The Taco Bell on North Main Street has claimed half of the spots in its shopping center's parking lot for its employees and customers.
The lot has 40 non-handicapped parking spaces, and Taco Bell has taken control of 20 of them, with violators at risk of towing. The rest are shared by the EZ Way Laundromat, Greeks' Restaurant and Grill, Easy Way Packaging & Shipping Center and most recently, Waffle House.
Since most of its neighbors have been at their location for years, Taco Bell store manager Syrakhone Phonasa attributes the recent arrival of Waffle House to a decline in the Taco Bell's business.
"(The parking change) happened because we're losing business, we don't have parking spaces for our customers," Phonasa said.
While the shift in parking availability might seem drastic, Phonasa said that Taco Bell has had ownership of the now-marked spots for years.
"From what I understand, Taco Bell's parking lot is what's behind and beside our building. We have shared that with the other businesses, but we don't necessarily have to," Phonasa said.
Until recently, Phonasa said it wasn't necessary to draw specific lines, but the popularity of Waffle House has caused Taco Bell to mark its territory.
Because Waffle House often has upwards of seven people on staff at a time, their employees' cars take up a considerable portion of the lot, in addition to the employees of the other three buildings. This means that customers who want to eat at Waffle House have often been forced to park in Taco Bell's spots instead. Due to Waffle House's popularity, this has left potential Taco Bell customers without anywhere to park.
In 1985, Charlotte Joyce and her husband built shopping center. In 27 years, she has never had trouble with parking.
"I never dreamed that they'd have so many employees parking out here. It's not customers that are giving us trouble, it's the employees," she said.
Now that Taco Bell has made its boundaries clear, Waffle House may have a bit of a parking shortage. It may be too soon to tell, but Waffle House's Unit Manager JoAnn Seymour seems unfazed.
"We're just delighted to have our customers here. Whether they decide to stop in a car or drop by via foot, we're happy to have them."
While its arrival has caused a change in the lot's atmosphere, Waffle House isn't necessarily at fault. The restaurant may be new, but it has been well received by students like Maya Gantt, a junior human nutrition, foods and exercise major.
"I feel like more people come to Waffle House than Taco Bell, so there should probably be more parking for Waffle House," she said.
Regardless of where the lines are drawn, it's possible that the small lot simply doesn't have enough spaces for two popular restaurants.