Foodservice Equipment Reports

A Burger On Every Corner No More In South L.A.

It’s official. As we reported might happen back in September, the Los Angeles City Council has indeed voted to impose limits on the number of fast-food restaurants across South Central Los Angeles, home to an estimated 800,000 people. The Dec. 8 vote will restrict the opening of new free-standing fast-food stores within a half-mile radius of similar operations. The measure defines a fast-food business as any that doesn't have table service and which offers a limited menu of food prepared in advance, heated quickly and served in disposable wrapping or containers.

Two years ago, the council passed a moratorium on many new fast-food establishments in the densely populated area in a bid to encourage alternatives, such as sit-down restaurants, full-service grocery stores and “healthy” food outlets. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2008 that fast-food restaurants made up 45% of the eating establishments in South Los Angeles, far more than in other parts of the city.

According to lawmakers, the new rules are to become part of the permanent planning guidelines for the 32-square-mile area. Similar restrictions are already in place in other Los Angeles neighborhoods. Existing fast-food establishments seeking to remodel or expand would be exempt from some of the new requirements. And although free-standing fast-food units cannot be opened without a lengthy process, including approval by the mayor, new outlets can open in indoor malls, shopping centers and strip malls.

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