fight to get through the cold and rainy days and months only to make their money during the good weather. Now the city is going to allow these low investment businsses to come in and compete during the prime business times with businesses that took significnatly more risk in opening in our city. There are also a myriad of other issues I could bring up: Do they pay the same licensing fees as a restaurant? Property taxes to our city? Are they inspected with the same scrutiny and frequency by the health department? Where do they prepare their food and is it inspected? Are their servers properly trained and certified? Are they properly insured?
Bringing Knowledge February 04, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Let's educate everyone that raises the same questions in every article about food trucks. Food truck vendors also suffer and suffer more during the winter months and inclement weather periods because they don't have indoor sit-down conveniences. These businesses go through the same and dare I say more scrutiny by health inspectors because they are mobile. They pay more fees than your typical restaurant because they need permits for both commissary and food truck, which also reflects two separate health scores. They pay taxes for every county and city they operate in. Health inspectors verify employees are properly trained during random inspections. Also their insurance policy is equal to or more than that of a restaurant because it is a mobile business. In all honesty, if you're concerned about food trucks taking away business one day out of the week, then you should focus your concern on your business not the food trucks. Did you know that food trucks also help stimulate the economy, so in essence it helps bring awareness to the community and surrounding businesses. You can learn alot about this industry on Google. :-)
Tom Miller February 04, 2013 at 10:55 PM
It is not the role of City taxpayers to subsidize competitors for its businesses. It makes more sense to tax rather than subsidize the food trucks for using free public space to earn their revenue. This will cost the City taxpayers $94,000 per year.
No Name February 05, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Aren't we already subsidizing downtown significantly? How much were the urns? How much annually does it cost to water and change out the plants seasonally? How much are the lights? Didn't they just spend thousands on some new lightpole banners -- and from what I saw, you couldn't even read the funky writing on them? How much do we spend on all the various festivals and farmer's market? How much was the gazebo that will soon be torn down? This is not including the money being spent on the downtown renovation project. This just seems inherently unfair to other businesses in our City that don't happen to be located downtown. I guess this is what they call downtown socialism?
No Name February 05, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Nice gig if you can get it.
PhatNate February 05, 2013 at 04:32 AM
I don't think 3 or 4 hours of food trucks in the middle of a Saturday afternoon is going to destroy anyone's restaurant business. It's all about getting people out and about and turning Alpharetta downtown into an area that might actually have regular Saturday crowds. If you own a restaurant find a way to get yourself noticed. What’s a typical Saturday like downtown right now? Not much. If you don’t live here you’d never know where downtown was. Think City Center. Think Avalon. Changes are coming.
No Name February 05, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Thank you for making my point. It is up to the individual businesses to get themselves noticed, not taxpayer subsidies. If downtown businesses want to be noticed, they need to get together and sponsor their own festivals, not use my money to get noticed. This is wrong and unprincipled. And to think we have people in our City government who identify themselves as "conservatives." They don't even know what that means. Obviously not schooled in the origins of our founding.
Travis Allen February 05, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Why is the city subsidizing this? Why don't they just charge the food truck vendors for the events instead?
Just the facts, Ma'am February 05, 2013 at 03:11 PM
The fact is, and it is a fact, just check with the restaurants near the events like this in other cities, these events actually bring a lot of people in and the restuarants actually get increased business out of it. The whole point is to revitalize downtown and get more business for the downtown businesses, and that includes the restaurants. Go talk to some business owners, and I am sure they will tell you these events have helped them a lot. In fact, it is them who requested more events downtown. Also, if you feel so strongly about it, go to a Council meeting and get your voice heard. Opinions on blogs are just that, opinions with nothing to back them up...

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