BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – Two restaurant owners in Belen are claiming several businesses are losing customers to food trucks because of a weekly city-run event. Rita’s New Mexican Restaurant owner Jennifer Davis is frustrated, claiming her Belen business has lost more than $2,000 in recent months to food trucks.
She said these trucks roll into Anna Becker Park every week for “Food Truck Fridays,” an event the city started back in August. “There are others in our town that really are feeling the pinch, any sale missed is a sale missed… and that’s electricity, payroll,” said Davis.
Davis wants the food trucks to do well, but said she doesn’t like that her lost business is going to some trucks she claims aren’t local.
“It’s all about them taking the dollar out of the city of Belen,” said Davis. “They’re taking the little bit of money the Belen people have and they’re taking it back to wherever they’re from.”
However, the mayor of Belen said that’s not the case, saying most food trucks are from their city. He also believes during the pandemic, people should try to support all New Mexico businesses.
“For the most part, the food trucks are either from Belen or from Valencia County,” said Mayor Jerah Cordova. “We did have one or two that came from Socorro County but not too far from Belen. We welcome all businesses to our city.”
Davis said she wishes the mayor would have asked for input from local restaurants before starting this event as she claims other Belen restaurants are struggling. “Support your locals, it is hard and we all gotta stick together,” said Davis.
The mayor said Food Truck Friday will end when the farmers’ market does at the end of the month. The mayor said the city also hopes to have other food truck-related events this winter.