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Food trucks unlikely in Bowling Green

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) — People hoping for a regular food truck presence in Bowling Green could be left wanting.

The southern Kentucky city of about 60,000 people doesn't have any regular food trucks patrolling the town.

Western Kentucky University professor of hotel, restaurant and tourism management Rich Patterson said there just are not enough opportunities in the city to keep a food truck financially viable.

Patterson told The Daily News (http://bit.ly/1rDO2f6) a food truck needs places where people congregate regularly in order to make sales. Unlike Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or Nashville, Tennessee, Patterson says, the city lacks such a place.

"You can do it when events come in. If this is something you want to do once in a while, that's one thing," he said. "A lot of people who have food trucks go places all the time. They operate out of that spot every day. I'm not sure Bowling Green has that."

That said, there are several Bowling Green restaurants that have food trucks or trailers that they take to events and festivals, and one Bowling Green man has a mobile hot dog cart.

But, in other, smaller or similar-sized cities, food trucks are a staple of the cityscape.

"Every week we have one posted outside," said Matt Fox, who handles booking and publicity for Mayday Brewery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. "It's one third-party person who can deliver quality food at good prices."

Fox said the food trucks draw business in the form of 700 to 1,000 people to the brewery in a mutually beneficial relationship.

"We don't pay them. They don't pay us," Fox said. "

Food trucks are popping up in a variety of places.

Even Fox's hometown of Greenville, Tennessee, with its population of 15,000, has a food truck, he said.

Patterson said another issue is that brick-and-mortar restaurants typically don't want a food truck near them.

"The margins in the food business are small, so you have to have volume to make money," he said.

Starting the business isn't easy. They must have their own propane, generator and sanitation in place, Patterson said. Also, trucks must pass food service sanitation inspections and a review by the Bowling Green-Warren County Public Health Service.

"TV makes it look glamorous and easy, but it's not. Buying a food truck is a significant expense," Patterson said. "In other words, they'll have to have a license to sell food. When you put that much effort into a truck you have to have people buying your stuff."

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com

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