No Butts About It: Beverly Hills Is Enjoying the Fresh Air
The air has been cleared about the "90210 Fresh Air Dining" ordinance, which restricts smoking outdoors at Beverly Hills restaurants. An evaluation of the program illustrated an improved quality of life, as well as consistent quarter-over-quarter business results.
Since implementing the ordinance, the City has received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the smoking ban. Patrons are appreciative that they don’t have to inhale second-hand smoke while they dine and the ban has encouraged families with children and the elderly to frequent local restaurants.
Beginning October 1, 2007, Beverly Hills expanded smoking restrictions in its restaurants to include outdoors, as well as within five feet of an open-air dining area. This included restaurants located in hotels. (Hotels with pool areas where food and beverages are served could designate up to 25% of the deck area for smoking.)
Along with the new ordinance, the City launched a Fresh Air Dining marketing campaign based around the 90210 logo, which capitalized on the familiarity of the 90210 zip code and the element symbol for oxygen. The City also furnished outreach materials to local restaurants to help them expain the new policy to diners.
The City implemented a three-month evaluation period, during which time the City tracked revenues to determine the financial impact of the smoking ban. Most restaurants have witnessed minimal impact – if any – on their patronage, saying that their fourth-quarter sales between 2006-2007 were not affected due to the ordinance. In fact, when adjusted for inflation, fourth quarter sales in 2007 were 6.86% higher than in 2006.
Evaluations were based on data gathered from individual restaurant patrons, a restaurant survey, interviews with area hotels and sales comparisons. Some restaurants were initially concerned because thousands of U.S. and international smokers visit Beverly Hills every year, and many are not accustomed to California smoking bans.
You may review the relevant Beverly Hills Municipal Code Section. For more information on the Fresh Air Dining program, call (310) 285-1189.