Cities discriminate against hot dog vendors and other street food vendors by either making the rules insanely restrictive or banning them altogether – all to protect restaurant owners. But you will win! Because they are breaking the law.
ILLEGAL RESTRICTIONS INCLUDE
Here are just a few of the restrictive codes that local lawmakers have used to restrict and discriminate against vendors to only later get overturned in the Federal Court system.
- You can not vend anywhere in the city limits
- You must move your cart every 20 minutes
- You must have a restroom for customers
- You must pass a background check
- You must renew your license every 90 days
- You can not vend for more than 3 consecutive days
- You can not change locations
- You can not be within 1000 feet of a restaurant
- Your cart must have mosquito netting around it
All the above – real restrictions we've seen and have been overturned.
UNDER THE GUISE OF PUBLIC SAFETY
The true motivations behind these codes can not be publicized or used as the reasoning for their creation. Instead – the lawmakers must come up with equally creative excuses or reasons for such discriminatory codes…
PUBLIC SAFETY. After-all, who doesn't want a more safe public? So they adopt and pass illegal and discriminatory ordinances and codes under the guise of “public safety”
THE REAL REASON!
Protectionism. Crony Capitalism. After-all, who on your City Council, your County Commission, your Board of Alderman hasn't been or still is a business owner?
How many were and are restaurant owners? And who do you think supports your lawmaker's election campaigns? What wealthy business owners aren't the supporting backbone of your community lawmakers?
Restaurant owners – in the efforts to “protect the public” advise your lawmakers to create these restrictive and illegal codes.
Why? Because they don't want the competition! It all comes down to money.
And when the city officials are called out on their discriminatory codes – most immediately play dumb and repeat the mantra of their cronies.
“Public safety. We were protecting the public.”
However sweet that sounds – the truth is – the only reason a local government enacts illegal discriminatory codes that restrict one business while protecting another – is out of pure ignorance or blatant disregard for your civil rights.
THE STATISTICS AIN'T ON THEIR SIDE
Decades of studies and statistics have proven that the streets are safer where there are vendors.
VENDORS FIGHT BACK
The law is on their side. Not some obscure county or state law, but the Constitution – and specifically the BILL OF RIGHTS. Some ignorant lawmakers and city officials have learned the hard way – that the protectionist codes are violating vendor's civil liberties.
Utah was spotlighted about a year ago when – they told a hot dog vendor that her cart could not be on another trailer or it would be considered a food truck.
The vendor was busy and often had large lines around her cart. To simplify serving and the safety of others, she put her cart on top of a utility trailer. But her inspector told her this automatically made her a food truck.
A hot dog cart, with no motor, no walls, no windows and no roof – was now a food truck and would have to abide by the more restrictive “food truck” rules.
After a few calls by Vendors United – they decided that they couldn't simply make up rules on the fly and that the vendor could use her cart on the trailer without being categorized as a food truck.
UTAH'S LATEST DISCRIMINATION
Applying equally sane logic – Utah has given power over to districts regarding food safety standards. After-all, food safety can't be the same in every county in Utah because some people probably don't matter as much in one county as they do in another.
And I'm not kidding. Utah has given districts the leeway to enact food safety codes as they see fit.
One recent district has informed a vendor that they don't have codes for food carts and he must abide by the food truck codes. Codes that literally can not, all apply to his business.
For example. District code requires a restaurant hood and fire suppression over cooking area. Without walls or a ceiling on a hot dog cart, an impossible and insanely ignorant requirement.
“…we don't have codes for toy stores that sell cap guns, so you'll fall under the gun store laws and requirements.”
NO EFFORT NEEDED
Utah already has food safety codes. The districts could just adopt those. But this one district – in order to discriminate and at the same time protect restaurant owners – has decided to adopt NO CODES.
Ultimately forcing codes that can not begin to apply from another business entity over onto a hot dog vendor with an open cart.
Our Constitution protects us against unlawful and discriminatory codes, laws and ordinances. And if these lawmakers are really that ignorant – then they shouldn't be in positions of authority to begin with.
Take for example: A city restriction that prohibits vending in the city limits
Illegal! A blatant violation of your rights. The law states that no city or government can infringe upon the rights of one group, one person etc…
A city can have a restriction against business but it must apply equally to all businesses. It must not discriminate.
If they want to restrict vendors in the city limits, then they MUST restrict all other businesses equally. No Walmarts – no Pizza Huts – no businesses at all.
YOU CAN'T BE WITHIN __________ FEET OF A RESTAURANT
I love these! Blatant and open discriminatory codes that protect their cronies. One needs not have to dig deep to find the motivation here. They've created a code that spells it out clearly. Nags Head, NC was recently reported to have such ignorant codes.
“hey… we are protecting our restaurant owners from competition so you can't sell your foods near them”
In order to maintain some semblance of humanity – and in order to not be found violating your Constitutional protections – they would have to also restrict…
- any food advertisements in the same restricted zone around each business
- stop all food deliveries from other restaurants or services in the same protection zone
Then – they might, get away with such an ignorant and blatant protectionist code.
Another glaringly obvious act of crony capitalism and protectionism is the background checks for street food vendors.
I know of no city that has ever won a case against a vendor who sued them for their discriminatory codes
The only way a city/town/county or other government entity could demand this of vendors is to apply it across the board. Requiring every single business owner, employee or worker to do the same. Citywide.
Easily touted as a public safety requirement – some ignorant lawmakers have enacted background screening for vendors.
But what about the pizza delivery guy?
What about the plumber, the UPS driver, the baker – ad infinitum? Does our city officials want to protect us from one type of business person and not another.
And to make matters worse, these violators of your constitutional rights go further in some areas and require fingerprinting along with a full background check.
No! Not for the electric company guy who's above my roof working on the power lines – just the hot dog vendor at 5th and Main.
Not that background checks are a bad thing, but your background can't prevent your from vending either way – so, why have they added this requirement for only the street food vendor?
BARRIERS OF ENTRY
They create obstacles, barriers and busywork to discourage the would-be vendor. That's it! Another way to protect restaurant owners. PERIOD!
“if we make it hard enough – they will probably give up”
Your town likely has a national franchise or two. You know – like a KFC or McDonald's – right?
Did your city require background checks and fingerprinting on the franchise owners and workers there? Nope! Of course not. Those big businesses are welcome to come in – no obstacles in sight.
“Welcome to our city whoever you are and no matter what you've done Mr. Pizza Hut franchise owner!”
If your city officials want to claim it's for public safety, let them put their codes where their mouth is. Require it of every employee and owner in the city.
CALLED TO THE CARPET
Usually it doesn't come down to going to court. Most cities have an attorney and when and only when they are called out for discriminatory codes, protectionist ordinances or the likes – they ask their city attorney.
And usually this attorney recognizes the obvious and advises them to update their codes.
Sometimes – this doesn't go as easy. Sometimes an attorney will think he can protect his city officials from accountability and will go all the way to Federal Court where they all lose eventually.
Loads of case precedence for them to research but sometimes, however rare – one narcissistic and useless city attorney will stand firm in his defense of his city's illegal acts of discrimination.
SUPER FAST SOLUTIONS!
You can stand up, never give up and hold them accountable. But they know, you likely don't have resources or time.
No problem! It's why we have awesome groups and organizations that fight to maintain our freedoms.
- the Institute for Justice (successful record of holding discriminatory cities accountable)
- the ACLU (successfully sued cities for discrimination)
- State and local non-profit civil rights groups (Google one in your area)
The Institute for Justice has helped many vendors. And like I stated previously – once you make city officials aware of the issue, they usually and immediately change the offending ordinance. [learn more here]
We've seen vendors hand over a letter from the Institute for Justice and within hours call the vendor and let them know they can come on in and vend.
In our Vendors United group, we have this letter so that any member with a problem can use it. It's worked well for all who have needed to.
DO THIS FIRST!
Sometimes the person that said you can't vend or mentioned some other restriction has no clue what they're talking about. They overheard it, they misunderstood it or their ego has gotten away from them.
LOOPHOLES THAT WORK RIGHT NOW!
I've already mentioned the “letter” above but on our weekly private live show inside Vendor's United, I shared another trick that will allow you to vend while you're educating the city officials. It's fast and easy. (but to see it – you'd need to be a member)
Another method which works everywhere is in my course – VEND ANYWHERE YOU WANT
No matter what your city ordinances – there is a solution. Don't give up. Stand up and let them know they aren't going to discriminate against you!