Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 28, 2013

Run over by a food truck

Filed under: Alameda, Business — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Tonight at the Planning Board there area  few items, like the agenda item on the building of an assisted living home on the site of the old Chevy’s.   There’s also a request for a use permit for a hair salon on Webster.   Apparently this is to move an existing business but it’s still getting opposition because no one wants another hair salon to open up even though people seem to actually use these businesses.  The big item will be the public scoping for Ron Cowan’s final chance at building more housing units.  That should bring out quite a coalition of folks, but this is just a scoping meeting so, yes, make sure to submit your comments, but there will not be any action taken on this item tonight.

One thing that I did find interesting on the agenda but was shuffled under the consent calendar was a follow up on a request by Planning Board Member Lorre “you can’t go furniture shopping on a bike” Zuppan.  During a routine follow up on how the food truck frenzy at South Shore was doing she volunteered the information that some Park Street restaurants had told her that the existence of the food trucks was hurting their businesses.   Also Pearl’s — now turned into a Five Guys — claimed that the Food Trucks cut into their margin so much that was why they closed down.   So Board Member Zuppan wanted some information around this.

City staff has provided this information in a staff report and it essentially says, well, we can’t really drill down to exact information but in general here is how the outlook appears when you compare the sales tax collected from Quarter 2, 2012 (before the food trucks came to town) to Quarter 2, 2013 (after the food trucks came to town).   In general the staff report estimated that the Food Trucks bring about 1,400 people weekly and about 400 people at any given time.  South Shore itself has seen an uptick in foot traffic, which is a good thing I am guessing.   Probably helps them market to prospective tenants.

Anyway, here’s what the numbers look like for the South Shore only food tenants , this does not include fast food so no McDonalds or Burger King:

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 3.21.13 PM

So if you notice things stayed pretty much the same.  There was a slight dip in Restaurants with no alcohol but it was very minor.  Everything else went up.

For the Park Street restaurants here is the comparison:

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 3.21.21 PM

So everything went up, restaurants that served liquor didn’t move up quite as much but American Oak was closed for a fair amount of time so I wonder if that contributed to the rates not being as high.

So from a pure numbers perspective, overall the restaurants on Park Street and South Shore did better this year than they did before.   Maybe it could be that there are more restaurants and therefore the greater number of restaurants are generating more sales taxes even though the overall share per restaurant might be down.  Who knows.   Short of the restaurants that are complaining opening their books for the City Staff to review there really is no other way for staff to do this sort of analysis.


  1. It’s human nature to blame someone else for your failures. I always thought the Pearl’s guy was kidding himself. There was much wrong with his business model. I suspect he would have failed regardless.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 28, 2013 @ 7:43 am

  2. Lorrie Zuppan claims that “you can’t go furniture shopping on a bike.”

    Sure, you can. Wallets, checkbooks, and credit cards fit on a bike just fine, thank you. And most people know about furniture delivery trucks: they may not carry any cupcakes or Korean BBQ, but they carry large objects like mattresses or bedroom sets far better than a car.

    It is routine to buy furniture–on a bike, driving a car, or walking–and have it delivered. (Would PB Member Zuppan claim that “you can’t go furniture shopping in an Escalade” because a full bedroom set would not fit in Cadillac’s super-oversized SUV?)

    I expect better vision—-and perhaps more respect for others–from the members of our Planning Board.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — October 28, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  3. BTW, I make it a point to patronize local “brick and mortar” eateries. Sitting down at a table to eat is far more civilized than standing around or sitting on a parking lot curb. And I like the food I can get at the Island Cafe, Spice I Am, Pho Sang, Wescafe,
    and a host of other local restaurants….

    Comment by Jon Spangler — October 28, 2013 @ 9:56 am

  4. One of the best dates I ever had was from a food truck. We were shopping in South of Market in SF and bought a couple of hamburgers and I had a truck and we put the tail gate down and ate. The restaurant I was sorry that went out of business was on Webster a couple of years ago just above Lincoln it was nice and the food was great.

    The old Chevy’s building is great…I hope they incorporate it in there plans and don’t tear it down. I believe that was the orginal Chevy’s. The old barracks on the base would make a great assisted home although I wouldn’t want to live there…I lived in enough barracks or dorms in the military and college. The unfortunate fact is the cost of rehabbing the building would be more than the cost of tearing it down and rebuilding something which is LEED, Green…it is not historic…as it is a square box building…with little rooms, and with windows, pluming and wiring which will needs to be replaced. It could be an office building but that is not practical. A VA hospital maybe…but they want something new. I am just curious what are your thoughts about what that building can become? Dorms for Alameda College…but it really is sorta far away. The land is worth a lot the building not so much if anything. Someone may have a vision for this building which I don’t see…maybe storage space or another homeless shelter? The land is probably worth $3-10 million and the building not much..who is going to pay the property taxes on it? My little lot the land is assess at like $400,000. All the land and buildings on the base needs to be reassessed at current market values and they need to start paying property taxes on it. The extra taxes we pay for schools and hospital would be solved.

    Comment by joe — October 28, 2013 @ 11:20 am

  5. #3 Many folks consider Singapore to be one of the most civilized societies in the world, and they have a strong vibrant street food culture. In fact, many of the restaurants you patronize were – if not started from – heavily influenced by, street food culture. Next time you are at OTG note how social folks are, compared to your normal “civilized” sit down restaurant. They ask each other about the food, offer chairs to strangers to sit down, joke in the lines – interact much more than your typical sit down diner.

    Many if not all of the food truck entrepreneurs aspire to move to a brick and mortar store at some point, and I know many that have. As for those brick and mortar places that failed, as Denise pointed out, it is always easy to point the blame elsewhere. Pearls does provide us a great opportunity to study what makes a business succeed or fail, since they have been replaced by a restaurant serving almost the exact same niche.

    Comment by notadave — October 28, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

  6. So let me see if I have this correct. Some concerned residents ask Lorre Zuppan a question she does not have an answer for……she asks staff to find out the answer and you all want to criticize her for that….Isn’t that what we want our Board Members to do? I think some of you need to get a life….especially Jon…

    Comment by J.E.A. — October 28, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  7. There was a food truck in the city parking lot behind the Park St branch of Bank of Alameda next to the alley doing a brisk business last night. Surprise Park st. restaurants not making a stink about this.

    Comment by flow — October 28, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

  8. Food Costs and Pricing has increased more than 10% Year over Year from 2012 -2013.

    So really the growth is dismal.

    Rents have increased due to taxes along with business costs.

    Do they have soaring workmans comp insurance.

    Brick and mortar establishments have many more government regulations to adhere to.

    Food trucks don’t pay property taxes and therefore have an unfair competitive advantage.

    Maybe a option would be to offer the resturants first crack at food truck locations to offer their service and then open it up .

    Looking for Fashion Trucks, Mobile Farm Fresh Produce Trucks, Tattoo Trucks, Nail Trucks,Coffee Trucks,

    Why Stop at Food Trucks.

    Comment by interesting times — October 28, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

  9. I have yet to hear food trucks complain about the advantages of brick & mortar places, such as seating, climate control, bathrooms, alcohol service, extra equipment & storage, ability to scale up production, etc. They’re too busy hustling to whine. Maybe the whiners should hustle instead.

    Comment by dave — October 29, 2013 @ 7:44 am

  10. Coffee trucks exist and there is a local Alameda one as well. Farm fresh produce trucks have existed as long as people have been peddling oranges, strawberries, and various fruits from the back of a truck. Also lots of people get organic or CSA produce delivered to their homes, so similar model.

    Fashion trucks? Done. Tattoo truck? Done. Nail Salon Truck? Done.

    Nothing wrong with small business owners trying to get a foot in the door through a lower start-up cost model.

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 29, 2013 @ 7:55 am

  11. # 5 gee you have short memory !
    Please allow me to refresh it for you .
    which country chopped up babies with machetes ? Indonesia
    Which Country tortured and killed their fellow countryman because they were non Muslim , {Jews and Christian} ? Indonesia
    Which Country still persecute them ? Indonesia
    Now you call that most civilized Country in the world , I hate to hear your worst.
    Do look it over on the net , one word of caution it is not for the faint of heart .

    Comment by arnold — October 29, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

  12. Food truck should be taxed the same way any other business is , by the way since most of their transaction is in cash , they declare what they want or feel like it , in short everyone get stiff

    Where do they store their food ? Where do they but their food ?
    Is the food refrigerated during transport as required by law or is it on an open bed of a pick up truck like those leaving the Jetro wholesaler on high street in Oakland
    Where the employees wash their hands ?
    Where do they go to the bath room ?

    I do know for a fact , having seen it , the van used to supply the food truck based on high street and parked on the back of Park street , that very van is very often in the parking lot of the home improvement store , so one day it ids landscaping material , manure , building material; , next it is your food …

    I have several time been stuck behind that food truck at 8 – 9 pm you will have greasy dirty water all over your windshield and car , it does come from the right side , you can follow the trail from high street all the way to park street .
    Can you name me one single restaurant which throw their dirty liquid in the street , please only one , even if you need to go back 10 years .
    Their sewer dried out and is then send in the air with the rest of it ,
    Think about it next time you have a lung infection and stuck with hundreds dollars bill , indeed your food truck was a good deal . “for them”

    If they have so little respect for dumping their sewer in the street , how do you think they treat your food , by the way does any of these truck display food safe practice handling for their worker as required by law .

    Yes the food truck work on an unequal basis , if I was a restaurant owner at South shore I would break my lease , good luck getting new Restaurant with the new building and restaurant codes .

    There is a reason construction worker call them Roaches …..

    Comment by arnold — October 29, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

  13. Just read some of the post , , I agree , food truck work on an unequal field just like Amazon .com , By the way Mr Russo City Manager do they have a permit ? just wondering , the last time the City enforced the Gardeners there was a shortage of them, in the case of the food truck the permit should be higher because there is no way for anyone to audit their revenue.

    Comment by joel Rambaud — October 29, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

  14. So no one is going to correct Joel/Arnold on the Singapore vs. Indonesia thing?

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 29, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

  15. I was going to but they both seem pretty committed to being wrong and I figured why spoil the fun-

    Comment by librarycat — October 29, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

  16. Lauren Do.
    to Arnold defense :
    Are you that narrow minded , naïve , secluded in your gated community to ignore fact the entire world know , below are some headline you and everyone else can use , those are clean there are no graphic image , should you want to see those , do check the countless video or photo posted . You need to travel a bit .

    – Massacre in Indonesia
    – Decade after Maluku massacre Indonesia remain dangerous place for Christian
    – Indonesian overcoming murder and chaos in Malaku “united Nations”
    – Indonesia’s killing fields
    101 East speaks exclusively to some of the Indonesians who participated in the systematic murder of millions.

    Sadly He is 100% right , Civilization missed Indonesia , what the original post may have reference to a very small portion of Indonesia where HP manufactured their good , outside of that it is not a safe place to travel for Caucasian , Chinese , African and non Muslim , very much regarded as high risk travel by most Countries
    I kind feel sorry that as a blogger you did not check the real fact before teasing other member to correct His post .
    Will due respect count me out , bashing other pretending to run a respected blog while trashing other is not my cup of Coffee , never been , yet it is pretty much what you are doing .
    There go $3000 commitment for Trish Spencer should she decide to run again .

    Comment by joel Rambaud — October 29, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

  17. lol, ok I do have to jump in (maybe Joel/Arnold is vying for the miss america pagent?) the fine folks of Singapore would be upset and quite surprised to learn from Joelnold that they are not an independent country, but have become part of Indonesia. Maps – have you learned how to read one?

    Comment by notadave — October 29, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

  18. There are food trucks and then there are food trucks. Just like there are differences in standards and adherence to laws and safety practices (not to mention labor laws) among sit-down restaurants. Let’s not assume they are all alike. I don’t see big competition between the two venues. If I want a sit down meal, I’m not going to a food truck no matter what they’re serving. If I want a quick bite, I still might go to the Pampered Pup, for instance, over a food truck because it’s cheaper. Food truck events often involve lots of standing in line. I don’t like to stand in line, so I’m not a big fan of them, but sometimes it’s a fun thing to do. It’s not like they are there all the time anyway.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 29, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

  19. 10

    “Nothing wrong with small business owners trying to get a foot in the door through a lower start-up cost model.”

    I totally agree with that statement.

    Also 95% of all start ups Fail and over 90% of all Restaurants fail within three years. Large risk and rewards are suspect with no guarantees. I applaud anyone and everyone starting their own business.

    No Guaranteed Salaries, Benefits or Pensions.


    Setting up food truck in same parking lot used and paid for by those same restaurants through their rent seems a little over the top by the Landlord ……Might be why we see so many empty spots in every shopping center in Alameda.

    How about setting up a massage truck in front of the Spa at southshore.

    How about a coffee truck parked in front of Starbucks .

    Food truck ready for San Francisco! Free 2300$ Generator – $45999 (south san francisco)

    MiniYums Dessert / Food Truck for sale – $17500 (Santa Clara)

    Food Truck for Sale – $24999 (oakland east)


    Turnkey Mobile Coffee Business Kiosk
    US $22,000.00

    Hot dog cart 2013 Stainless Steel & Dimond Plate Hotdog Cart $1,999.00

    le truc FOR SALE, Food Truck Bustaurant – Very Rare, Very Nice – $80000 (alameda)

    In Boston

    Besides paying for the truck, food truck operators also pay several fees related to permitting, licenses and other city requirements. Those fees include rent for the three parking spaces the food trucks use, which comes to $18,000 per year. Trucks that use the space for lunch and dinner will pay 75 percent of that fee, broken down to a daily amount, for example. They also pay $100 for a health inspection, and a permitting fee of $500. Trucks are also required by the city to have a GPS device. The GPS unit usually costs around $295 to buy, and a monthly fee of $35, said Murnane.

    Comment by interesting times — October 29, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  20. Everything Joel and Arnold said about Singanesia is true. The Singa part is made up of total control freaks and the Nesia is made up of whack your head off if you’re non-Muslim types…though Bali is nice (Hindu instead of Muslim), lots of food carts/trucks all over SE Asia.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 29, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

  21. Food trucks are quite popular on the SF waterfront. They come Tuesday and Thursdays on the same day as the Farmer’s market and the lines are always long. From Jewish food and pizza slices to tamales and much more — they bring a lot of people to the waterfront. It’s like the hot dog stand in New York – people love to stop and buy a quick lunch or snack to take to the park.

    Just like the number and variety of food trucks, this is another consumer choice and it makes for good competition. I’m seeing restaurants in the ferry building and on the waterfront step up their game to offer more variety and great service – some even created their own food truck to catch customers to or from the ferry. Others are opening up express stores to serve people on the go.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 29, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

  22. Jack Richard ,
    thank you some in this blog seem to be brainwashed by fox news , it is pretty sad to hear someone using the nick name librarycat to be so ignorant of the world facts , but then we are in Alameda and the Library is small …..
    Interesting time ,
    I totally agree with you, food truck do not have near the expenses of a brick and mortar restaurants, when you add the lease none of them can survive. Restaurants turn over at the shopping center is close to 90%
    come to think of it remind me of the NFL and their promotion for the fight against breast cancer , the NFL is a non profit organization , like private jet , mansion , exotic cars are free …did you know for every $100 they rack in they actually give $3.54 to the American cancer society , everything else is profit ….
    Same thing with food truck and Restaurants .
    Notadave , I really feel sorry for you , making a joke of millions of peoples which have been massacred to connect them with Donald Trump’s Miss American pageant is simply sick .

    Comment by joel Rambaud — October 29, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

  23. All Asian countries look the same, amirite?

    Comment by Lauren Do — October 30, 2013 @ 7:23 am

  24. I have a good friend who taught at an American school in Singapore for a number of years. They liked it alright but you really have to watch your step and obey the rules. Capital crimes, for which one is hanged at dawn on Friday, include illegal discharging of a firearm, even if no one is hurt in the process. And don’t even think about medical marijuana. it is very clean, though. The threat of flogging will do that to the impulse to throw trash in the street.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — October 30, 2013 @ 8:12 am

  25. Especially love the part where we are fox watchers! Hilarity ensures. Considering I worked in both areas…but what would I know.
    The presumption that because I am in Alameda now means I must have always been in Alameda is entertaining and of course, never, ever went anywhere else or lived anywhere else or worked anywhere else- assume much?

    Comment by librarycat — October 30, 2013 @ 8:15 am

  26. Library cat , I think you are a throll ……
    why don’t you use your name like I and so many other do . having been here or there does not open your mind , simply look at Bill O ‘really {mispelled on purpose}
    very well traveled yet one of the most narrow minded person I ever had the displeasure of meeting . One point I will give him , He does not hide behind a nickname .
    Several years ago 1 used 2 passeport in one year , does it mean I know every culture from each Country , no it is impossible since some are totally different within a hundred miles radius .
    you would never know that by simply hunting for your next sushi in the library ,

    To go back on the food truck , they are like are operating on an uneven field , maybe we need to remove the taxes entirely from the system . This would create some little technical problem , no more susbsdized housing , no more welfare etc…..

    Have a good day !

    Comment by Joel Rambaud — October 30, 2013 @ 9:06 am

  27. 26
    “…Several years ago 1 used 2 passeport in one year ,”

    Joel, I used two passports on one trip. Back when I was helping save the world from communism and jihadists we were required to travel in Muslim countries to visit certain US military bases. Our government masters determined since we were not in the military it was best we not use our red passports in those countries so they gave us blue PPs.

    Comment by Jack Richard — October 30, 2013 @ 9:41 am

  28. #26- good heavens- there is nothing more upsetting to a lady than being called a throll:) But since english is your second language- it is forgiven. If you get this upset because someone points out that the differences between SIngapore and Indonsia are legion- wow!
    Except for a genetic base from thousands of years ago- pretty far apart in every way.
    If your argument is that my having spent time in that part of the world does not make me an expert (which I am not) – why is your having traveled make you an expert? Actually- you have met me several times and my digital footprint is large. seeking sushi in a library- went pretty far off track with that. reached far for that “insult”
    Sushi in a library- happens all the time in my house/books, cats/sushi- YUM!

    For the record- I like the food trucks- have explored some interesting tastes there.

    If Indonesia were your home instead of Singapore you would…
    have 12.5 times higher chance of dying in infancy
    have 2.6 times more chance of being unemployed
    have 2.1 times more babies
    consume 96.76% less oil
    use 93.92% less electricity
    make 92.05% less money
    die 11.01 years sooner
    spend 94.66% less money on health care
    experience 18.09% less of a class divide

    Comment by librarycat — October 30, 2013 @ 11:45 am

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