The menu of fast-food offerings in Half Moon Bay continues to grow. The city’s first Taco Bell is moving into a vacant storefront nestled between Peet’s Coffee and New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay.

The new eatery is the latest among more than 70 Taco Bell restaurants owned and managed by Pleasanton company Dolan Foster Enterprises. The company, which owns Taco Bells in Pacifica and Santa Cruz, plans to open the Half Moon Bay branch next month.

“We just love Half Moon Bay, and we’ve looked for a spot over there for some time,” said co-owner Richard Low. “We thought this shopping center would be a great place to open up a restaurant.”

News of the forthcoming Taco Bell wasn’t taken so well at the other end of the shopping center, which sits at the northeast corner of highways 1 and 92. Martha Galindo, an employee and sister of the owners of the Happy Taco taquerías, said she was “upset” that a new fast-food franchise was moving in so close and selling many of the same foods offered at her restaurant. Taco Bell would certainly eat into her family’s business, she said.

“They’re going to sell enchiladas; we sell enchiladas. They sell tacos; we sell tacos … These people are selling the same things we sell,” she said. “It’s not fair.”

Happy Taco owners say they learned about the Taco Bell only this month. They say they complained to their landlord about having two Mexican restaurants in the same plaza, but that it made no difference.

The location has all the makings of success, said Low. It has good visibility, close proximity to the highway traffic, and lot of people regularly swinging by for groceries or coffee. The company has begun making renovations to convert the former liquor store into a kitchen and restaurant.

City planners have approved building permits for the Taco Bell but have not yet received any application for a business license.

The city already has a bevy of fast-food operations near that same spot, including a McDonald’s, Popeye’s Chicken and a Burger King that recently underwent a remodel. Some of those businesses faced a less hospitable welcome in Half Moon Bay. The most recent addition, Popeye’s, was rejected twice by the city’s Planning Commission before being approved by the City Council. The chicken eatery opened in 2007, three years after its owners first applyed for permits.

In contrast, the new Taco Bell owners say they’ve been impressed with the city’s process.

“They’ve been very professional and, at the same time, very terrific to work with,” Low said. “They’ve answered our questions and told us what we needed to do.”

The city’s Planning Department approved building plans in late April. City officials say they will grant Taco Bell a business license after the owners undergo inspections and pay the fees.

(15) comments

August West
August West

Any landlord in town should be very afraid of the Review and their business being ruined. Seems like Clay wants to allow lots of unfounded accusations about treatment of tenants.

Super job, Clay. Just great.

And the Review's involvement in the destruction of the Coastside rolls on.

hmb-er
hmb-er

This is the same landlord who stabbed Raman in the back and made an agreement with Peet's, is it not? Why are you surprised, JCU?

George
George

Is this guy going to be working at this new Taco Bell? http://www.cnbc.com/id/100785975

Just couldn't resist.

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'

Well put, JCU and Jim E. A megalodon like TB could swallow Happy Taco in one gulp. Anyone else considering a lease under that treacherous landlord should be forewarned about his/her history.

Just wondering, was the drive-through the main issue with Popeye's? When the current gas station plus fast food design was approved it specifically did not allow that.

Gotta run, heading to Happy Taco for dinner.

* From Wiki: "C. megalodon is regarded as one of the largest [sharks] and most powerful predators in vertebrate history, and likely had a profound impact on the structure of marine communities."

dan riley's back
dan riley's back

hmbhs school grad. bouts 1960. joined up wit fire dept. straight out high school just to stay outs trouble. guess it didn't work. send my butt to nam to jump out airplanes. love half moon bay forever. taco bell come here, what! who thingin this could ever happin. insult to mexican's that live here and they a whole lot. do not buy from taco bell in hmb. go to pacifica and get a bad taco, o enjoy da view of the ocean.
.

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

John Ullom has no problem with competition. But I do have a problem with a landlord signing a lease with a family who starts a Taco Shop and then stabs them in the back by renting to a Taco Bell that is meant to compete for the same business. No landlord I have ever had would even allow such a thing.

I have not bashed Taco Bell. In fact, I like the # 8, crunchy, Large Diet Pepsi, to go. I bashed the Landlord who has no Class and has proven it. She could have rented to a Jack In the Box, or a KFC, or Carls Junior, or anybody except a Taco Bell. The landlord owes it to his tenants not to sabotage their investment.

I won't be eating there. Should I be inclined, I am going to the Happy Taco.

"But to expect a landlord to deny occupancy to a potential tenant simply out of solidarity with Happy Taco is silly."

I have signed two leases with retail Landlords who would not think it silly at all that they are in the same boat, solidarity wise. The success of the Happy Taco contributes to the success of the low class landlord.

Have you ever signed a lease with a retail landlord, Hayduke? Do you have any idea of the kind of risk a family like the one that owns the Happy Taco takes on when they trust a landlord and sign a multi year lease? I do. The family that trusted the landlord has a low class landlord and needs a better attorney the next time they sign a lease with a landlord like the one they have now.

Hayduke
Hayduke

My original comment got deleted, I assume because I referenced a locally owned business in a negative way. Perhaps bad form on my part, but I do find it interesting that we can freely bash Taco Bell but not locally owned businesses.

My point was simply, if Coastside businesses wish to succeed in the face of competition from corporations and chains - they need to step it up. The idea that competition is somehow "unfair" (as quoted in the article) or "bad form" as stated by John Charles Ullom is silly. This is business and this is how the free market operates. If we wish to engineer the types of businesses we wish to have in our town (not necessarily something I am opposed to), then we need the leadership from the City Council in passing certain design guidelines and business districts that regulate it. But to expect a landlord to deny occupancy to a potential tenant simply out of solidarity with Happy Taco is silly.

It is also silly to think that Happy Taco (or any other local business faced with competition) will continue to succeed simply by the good graces of locals who wish to support them is silly. The fact of the matter is they are different businesses. Taco Bell is no more mexican food than Happy Taco is american. Happy Taco can continue to thrive by highlighting what makes them unique - their quality and authenticity. Two traits that Taco Bell cannot compete on. The trick will be if Happy Taco actually steps up their business, invests in their business, and does what is needed to highlight and build on these qualities rather than just resting on their laurels and claiming that it is "unfair".

Run a better business and you will beat the competition.

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

I'll be eating at the Happy Taco more often. Bad Form and No Class on the part of the Landlord.

jim elliot
jim elliot

Taco Bell will probably get enough market share to hurt or even kill Happy Taco and possibly damage other businesses in the center. My guess is that they will close it down within a year. I also guess that taco bell can undercut McDonalds and Subway and Popeye and Burger King and suck in some of the lunch business from high school kids. (health food?) I really haven't paid attention - maybe there was no valid legal reason to turn Taco Bell Down ? I think I recall they might have been considering the Popeye location before Popeyes got it ? I suspect this is easy money from the Fed trickling down to Half Moon Bay.

hmb-er
hmb-er

Not looking forward to seeing Taco Bell wrappers and related litter on our beaches and around town.

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'

When a friend says, "Let's go for Mexican," you don't think Taco Bell. But I'm going to start supporting Happy Taco anyway.

The story on Peet's from a very good source is they approached the landlord to boot Raman who had built a successful coffee business there (free market testing for Peet's, how nice). Of course Peet's could pay more money and upgrade the structure.
The landlord didn't tell Raman (forgot why, maybe to keep him renting till the last minute) . Raman found out from a Councilwoman who paid him a visit. Pretty rotten move by Peet's and the landlord both assuming it's true.

George
George

One of the things kind of sticking in my craw with this is I'm wondering if we are seeing some sort of pattern here, which will ultimately come at our expense.
Anybody remember Raman and his Chi? (if I butchered the spelling, please have mercy).

The landlord, if memory serves, sent the loved tea master out and replaced him with corporate (Pete's). We see it again here, another 'big box store' (in a smaller package, but big corporate presence non-the-less), as opposed to a Mom & Pop.

It's not like there is a shortage of corporate coffee/tea places or fast food places here on the coast.

It may be a good idea to keep our eye on this landlord; before we know it, he might get approval for a Walmart! Little by little, he's heading that way.

I have never eaten at a Taco Bell, and unless this one sells KFC, my buying track record will remain in tact. I do have a soft spot for KFC, though. Every so often, I just gotta have it and I believe I've seen both names under the same roof on the peninsula and around the State.

sandyhmb
sandyhmb

Happy Taco IS great and is authentic Mexican food, but many of us prefer
American-Mexican food, which is what Taco Bell serves. I like them both,
but I'm happy Taco Bell is coming to our town.

beachcomber
beachcomber

Agreed. I like Taco Bell now and then, but I eat at Happy Taco at least once a week. Best Mexican food in town!

Zack B
Zack B

Don't worry Happy Taco, the Bell sells junk food. There is no comparison to the quality food served by you.

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