The food truck menace


Makkah newspaper

THERE have been calls to license and establish food trucks or mobile restaurants for three reasons. Unfortunately, this project has instead created three major problems.

The reasons for allowing food trucks included the need for restaurants and cafeterias in places where seasonal events such as football tournaments are held.

Nowadays several events and festivals are conducted in places far away from cities and market places and it will not be feasible for businessmen to establish restaurants or food courts in such far-off places to cater to the needs of people attending such annual festivals.

The second reason is that we want to become like other countries, as we have become accustomed to buying food from food trucks in the United States and other countries. Many of us especially those who have studied in the US love to eat at food trucks in New York and Chicago without any genuine reason.

Now these food trucks have become a problem instead of becoming a solution. Many non-Saudi workers have entered this business and food trucks operate focusing mainly on parks as if they are branches of restaurants. Some of these trucks have been parked permanently near the parks.

The appearance of these trucks with a gas cylinder on one side and a garbage box on the other has tarnished the image of our cities. They throw leftovers in the area for municipality workers to remove the next morning. These food trucks are kept near parks to cater to the needs of people who visit them on the weekend.

I am lost on the third reason, as we did not become a community like those in New York and Chicago while our food trucks did not fulfill its mission and our expectations.

We have to find some solutions for these problems so that we would not be blamed for making a negative impact and creating an issue without solution.

The first solution may be to ban such trucks and this is the easiest bureaucratic solution. As a result these trucks will disappear for some time to reappear later when people press on the authorities, stressing their need for such trucks in order to ban them again.

The second solution is to hand over the project to a large specialized company, which is capable of running food trucks professionally, following international standards.

The third solution is to keep the trucks as they are so that people will start complaining and protesting to prevent them. As a result, finding a solution for a problem becomes more complicated than the problem itself.

Finally, I don’t want to propose enacting of regulations and setting specifications for companies to qualify to run food trucks because it would create a headache to the officials. I hope the officials would call this writer when the headache reaches its peak.