DC Food Trucks threatened by establishment

It’s an all out food fight in Washington DC. Major restaurants are trying to kick food trucks to the curb, or in this case off of the curbs in the nation's capital, because something about competition leaves a bad taste in their mouths.

There is a battle brewing between some of the big, established restaurants in Washington DC and a new way of dining that has become appetizing to so many- Food Trucks.

It’s estimated there are now 80 food trucks just within city limits.  And with an average of five people working on each, that is more than 400 jobs here.  But they’re jobs that are now under threat by people working in the more established restaurant community.

The Fojol Brothers truck is the first ever food truck in Washington DC.

 “We say we’re in the business of selling curry and happiness,” said Huda Aziz, Fojol Brothers' chief operating officer.

They served their first batch of curry and happiness on January 20,  2009 – the day of President Obama’s inauguration, and have been going strong every since.

“The DC food trucks is a very Washington social phenomenon because we get to enjoy each other’s company while we obtain the food but we get to avoid the social anxiety and wasted time of actually having to share it with each other,” said Food Truck Patron Basil White

But their success is under threat.

Attorney Bert Gall, with The Institute for Justice, calls it an old-fashioned David and Goliath conflict.

 “Ultimately it is about the little guy who has fought so hard to start a business and all of a sudden faces a challenge from a powerful, politically connected competitor who wants to squash the entrepreneur,” Gall said.

He says it’s a trend now spreading across the country.

In Raleigh, NC, food trucks must park more than 50 feet away from restaurants and are not allowed in the downtown area.  In New Jersey there is a one hour duration restriction and trucks must operate 100 feet away from one another and 300 feet away from brick and mortar restaurants.  Roving restaurants are banned altogether in the old town district of Monrovia, CA.

“All of our cases involve small entrepreneurs who’s hopes and dreams hang in the balance because established political interests want to stop them from competing, stop them from entering into the marketplace,” Gall said.

“There’s been several police encounters we’ve had businesses somewhat stick the police on us by being like they’re not supposed to park there or you need to move every two hours because the meters are two hours even though everyone knows if you put more money in the meters you can stay there,” Aziz said.

For now, those in Washington DC are safe as the back and forth legal battle plays out behind closed doors, and it remains to be seen whether  those who’s hunger for power may prove greater than the public’s newfound appetite for competition.