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Food Cartology

RoamingBuffaloFood trucks have really taken hold in Buffalo, receiving a groundswell of public support despite complaints from traditional restaurant owners that mobile food vendors put them at a disadvantage.

But it looks many of those fears could be unfounded. A recent study of food carts and trucks in Portland, Oregon looked at how food carts can positively and negatively affect a neighborhood and its businesses.

It found:

1. Food carts have positive impacts on street vitality and
neighborhood life in lower density residential neighborhoods as
well as in the high density downtown area.
2. When a cluster of carts is located on a private site, the
heightened intensity of use can negatively impact the
surrounding community, primarily from the lack of trash cans.
3. A cart’s exterior appearance does not affect social interactions
or the public’s overall opinion of the carts; seating availability
is more important for promoting social interaction than the
appearance of the cart’s exterior.

4. The presence of food carts on a site does not appear to hinder its
5. Food carts represent beneficial employment opportunities because
they provide an improved quality of life and promote social
interactions between owners and customers.
6. Despite the beneficial opportunities that food carts can provide, there
are numerous challenges to owning a food cart.
7. While many food cart owners want to open a storefront business,
there is a financial leap from a food cart operation to opening a
8. Food cart owners do not frequently access small business
development resources available to them, such as bank loans and
other forms of assistance.

Do you think these findings could apply to Buffalo?

---Samantha Maziarz Christmann


Food and Drink | Food Trucks | Small Business
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