Local News

Food Fight: Wilson vs. Fast-Food Restaurateurs

Posted January 29, 2008 6:21 p.m. EST

— Wilson is having a fast-food fight that some restaurants say is taking a bite out of their profits.

City leaders want to cut down the number of signs posted at restaurant drive-thrus. Restaurant managers say the signs are there for a reason.

Some believe that getting rid of them may come at a price.

With combos, value meals, and specials, the choices seem endless at fast food restaurants.
And, if you ask the City of Wilson, so do the signs.

“Later on, we find out that little things sprout out from that – temporary signage, additional clip-on pieces of advertisement,” said Kevin Medeiros, the city’s land development director in the Planning and Development Services Department, which regulates signage.

City leaders are targeting fast-food menu boards, saying that they are getting out of control.

“The city of Wilson is a nice-looking place, and we don't want to jeopardize that, Brian Bowman, the city’s public information manager, said.

Wilson limits restaurants to two menu boards, and they each have to be a certain size. Extra ones that keep popping up are technically a no-no.

City leaders say they will warn violators twice before scheduling a hearing for a restaurant operator. If the restaurants continue posting the signs after being ordered to stop, they could face fines of up to $100 a day.

“We're a business. We've got to show people what we're advertising, show people what we're selling. If we need to put it up a million times in the restaurant, then that's what we need to do,” explained Marcus Latham, who manages a Wendy’s restaurant.

The city is taking photos of restaurants that are in violation. Next, officials will send out warning notices.

Some customers agree with the businesses that the city should stay out of it.

“The more you have, the better off it be. Instead of, you know, waiting in line and everybody going to the same sign, I can have my mind made up before I get to the speaker,” customer Cedric Vick said.

That logic works for Latham.

“If the city tells us to do it, we got to do it. But I'm pretty sure I'm going to have something to say about it,” Latham said.