Foodservice Equipment Reports

Chains Getting Shown The Exit Door In Many Communities

Are quick-service and fast-casual restaurants becoming as frightening and onerous to vacation communities as the shark in “Jaws” was to Amityville’s image?

In March, the Town of Eastchester, N.Y., amended its zoning regulations to ban restaurants with 15 or more locations, a stand-up counter or menus on the wall. City officials disparaged quick-service outlets’ cookie-cutter, corporate architecture and décor, which generate a lot of traffic—both pedestrian and vehicular—but don’t enhance the community.

The East Coast town joins a number of communities, many of them in areas dependent on tourism, which over the past decade have amended or proposed changes in zoning laws to ban chain businesses from within their borders.

Wisconsin, home to a number of big foodservice E&S manufacturers, seems to be a hotbed of such activism. In April, two towns outside of Milwaukee seemed to ally themselves with some of the state’s tourist-dependent towns that already have banned chain restaurants. Richfield voted to ban construction of new quick-service restaurants in largely residential areas (sit-down restaurants were spared from the ban). A planned zoning change in Wauwatosa, home to a number of existing chain restaurants, proposes barring a “formula” restaurant with 11 or more outlets and two or more qualifying criteria, such as a standardized menu, uniforms or signage.

Next issue of Fortnightly, we’ll update you on pending legislation in California, including a possible lifting of the quick-service ban in parts of Los Angeles.