Hawaiian Food's New Mainland Fan Base by Julie Tamaki (may need to register)
The article implies that Hawai'i's fast food, led by the L&L juggernaut may be the next big American fast food phenomenon. It cites the 100+ Hawai'i-style plate lunch places that have popped up in California and elsewhere in the Western part of the mainland as evidence.
However, there is a caveat, which is that:
"These restaurants seem to work in niche neighborhoods where they have an ethnic following, but some… seem to have a tough time outside of these core areas," said Randall Hiatt, president of Fessel International, a Costa Mesa-based restaurant consulting firm.
Can anyone who's frequented plate lunch establishments on the mainland, explain more precisely what this "ethnic following" might refer to? Hawai`i expatriates? Asian-Americans? Something else? Anyone want to take a stab at this?
Another somewhat controversial point in the article is its implication that Eddie Flores (L&L CEO) is labeling other Hawai`i plate lunch competitors on the West Coast "copycats", though the quote is ambigous on whether he explicitly said such a thing:
And those core markets have been hit by a tsunami of copycats, which Flores described as "frustrating."
L&L did not invent the plate lunch concept, which after all has existed for generations. So what exactly constitutes a copycat? Anyone who tries to sell plate lunch on the mainland? Or are there places that are actually trying to pass themselves off as L&Ls?
West Coast people, can you give us the real deal on all this?