The Next Big Chain Battle?

In a city where chain retail is about as popular as republican politicians and republican politicians are about as popular as heat rash, one has to wonder about the non-stop attempts to open chain stores here. From the Bayshore Home Depot to the recent flap over a proposed Red Mango frozen yogurt stand in North Beach to the Richmond Starbucks, San Franciscans seem to resist big-time retail establishments at every turn.

In the 2006 November election, voters even ratified their general opposition to chain stores by passing proposition G, the Small Business Protection Act.

That’s why we were surprised to read in the San Francisco Business Times that a restaurant chain without a single California location is looking to enter the state’s market with three Bay Area stores, including one in San Francisco. Made In Japan Teriyaki Experience, a Canadian-based “fast casual” restaurant chain, plans to open three Bay Area locations in the near future, including one in San Francisco. If that goes well, the chain intends to open 37 more Bay Area stores, with a goal of 102 across Northern California.

While the proposed Financial District location is zoned “downtown office,” as opposed to “neighborhood commercial,” like the proposed North Beach Red Mango, it still seems like a bold first move for the chain owners. The restaurant will have to go before the San Francisco Planning Commission, and you can bet, in an election year, somebody will make a stink over it.

The other two Bay Area stores will open in Hayward and Union City, according to the company’s website.

Teriyaki chain plans 40 Bay Area outlets
[San Francisco Business Times]
Made In Japan Teriyaki Experience [Homepage]
San Francisco Zoning Map

The Next Big Chain Battle?