Formula Restaurants

USA Today reports that a group of investors are challenging a Springdale, Utah ordinance that bans “formula restaurants” to preserve the charm of the local community. Justia has the Complaint from Izzy Poco v. Town of Springdale et al..

Springdale Town Code 10-2-2:

FORMULA RESTAURANT OR DELICATESSEN: A business which is required by contractual or other arrangement to provide any of the following: substantially identical named menu items, packaging, food preparation methods, employee uniforms, interior decor, signage, exterior design, or name as any other restaurant or delicatessen in any other location.

Springdale Town Code Section 10-3A-5:

C. Standards for conditional uses in agricultural zone:

1. Restaurants:

d. Formula restaurants are prohibited.

Springdale Town Code Section 10-22-3:

Subject to the provisions of section 10-21-1 of this title, the following uses are recognized to be incompatible with the general plan, because of the limited amount of private land available within the town’s boundaries; the large size or scale required of such uses; excessive noise, odor or light emissions; their excessive use of limited resources and the undue burden they place on public utilities and services, or because they are of a character hereby found to be in conflict with the town’s general plan:

Formula restaurants and formula delicatessens.

I don’t understand the ordinance. In fact, it reminds me of San Francisco’s strange obsession with chain stores. At the end of the day, unless a business is operating on federal, state or local lands, I don’t understand why one restaurant is permitted, but another is not. After all, we’re talking about sandwiches and not adult motion picture theaters.

The food industry is challenging enough. Let the market decide whether the local or visiting population really dislikes formula restaurants. And, in this day and age of Yelp, mom-and-pop restaurants that deliver quality food and service can compete toe-to-toe with the so-called formula restaurants with their national advertising budgets. And, if a mom-and-pop restaurant cannot beat a chain restaurant, maybe a visit from Gordon Ramsay would be in order.

4 comments… add one

  • Robert Bystander

    And I suspect you are a person who claims to love America and all it stands for? If so then start by loving your local town, high street and it’s character and ambience. I applaud this Councils foresightedness, there’s nothing glamourous or attractive in the design of chain hamburger stores. The largest of these are outlawed in conservation areas such as York, Canterbury, and Bath England. I agree there’s a demand for them – but what an awful legacy they are leaving throughout the USA, and the world. Maybe in the year 2500 one will be rebuilt in an Health Museum to show how the population of Latter Day USA once lived and ate, and they can illustrate to our descendants how plastic things then were in those days, complete with photos of ‘fat people’ to show what they were realy selling obesity. A limey who cares for the USA [representing the former land owners on this issue] Bob. Leeds, UK.

  • joe kol

    I’m a McDonalds fan, but when I’m road tripping, I consider local eateries a big part of the adventure !! I always ask a local person where the best meal in town is. Too many folks nowadays won’t even waddle to the restaurant door when drive through is an option.

    Fast food is everything Springdale, Utah says it is. Lets keep it at the mall or Interstate exit.

    Three cheer for Springdale!!! Fight the good fight.

  • chuckieluv

    this is just about local zoning laws. localities traditionally have been given wide latitude when enacting zoning ordinances, with the expressed exception of houses of worship (federal statute). i guess the big chains just didn’t contribute enough to the city council members’ re-election campaign funds.

  • Saratov

    Having served as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner in a small town in Utah, I can certainly understand Springdale’s concern about the influx of “fast food.” Personally, however, I think that ban based on ANY other restaurant in ANY other location goes beyond common sense. “Bob & Jodele’s East Desert Cooking” and “Bob & Jodele’s West Desert Cooking” are lightyears from the ubiquitous McKing.

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