82 U. Chi. L. Rev. Dialogue 1 (2015-2016)

handle is hein.journals/uchidial82 and id is 1 raw text is: 









  Food Trucks, Incremental Innovation, and
                     Regulatory Ruts
                          Beth Kregort


                          INTRODUCTION
    In this Essay, I will detail an innovation that gave new rele-
vance and economic success to old, battered food trucks. I will
describe the regulatory context that made the innovation viable
and then describe the various regulatory contexts around the
country that challenged the spread of the innovation. Finally, I
will analyze the particular problems faced by food-truck opera-
tors when trying to push the law to adapt to their incremental
innovations. In recounting this history, I hope to demonstrate
how intensive regulation that codifies an industry's past can
pose a significant barrier to incremental innovators who are try-
ing to improve on entrenched, traditional businesses.

                      I. THE INNOVATION
    The story of Roy Choi is undeniably the origin story of the
modern food-truck movement-or, put less grandiosely, the
modern food-truck moment. Like many a good legend, it includes
a domineering mother, vice, loss, inspiration, teamwork, and,
eventually, triumph based on all the lessons learned during the
previous trials.1
    Choi is the son of Korean immigrants. He grew up helping
his mother sell stinky kimchi out of the trunk of their car to sur-
vive in Los Angeles. He was ashamed of his mother, their pov-
erty, and the smells emanating from the family car when he was
a child. Starting at age thirteen, he followed a trail of addictions,


   t Lecturer in Law and Director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on
Entrepreneurship, The University of Chicago Law School.
   1 Like many a good legend, this story is also oversimplified. The idea and execu-
tion of the business model that made Choi a legend were the product of a team of people
who brought various talents and experiences to the project. See Jessica Gelt, Kogi
Korean BBQ, A Street Sensation Is Born, LA Times F1 (Feb 11, 2009). While this is a
classic start-up story, that recounting does not resonate as an origin story in quite the
same way as that of the solitary, inspired founder.

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