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food trucks adelaide

Only in Adelaide.

In 2011, the Adelaide City Council established the Mobile Food Vending program to encourage entrepreneurs to set up food truck businesses and increase the vibrancy of the Adelaide CBD.

A host of new vendors took to the streets providing city workers and residents with a great new range of edible fare, including gourmet burgers, meatballs, Mexican burritos, German hot dogs and Cambodian rolls.

On Tuesday, the Adelaide City Council voted to reduce the number of food trucks that can operate on Adelaide’s streets to ten before 6pm. The change to conditions comes after pressure from bricks-and-mortar businesses and, in particular, two powerful property groups in the city, the Makris Group and the Polites Group.

Deputy Lord Mayor Houssam Abiad argued in The Advertiser: ‘There is a massive perception issue around (the) impact (of food trucks)…I have seen the (council’s) data and there are rarely more than six or eight food trucks in the city at once but it is about dealing with the perception.”

It begs the question: If there are only six or eight food trucks in the city at any one time, why was there a need for the ACC to do anything at all?

The biggest perception that has been created by this decision is a deeply destructive one: that it is pointless coming up with an entrepreneurial idea in this city.

Young entrepreneurs with big ideas will ask themselves: ‘Why invest my time, effort and money developing an innovative new business when the council vacillates on its stated direction at the behest of ‘Old Adelaide’?

And for those struggling bricks-and-mortar stores who take comfort from this decision, best that you start focusing on the fundamentals of your own business, because it’s not the food trucks that are causing you to go to the wall.  It’s what you’re serving up.

This decision will do nothing but stifle entrepreneurship, at a time when we were just becoming aware of the possibilities that our city could deliver.

Clearly what Adelaide needs is more crumbling, derelict buildings with oversized ‘Polites’ signs on them – not food trucks.

Credit: Thanks to Ben S for the catchy title!


4 thoughts on “What The Food Truck is the Council doing? #keepadelaideweird”

  1. In 2013, Houssam Abiad said:

    “I want to be able to market Adelaide as a city of entrepreneurs, as a place for small and medium businesses to test the market.

    “When you market a city as an open for business city, people will come here and give it a shot.”


    Hmm, the ACC’s current position seems to fly in the face of this.

    1. Yep, agreed. People who run failing businesses often blame everybody else, without taking a hard look at their own offering. I also find it paradoxical that the big property tycoons, who have clearly benefited from the free market economy in amassing their fortunes, will move mountains to stifle any potential competition to protect their stronghold. Self-interest at the expense of public good.

  2. Some nice thoughts in here from Tom Richardson at InDaily:

    Love this bit:

    I do, of course, also sympathise with these so-called “bricks-and-mortar” businesses who have to pay through the nose for rates and rent. It was heart-warming to see their landlords selflessly go into bat for the huddled masses, by lobbying the council to clamp down on their competition (instead of, y’know, reducing their rent…).

    After all, these interloping “food trucks” have a well-documented “unfair advantage” over many other city businesses. Namely, that they sell stuff people want to buy.

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