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The restaurant and food industries have been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, creating the need for a wave of food innovation outside of the brick-and-mortar restaurant model. Restaurants increasingly face insurmountable challenges to remaining open, and a wave of permanent restaurant closures is sweeping the nation, robbing local communities of beloved neighborhood institutions and gathering places.
The State Solution
States should adopt the Institute for Justice’s Mobile Food Vendor Freedom Act and Food Freedom Act, which would take two clear steps toward allowing greater flexibility and entrepreneurship in the food and restaurant industries. The Mobile Food Vendor Freedom Act streamlines regulations so that burdensome state and city licensing requirements are consolidated, thus making it easier to enter this critical area for restaurant growth. The Food Freedom Act allows home-based entrepreneurs to expand their sales of homemade foods.
Why This Matters
Home-based food production and mobile vending are solutions for both entrepreneurs and struggling restaurants looking for a lifeline. A home-based business or a food truck are often the most affordable forms of launching a food business startup. During the coronavirus pandemic, Americans have been confined to their homes and outdoor dining, making homes a new incubator for restaurant startups and making mobile platforms an essential component of prepared food delivery.
Creative food entrepreneurs should be freed to begin a low-cost startup around homemade food or with a mobile vendor platform, such as a food truck. A wave of legislation allowing food freedom will also encourage the innovation and entrepreneurship necessary to restructure the restaurant business and save some brick-and-mortar restaurants.
What States Should Do Next
States should enact the Institute for Justice’s model legislation to allow for home food production businesses, as well as food truck and mobile vending.