When we meet with event planners we nearly always push to sole source their events–we want Memphis Food Truck Association to book their food trucks. We want them to call us first and let us handle it from that point forward.
Just in the past two weeks we have pushed for sole source privileges (with varying degrees of success) at Levitt Shell; Memphis Grizzlies; Rhodes College; Miss Cordelia’s; one of the Federal Express campuses; and several others I will strategically keep my mouth shut about right now.
We do this because we want to be the #1 food truck resource in the Mid-South. That is our job.
We do NOT do it in order to keep food trucks who are not MFTA members out of the events we schedule. This is a critical distinction. We are not a cartel, we are a trade association and our job is to advocate for ALL food trucks, not just our members. We are working to improve business conditions for the entire food truck industry, not just for the specific trucks that pay our yearly dues.
It’s good to have standards–setting high standards and defining best practices is one of the things a trade group should do. It is legitimate to say “we are not able to give bookings to food trucks that are overly loud, or trucks that seem unsanitary, or trucks whose presentation is amateurish.” As long as a standard is reasonably objective and it applies to all trucks, then it’s fine.
But it’s not okay to say “we will not give bookings to trucks that are not members, because they are not members. And we will give bookings to members even if their food trucks are nasty”. That is unethical for a non-profit food truck association. It’s also very stupid–a food truck organization that did that would quickly grow to be mistrusted and disliked both by event planners and by the great majority of food trucks.