When Omaha Works with Food Trucks, the College World Series Wins
The College World Series is arguably one of the busiest events in the City of Omaha each year. With visitors from across the country, it takes an army to feed these hungry fans. Although Nebraska can provide the quintessential beef hotdog, many visitors expect variety in their food to make their trip to Omaha remarkable. This becomes a major boost for the restaurant scene in Omaha, including an over-looked dining establishment: food trucks.
With some projections predicting up to 430,000 attendees by 2020 and $60 million in revenue for the City of Omaha, the College World Series provides the perfect opportunity for food truck entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Food trucks have taken advantage of this by setting up shop around TD Ameritrade Park in city-approved areas called “Food Truck Parks.”
While these mobile restaurants offer the convenience and diversity fans crave, many food truck owners outside Omaha encounter regulation blocking them from reaching their customers. In Lincoln, with popular attractions like Memorial Stadium and Pinnacle Bank Arena, it’s much harder for food trucks to operate. Under city guidelines, food trucks cannot park for more than ten minutes on city streets. This policy has caused tension between the city and food truck owners, and to the disappointment of many customers, and it does not look like plans are being made to resolve this issue.
Lincoln’s neighbors have instead answered customers’ cries for variety. Recently, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln allowed food trucks on its campus, and Eagle, NE permitted food trucks to operate in the village of 1,000 due to a lack of restaurants in the area. Consequently, many food trucks that had trouble in Lincoln, like locally famous Heoya, make frequent trips to Eagle and take their loyal customers with them.
If Omaha can accommodate food trucks during one of the busiest events of the year, can’t Lincoln find a way to allow these trucks to work during a Husker game or even a typical Wednesday lunch hour? While Lincoln is striking-out with food trucks, Omaha appears to be enjoying a home run derby.
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