At the checkout counter at the New York City location of Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, customers know two things for certain: the price of a single scoop will be at least $6.50, and credit cards are the only accepted form of payment.
One of them is going to be different.
The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection of New York City made the announcement on Thursday that it had reached a settlement agreement with the ice cream company Van Leeuwen. According to the terms of the agreement, the ice cream company is required to comply with the city’s cashless ban law and pay $33,500 in outstanding civil penalties. The city said that since the rule was implemented, a total of more than 112,000 dollars’ worth of fines had been levied against Van Leeuwen.
Since the regulation prohibiting companies from accepting solely payments made by credit card went into effect in November 2020, the city claims that Van Leeuwen has failed to comply with the law in spite of repeated warnings. Van Leeuwen has 19 sites in the city of New York, in addition to additional dozen locations around the country.
Shortly after the ban was implemented, the city issued a statement in which it said that it had received “dozens of customer complaints.” According to the terms of the settlement agreement, the Office of Administrative Trials, which is responsible for processing infraction summonses issued by 19 local departments, determined that Van Leeuwen had violated the cashless prohibition more than 90 times.
The business failed to show up to the vast majority of the administrative hearings on many occasions, and it also did not pay “some” of the fines that were owed. Eater was the publication that broke the news of the settlement.
Thursday’s request for a statement from Van Leeuwen was not met with an instant response from him.
According to a statement released by the city, on October 11, the city gave notice to Van Leeuwen that it intended to seek an injunction in the New York State Supreme Court. This “prompted Van Leeuwen to finally and promptly comply,” the statement said.
The deal that was reached between the city and Van Leeuwen, as stated by the mayor, “sends a strong message that those who frequently break this legislation will be held responsible.”
Van Leeuwen agreed, as part of the settlement, to remove all signs, stickers, and placards stating that they do not take cash and that all of their New York City stores would begin taking cash as of October 17.
In addition, Van Leeuwen said in the agreement that it intends to deploy reverse ATMs, which are machines that dispense a debit card throughout return for cash, in a number of places in the city of New York. Before they have the machines in place, none of the city’s establishments are allowed to refuse to take cash payments.
Ice cream with flavours such as organic Oregon peppermint, biodynamic single-estate Ceylon cinnamon, pistachio made with handpicked nuts from Sicily, and vanilla made with organic beans from Papua New Guinea was first sold out of yellow trucks in New York City in the year 2008 by Pete Van Leeuwen, his brother Ben Van Leeuwen, and their partner, Laura O’Neill. The trucks were parked on the streets of New York City.
As a result of the explosion in popularity of food trucks in the 2010s, a large number of these vehicles can now be seen all over the city. But by the year 2020, Van Leeuwen had become much more than only an elegant neighbourhood ice cream van. The business had acquired an investment of $18.7 million from Nextworld Evergreen, a private equity group based in San Francisco. According to its website, Van Leeuwen currently has 33 brick-and-mortar storefronts across the country, including in Texas, Pennsylvania, and California. Additionally, the company is in the process of opening six more locations and has become a favourite among vegans for its use of nut milk alternatives.