Getting food on the go can become increasingly boring for most American workers. A Lot of time, for lunch–especially now, with rising gas prices–one might choose to patron local, walking-distance restaurants, which depend on that daily lunchtime crunch to keep their doors open. Unfortunately for some restauranteurs, an explosion in food trucks is threatening to close down their businesses unless city officials across the nation decide how to deal with the emerging food community.

Food trucks have seen a major boom in the past few years because of their convenience, innovative menus, and use of social networks and blogs to spread their “foodie” gospel. Entrepreneurs who may be disillusioned by the standard restaurant model are able to display their mobile culinary treats to eager and somewhat cultish customers, who may stand in lines for over 15 to 45 minutes to get a taste of the favorite comfort foods.

But it’s not all peaches and cream in big cities like Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Store fronts are being blocked and public spaces are being impeded upon by the mobile food joints. As of now, most food trucks have to gather in privately owned spaces in order to operate in most cities, but the sheer numbers of trucks popping up around cities makes it almost impossible for police to enforce current cities regulations.

According to The New York Times, some analysts see the food truck industry sticking around longer than most restaurant owners want them to:

“The growth of the mobile restaurant unit is a long-term trend,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association. “If you think about growth in the restaurant industry over the past decade, it’s basically a question of points of access.”

In the Pacific Northwest, The Seattle Times is reporting that a change to their city’s regulations would let food trucks set up shop on streets — instead of just on private lots — and could result in an explosion of food trucks in Seattle.

The regulation of food trucks will be key in the near future, as the competition for lunchtime customers will undoubtedly inflame tensions and bitterness between not only restaurant owners but other storefront owners–who may not like the crowds in front of businesses–and food trucks, which, if they get their way, set up in front of storefronts regularly.

The environmental sustainability of these trucks should be the main concern of cities considering stiffer regulations. With the Environment Working Group groundbreaking report on the impact our food industry is having on our health and environment, it would be in the best interest of cities and their citizens to regulate the food trucks carbon footprints rather than their positioning.

Here are some Vegan/Vegetarian Food Trucks serving a city near you:

FrugiVoice: What do you think about food trucks? Do you love their convenience? Or do you think they have an unfair advantage over standard restaurants?

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