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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

LA ban on Fast Food: What is Fast Food?

Many of you may have read about the recent bill banning new fast food restaurants in South Los Angeles that was approved by the Los Angeles City Council on July 29th. What I've found most interesting about this is the bill's definition of fast food restaurants. According to the bill, a fast food restaurant is "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."

This is so broad that several restaurants not labeled "fast food" on FoodDigger may actually be swept in by the law's definition. Of course, we want to take a cue from the law and not mislabel any restaurants on the site. Fortunately, the bill exempts certain "fast-food casual" restaurants such as El Pollo Loco and Subway, that do not have drive-through windows or heat lamps and that prepare fresh food to order.

Based on this definition is In-N-Out fast food? I'd probably say, yes. Although, what is great about In-N-Out is that the food is made to order. I think in this case In-N-Out cannot escape the consequences of its own branding. However, if El Pollo Loco is not fast food, I think KFC and Popeye's should make a run at the fast-food casual exemption.

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