Restaurateur Glenn Keefer, who own's Keefer's and Keefer's Kaffe, has been one of the most outspoken opponents of food truck legislation in Chicago. On Thursday, Keefer published an op-ed in Crain's Chicago Business offering even more reasons why he feels food trucks infringe on the business of brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Keefer said they "must find a way to prevent unscrupulous truck operators from parking in front of the highest-priced real estate in the city to siphon off customers headed to businesses paying property taxes, rent and fees for signs, loading zones, building permits" and said that running a food truck is not entrepreneurship, but rather "piracy."
Keefer proposes that the city create a pilot program for 50 trucks where they would be licensed and have to park in fixed areas with fixed hours. He goes into more detail with his suggestions, which, not surprisingly, have upset people and caused a bit of an uproar on social media.
On person called for a boycott of Keefer's. Richard Myrick, the editor in chief of Mobile Cuisine published a rebuttal on both his site and in Crain's pointing out why he feels Keefer's position is wrong.
Patrick Sheerin, who is about to open The Trenchermen, a brick-and-mortar restaurant, with his brother, Mike Sheerin, tweeted that, "Food trucks can & should be part of a vibrant restaurant/culinary scene." Alinea and Next co-owner Nick Kokonas tweeted, "The Crain's op-ed from Keefers regarding Chicago food trucks is terrible and shows a complete lack of understanding." Then added, "Never wanted to do a Ribeye and Opus One Food Truck until just now. But see how silly that sounds? exactly."
The Food Truck legislation is a hot topic in the city with more and more people seeming to get behind it. What do you think of Keefer's position? Leave your response in the comments.
· Chicago Deserves Better Rules on Food Trucks [Crain's]
· Why Glenn Keefer is Wrong About Food Trucks [Mobile Cuisine]
[Photo: Chicago Business]