Fast Food Desert

Published 12:23 pm Saturday, February 17, 2018

The United States is a country littered with fast food restaurants. From McDonald’s and Taco Bell to Subway and Captain D’s, we are inundated with places to get a quick bite.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise to find out that West Point doesn’t have a single one.

To be sure, West Point has a bunch of great sit-down restaurants. With the likes of Johnny’s and Pokey’s, you can always get something good there, though the specialty in these establishments is not quick service.

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For some time now it has looked like the Valley area has been split into three distinct food areas: specialized eateries in West Point, small, family run restaurants in Lanett and fast food options in Valley.

In an effort for each community to attract a large swath of newcomers, each should consider broadening the number and type of food locations available. More small, niche, sit-down places in Valley, something similar to Sue’s Chic Café, would be a good place to start.

O’Charley’s or Outback Steakhouse in Lanett would go a long way, as would a McDonald’s in West Point. After all, everyone enjoys a Big Mac every once in a while.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy fix.

Cities are not in the restaurant business, people are. All a city can do is pass legislation incentivizing people to open up shop, but that’s not a guarantee.

Added to this is the fact that most chains have certain parameters that have to be met before they will okay expansion into a new area. One of those parameters is they can’t be built too close to an existing franchise unless there is a certain population density.

There is a workaround, bring in a franchise unique to the area. Bring in places like Quiznos, Chipotle, Whataburger and Panda Express.

Diversifying our available eateries is a possibility, it just takes a plan and the drive to see it through.