Foodservice Equipment Reports

Fast-Food Openings Remain A No-Go In South L.A.

Opening a new QSR in South Los Angeles is going to remain difficult, if not impossible.

The moratorium on new, freestanding fast-food units instituted by the L.A. City Council in 2008 expired Sept. 14, but a proposal to make the ban permanent is expected to be approved by the council sometime in the next two months.

The ban, which covers 45 square miles of South Los Angeles, will be extended by city officials for at least another year. The council plans to update general development plans in the area to make the restrictions permanent—and likely more onerous. It’s expected that the revised plans will include minimum-distance requirements of at least a quarter-mile between new and existing fast-food restaurants. Existing restaurants will not be affected.

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, the restrictions discouraged plans for about 10 stand-alone restaurants, while about a dozen fast-food sites opened in mini-malls, as allowed under the moratorium.

The council passed the ordinance in July 2008, ascribing the need to concerns about a high concentration of fast-food restaurants in South L.A. and a lack of healthy choices and full-service restaurants. The ordinance defines a fast-food restaurant as: “Any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises, and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders, and food served in disposable wrapping or containers.”

The matter could go before an area planning commission in October.

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