Food van debate


After the approval of a three-month food van trial by the City of Perth on Wednesday, some local eateries have expressed concern for their own businesses.

Starting from February next year, 15 food vans will be trialled across West Perth, East Perth, Northbridge and the Perth foreshore.

East Perth will get the lions share of the food vans – with seven to go in to the inner-Perth locality.

Owner of 88 Royal lunch bar Van Vu said food vans would bring too much competition to the area.

“There are already a lot of food outlets [in East Perth],” Mr Vu said.

Zambrero staff Shimona Barbra and Lucy Glazor

Zambrero staff Shimona Barbra and Lucy Glazov

“There are not enough people walking past in East Perth, so vans could drive [our business] down a lot.”

Mr Vu said food vans would be better placed in the CBD.

“The CBD has lots of people,” Mr Vu said.

“It is open seven days a week and there is so much currently happening.

“They are killing us.”

City of Perth councillor Reece Harley said vans should remain outside the CBD to protect established businesses.

“We need to look after our business owners who pay rent in the city, and who are there servicing demand all year round,” Cr Harley said.

One mobile food vendor, on James Street in Northbridge, is set to be stationed close to Zambrero Mexican restaurant.

Zambrero employee Shimona Barbra said the vans could potentially threaten the business, but as a consumer, the vans would “bring life to Northbridge”.

“Food vans would be fun,” Ms Barbra said.

“It will be nice to have them around.”

Etro Bar and Bistro manager Henry McAlpine said he supported the idea of food vans because he did not consider them as competition.

“I don’t see food vans as a threat to us,” he said.

“That’s because what we offer is a bit different in terms of what they would offer.”

Mr McAlpine said some people would prefer eating at a cafe rather than from a mobile food van.

“It all depends on the type of demographic you’re targeting,” he said.

“People who are older would be happier to sit down and eat somewhere.”

Green Mo smoothie van operator Dirk Scheneube said expanding van parking spaces could significantly increase the opportunities of mobile food vans.

“Some businesses get a new life somewhere, where for some reason there aren’t any shops or restaurants,” he said.

“Sometimes its a treat for people to go to a food van, to have choices and to taste something different.”

There will be 10 permits available for 10 mobile food truck operators after the three-month trial.

Trial applications are scheduled to open this month for interested businesses.

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