Food carts are becoming increasing popluar...especially in bigger cities where the lunch rush is fierce.
In Madison, the city's Vending Oversight Committee, will take up a potential requirement that food carts offer at least one vegetarian menu item, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
I've always been of the thinking that forcing a restaurant, eatery, food truck, cart or vendor to carry a particular menu item is bad. I believe it's fine if you want to offer a suggestion, but beyond that is stepping over the line.
I don't doubt that the rise in people who prefer vegetarian items is out there, but that's where capitalism plays a key role. Those who have the menu items customers want and crave get the business...those who don't either adjust or become irrelevant to that audience.
One quick story I have is that when a restaurant I ran in Phoenix was in its infancy, a female customer asked to see a menu after stepping in the front door. I quickly got them our menu and they scanned it quickly, then asked if we had a Gluten-Free menu.
This was 2006, so the big rise in options for Gluten-Free diners were still fairly small. Being an Asian restaurant and open for about 3 weeks, I hadn't considered the option. I said to the woman that we're sorry but we didn't have one to offer at the time. She said that was "disappointing" and urged us to get one.
It was one of many unsatisfactory experiences with customers in that market. But we were just trying to get off the ground, the last thing I wanted to worry about was expanding our menu.
Back to the story at hand. It's unlikely the move will be green-lighted, but it's a growing part of the customer base. Part of being in food service is knowing that you'll find people with all kinds of needs and wants, from vegetarian, to vegan, Gluten-Free, allergy-related, etc.
So if you're a restaurant or food truck that DOES offer a vegetarian, organic, Gluten-free, etc. menu item...be sure to highlight that fact for customers. I've been on the positive side of that spectrum also, and customers DO appreciate when they can enjoy some of your food, rather than having to find an alternative.