Just about one month ago, a Los Angeles City Council committee voted to ban all new construction of fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles for one year. Now, in a similar manner, the San Jose City Council is proposing a comparable citywide moratorium, as a move toward healthier living spreads across the country (or at least up the Interstate in California).
These fast food bans have their heart in the right place, trying to address the growing obesity epidemic, among other problems, but I do not believe that they are attacking these problems in the right way. Fast food restaurants are an extremely broad group, providing a wide variety of dining options for people who do not always have the time, money, or interest in eating a sit-down meal. They have a legitimate place in the market. A long-term version of this ban would have adverse effects by limiting peoples’ dining options and also preventing the organic growth of healthier alternative fast food restaurants (as demand increased).
At SeamlessWeb, we partner with many “fast food” restaurants that are devoted to healthy living and eating (e.g. The Pump Energy Food and Energy Kitchen), and they are some of our most successful vendors, proving that there is a market for these restaurants if they are just given an opportunity!