Barbecue Restaurants Have Bone To Pick With State Regulations

McKinney (CBS11) – Barbecue restaurants are asking Governor Abbott to sign a bill that would ease state regulations.

The bill would exempt restaurants selling food by the pound from having to certify their scales and keep those scales visible to customers.

At Hutchins Barbecue in McKinney, owner Dustin Blackwell said he wants customers satisfied.

“Every day we’re blessed with a line out the door,” he said.

One way he keeps them coming up back is by making sure their plates are full.

“We always give more, we never give less,” he said.

In 2015, the Texas Department of Agriculture began cracking down on businesses that sell items by weight, requiring scales be visible to customers and certified by the state for a $35 fee.

Blackwell said the fees add up, but it’s the visibility requirement that creates a problem for his drive-thru and catering jobs.

“We’re not going to be able to take our scales out there,” he said.

In a blistering editorial for the Texas Tribune, though, Agriculture Commissioner Side Miller wrote the bill passed by the House and Senate “needs to be stopped. This bad bill gives places like barbecue joints a license to steal by exempting them from state consumer protection laws designed to protect Texans like you and me.”

“We have Yelp. We have social media. We have all these consumer protections,” said Andy Rittler of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association.

Rittler claims the extra regulation only burdens small businesses to create revenue for the state.

A barbecue joint with a bad reputation, advocates argue, won’t last long in Texas.

“Horse hockey,” wrote Miller. “I trust my local barbecue guy, but I still want to see that when I buy a pound of sausage.”

READ SID MILLER’S EDITORIAL HERE

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