The Town of Sylvan Lake brings in and promotes the presence of food trucks at special events for specific reasons, like at 1913 Days, pictured. However, some business owners feel the promotion of the food trucks hurts brick and mortar businesses in Sylvan Lake. File Photo

The Town of Sylvan Lake brings in and promotes the presence of food trucks at special events for specific reasons, like at 1913 Days, pictured. However, some business owners feel the promotion of the food trucks hurts brick and mortar businesses in Sylvan Lake. File Photo

Sylvan Lake business owners say food truck promotion hurts local businesses

Advertising does not promote specific food trucks and gives no advantage, according to the Town

Mark Pritchard and Stephanie Pritchard are concerned with the advertising of food trucks at events in Sylvan Lake, and say it is hurting local businesses.

Both say their businesses, Nomads and More Moo, suffered during events that specifically promote food trucks.

The Pritchards brought their concerns to Town Council via open microphone at the July 23 meeting.

Mark Pritchard told Council traffic in his store was much lower than expected during the Friday evening of 1913 Days in June. He said he believed it was because of the food truck, and those who went to the event did not stray far from it.

“We expected a lot more people to come through, so we scheduled many people to be working in the store,” he told Council at the meeting.

Stephanie Pritchard says advertising food trucks gives an unfair advantage to the trucks and leaves brick and mortar businesses wanting. In particular, Stephanie used Jaws at the Lake, which promoted food trucks on the posters, as an example.

She suggested food trucks took away from nearby businesses and restaurants, because people planned to go to them rather than exploring what is available in town.

Following the open microphone presentation to Council, Town staff met with Mark Pritchard to discuss their concerns and possible actions the Town could take in the future.

Ron Lebsack, director of community services, says it is recommended the Town continue to to use food trucks as part of Town-organized special events.

“Current advertising of food trucks at special events includes a mention that there are food truck as part of the event,” Lebsack said. “Town advertising does not advertise or promote specific food trucks or business names.”

According to Lebsack there are three reasons why the Town chooses to include food trucks as part of special events planned by the Town:

  • Enhances the overall event experience for attendees to access food and beverages at the special event site instead of leaving the site to access these services
  • Ability to attract a wide range of and number of attendees is increased when a fill range of services and opportunities are marketed and promoted as part of the event
  • Revenue gained from food trucks assists in the Town’s ability to hist special events.

In meeting with Mark Pritchard, Town staff told him of three possible avenues that could be taken for future special events, which could be offered to multiple local businesses.

  • Offer opportunities for local food and beverage businesses to become involved in the special events and receive advertising and promotions specific to their business in conjunction with the special event
  • Maintain that advertising and promotions for food trucks as part of Town special events remains generic in nature and does not mention specific vendors or business names
  • Promotion of food trucks as part of Town special events will be reduces in size on all advertising and promotional communications.

“A productive open discussion was had, but Mark Pritchard did not feel that administrations recommended actions addressed the concerns of himself and Stephanie Pritchard,” Lebsack said.

Further, Town staff have spoken with other members of the business community regarding the food trucks and to explain the rationale behind having them at special events.

“Other businesses were open and understanding to the rationale we had and had no further complaints,” said Lebsack.