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:
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.