Foodservice Equipment Reports

Fast Food Still Welcome In California City

“You want fries with that?” is a question that continues to perplex city councils in the Golden State.

On Aug.23, the Loma Linda, Calif., City Council decided not to explore a possible ban on drive-through restaurants.  In June, a group of residents told the council that they opposed including a McDonald’s unit in a downtown development project. According to The San Jose Mercury News, the citizens stated it violated the ethos of the health-conscious, largely vegetarian community whose long lifespans led researchers to designate the city the only "blue zone" in the United States.

But Loma Linda already had several quick-service restaurants , including a Carl's Jr.  across from City Hall and near the proposed McDonald's, when the city received that designation, said Mayor Rhodes Rigsby. "We're a blue zone despite fast-food  joints," he said. "And that's because we have a community that makes wise, informed choices, not because we're a community that's shielded from bad choices."

Others questioned whether driving out drive-throughs would encumber elderly or disabled people, and whether the city would lose tax revenue as people drove to nearby cities to purchase fast food.

At least two other cities, Baldwin Park and San Luis Obispo, currently prohibit new fast-food restaurants.  In Ukiah, the City Council is reconsidering limits on what it calls “formula fast-food restaurants” in its downtown area. The city's planning commission previously allowed an exemption for ice cream shops and coffee shops, including Starbucks and Peet's Coffee & Tea, but the stance led to an eventual ban on all chain businesses serving the commission’s description of fast food: inexpensive, quickly made, and of low nutritional value, reported The Ukiah Daily Journal.

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