Next up: A Chicago ordinance prohibiting a restaurant from opening up next to an existing one

If you follow the logic in Cook County Judge Anna Helen Demacopoulos' decision to ban food trucks from within 200 feet of an existing restaurant in the interests of "balancing" competition, Chicago should also ban new restaurants from opening next door to existing ones.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times:

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-3-06-38-pmA Cook County judge on Monday upheld a city ordinance restricting food trucks from parking within 200 feet of brick-and mortar-restaurants, rejecting arguments that the law hamstrings the food truck industry in Chicago.

In her ruling, Judge Anna Helen Demacopoulos said the rule rationally balances the needs of both traditional restaurants and food trucks, which she described as the “rising young pop star” of the industry.

So, if existing brick and mortar restaurants need protection from other eateries, why are there no protections for them from new traditional entrants that want to open next door? The underlying principle of Demacopoulos' ruling seems to be that existing businesses need to have government protection from new entrants, i.e. food trucks. And that having traditional restaurants and food trucks near each other makes the sidewalks too crowded. But wouldn't side-by-side transitional restaurants also create crowded sidewalks. Would side-by-side restaurants throw the "balance" out of kilter?

Demacopoulos' logic makes no sense.

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    Not really. A new restaurant moving in next door has to compete on price and quality of food, but presumably pays the same relative rent and real estate taxes as the existing restaurant. The food trucks have an "unfair" advantage because they get to take advantage of the high density traffic in the loop, without having to pay the corresponding rent and real estate taxes that brick and mortar restaurants have to pay. So some balancing is not really unreasonable.

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