Boyne City food truck report reveals mixed views

food truck web

Benjamin Gohs

News Editor

At least five informational sessions and surveys on food trucks in Boyne City show a simple majority supports some form of food truck-friendly regulation—though individual responses are much more nuanced.

According to a recent report on the findings from the food truck surveys—compiled by Boyne City Assistant Planner Annie Doyle and Boyne City Main Street Program Manager Hugh Conklin—the 67 surveys were completed by attendees of two public informational sessions, a meeting of the Boyne Valley Lions Club, a Main Street Board meeting and surveys provided to the Boyne City High School government class.

“A majority of total survey respondents—42 out of 67—thought that food trucks can be incorporated into the community,” Doyle and Conklin stated in their March 21 report to the Boyne City Commission. “And, a minority of total respondents—five out of 67—thought that food trucks should not be incorporated in the community at all.”

According to the report, more than half of survey respondents—64 percent—consisted of Boyne City residents and/or business owners; 27 indicated they were Boyne City business owners; 43 were Boyne City residents.

“Over half of all respondents thought that food trucks should pay a fee to operate,” Conklin and Doyle stated. “(That) food trucks should be allowed during special festivals and events; food trucks should be able to operate in designated locations; and that food trucks are another way to attract tourists and increase crowds downtown.”

They further stated, “Less than half of all respondents thought that food trucks should be able to operate in many locations throughout the community, and that food trucks will detract from the existing local businesses.”

The surveys used asked respondents to indicate whether they lived and/or operated a business within Boyne City.

The survey also asked people to rate their opinion on food trucks with a scale of one to eight—one being “Food trucks can be incorporated into the community” and eight being “Food trucks should not be incorporated into the community at all.”

A breakdown of the survey reveals the following:

12 of the 42 who felt food trucks can be incorporated into the community were high school students; none of the high school students stated that food trucks should not be incorporated into the community.

58 of survey respondents felt food trucks should pay a fee in order to operate.

53 respondents felt food trucks should be allowed to operate during festivals and other special events.

18 respondents indicated that food trucks will detract from existing local businesses.

22 respondents indicated that food trucks should be able to operate in many locations; 10 of those respondents were high school students.

The breakdown of completed surveys is as follows:

First informational meeting – 18 surveys

Second informational meeting – 21 surveys

Boyne Valley Lions Club – 7 surveys

Boyne City Main Street Board meeting – 5 surveys

Boyne City High School government class – 16 surveys

Anonymous comments were taken at several public informational meetings. Following are some of the comments given by meeting attendees.

Comments culled from informational meetings I and II

In your opinion, food trucks …

Can be (on) private commercial lots zoned for restaurants. Trucks should not be within a couple blocks of a food establishment that is operating in Boyne City. Shouldn’t be on public streets taking up parking, but could be in an off/outside of downtown park with fees and regulations.”

“Are another way to showcase your community. Food trucks are a different experience and the clientele is totally different than what goes to brick and mortar business(es).”

“Regulated, registration fee (for city) plus “lease”; away from existing restaurants good idea, but considerate of brick and mortar establishments.”

“Are another form of business that is trying to make money in the community. Current businesses shouldn’t try to keep them out from fear of losing money. Through regulation and cost of permits would give food truck owners a contribution to the community.”

“If you bring them into middle of town the town will go down and market will go down too.”

“Serve a purpose for special festivals but would only detract from the restaurants that are trying on an every day basis to make a living here in town. I believe we need to crawl before we walk. In other words, fill the businesses we have then pursue food trucks.”

“Aesthetic, geographic and economic restrictions are imperative. The trucks could be an asset.”

“Will help the overall community.”

“Can make Boyne City an even more attractive destination and place to live. We can craft a time-location specific (multiple locations) regulation.”

Comments culled from Boyne Valley Lions Club meeting:

“They don’t belong here.”

“Would not allow them on Water Street but other areas with less vehicle traffic.”

“Food trucks don’t belong in small towns. They belong in large cities.”

 Comments culled from Boyne City Main Street Board meeting:

“Have appearance requirements; should be required to have a health permit; should be limited in total numbers.”

“Food trucks will add energy and can-do attitude to Boyne.”

“Guidelines do need to be in place. There is room enough for these new ideas with respect to existing businesses and should be required to purchase license, pay sales percentage or fee agreement and be required to follow FDA or inspection/food safety requirements beyond cottage industry protocol. Especially for sushi-vegetarian would be great too. Where, how much to pay city, food quality standards, professional attitude, cooperative spirit all good things to consider.”

 Comments culled from Boyne City High School government class:

“If constricted to only certain areas of the town, food trucks could be very beneficial to everyone in our community. However, if we let them operate anywhere or everywhere, it could start to take away from local businesses.”

“Should only be allowing during special events. It would take away from our local restaurants.”

“Are a good way to bring tourists and business.”