For the first time, you may soon be able to have food and drinks delivered right to your blanket on Fort Lauderdale’s beach.
Under the proposed one-year pilot project, uniformed servers would take your order and deliver between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. The food, placed in recyclable containers, would have to be ready within 45 minutes. You’d pay with debit and credit cards, or room numbers — but no cash.
The menu items, from finger foods to entrees, would be up to the individual businesses. But don’t toast the idea; the drinks have to be non-alcoholic.
You can still pack your own picnic; good news for those who fear the cost of convenience may be out of their comfort zone.
Who wants to order from a hotel when the price is triple?” asked resident Bill Faust. “Hotels are costly and it’s not always the best food.”
The service is aimed at accommodating upscale visitors who expect pampering.
“There will be folks who will be sitting on the sand and they’ll want to get a soda and a burger and they don’t want to walk across [A1A],” said Don Morris, manager of the beach Community Redevelopment Agency.
Alcohol isn’t included because that would mean the city would have to allow people to bring their own booze to the beach. And besides, hotel and restaurant alcohol licenses don’t allow service off their property.
The servers will be in uniform because “on a busy beach day, you’ll want to know who a server is,” city spokesman Chaz Adams said. “We want to have them easily identifiable.”
There would be 13 different food zones between Bahia Mar and Sunrise Boulevard, each with its own menu — and pricing. So where you park could affect what you pay.
The zones were created to keep traffic to a minimum, with a hotel or restaurant needing to be within 500 feet of a zone to provide service.
“We don’t want folks riding bicycles, riding mopeds [delivering food],” Morris said. “We have an issue now with traffic on the beach.”
The proposal will be presented to commissioners early next year, Adams said.
Fred Carlson lives on the beach and thinks the city is being too restrictive.
“If [patrons] want to order from the hotel next to them, fine. If they want to order a pizza from Primanti Brothers up on Sunrise, let them,” he said. “The idea of franchising certain parts of the beach to vendors who live next to it seems un-American.”