Variety is, as the saying goes, the spice of life. Restaurants have menus because consumer like being able to choose what they eat and where they eat it. In the last decade, consumers have grown to love the choices provided by hard-working food-truck owners, like Michelle Rock, Aaron & Monica Cannon, and Harley Bruce who all operate food trucks in and around Wilmington, North Carolina. The only people who don’t like food trucks are the brick-and-mortar restaurants that are forced to compete with them for diners.
Unfortunately, in the nearby beach town of Carolina Beach, restaurant owners were able to convince the town council to pass a law making it illegal to operate a food truck unless the owner also operates a restaurant in town. The law is a quintessential example of the government illegally picking winners—the restaurants—and losers—food-truck entrepreneurs.
It is not the government’s job to decide where people eat. That choice belongs to customers—except in Carolina Beach. The town’s protectionist policy locks out out-of-town trucks and forces its own residents to drive for miles just to dine on one of T’Geaux Boys’ delicious muffulettas or a unique taco from A&M’s Red Food Truck, simply because those trucks are not owned by a local brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Government-supported monopolies like Carolina Beach’s are plainly unconstitutional under the North Carolina Constitution. That’s why a group of food truck owners have teamed up with the Institute for Justice to fight for their right to earn an honest living. They have filed a lawsuit asking the court to strike down Carolina Beach’s brick-and-mortar ownership requirement and firmly establish that the North Carolina Constitution prohibits local governments from passing such purely protectionist laws.https://ij.org/case/carolina-beach-food-trucks/
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