New bill allows food stands to offer seating

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A Triad Senator has introduced a bill that would allow food stands to provide tables and chairs for customers without getting a restaurant permit.

State Senator Jerry Tillman told FOX8 Senate Bill 7 impacts businesses like mini marts and food trucks. Tillman said allowing seating benefits the business and the customer -- especially customers who are elderly or disabled.

“That’s my bill. It just says yes, you can sit at a table with a chair. Common sense would dictate that that’s something you ought to be able to do,” said Tillman.

Food truck owners in the Triad agree.

“We strategically park at a lot of places now where our customers are able to sit down. Whether it be a bar or a coffee shop, somewhere they can take a load off and relax while they eat their meal,” said Ben Devar, owner-operator of Camel City Grill food truck. “Being able to offer a few tables and chairs would be a cool addition to something that already brings people together.”

“I don’t see why it would be a big deal in the first place. It’s just being able to sit down and eat your food. What’s the different between sitting at a folding table that I set up, or coming here to sit on the ledge that’s across the street? It’s the same thing,” said Nicholas Benshoff, Bandito Burrito truck owner and chef.

Sen. Tillman said he has only gotten negative feedback about the proposal from health department officials.

“They thought it would lead to more water consumption and may overtax sewage systems and so forth,” said Tillman.

That’s why Tillman’s bill allows the Department of Health and Human Services to handle those issues on a case by case basis, rather than eliminating seating for all food stand businesses.

If approved, the bill would go into effect Oct. 1, 2015.