Slow “Fast”food

I am a large man.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that.  I own my size.  I’m not proud of it, but I accept it.  Is there anything I can do about it?  Absolutely!  Will I be doing anything about it?  Probably not.  I’m too lazy to diet.  Dieting takes time and will power and the ability to come home from a difficult day and actually cook.  I’m just not in any mood for that.  So, I order delivery, or I go to the nearest fastfood place and get something quick to go.  I’m a product of the “instant” generation.  I want it hot and I want it now!

I don’t think this is anything new.  My grandmother used to drink Sanka coffee at home because it was easier than making a whole pot of coffee on the stove (this was before Mr. Coffee introduced everyone to the drip).  My mother would heat up frozen chicken or fish sticks for dinner……quick and easy.  This affliction of “fast” food is nothing new, it’s just been modified over the years.

I am thankful for Ray Kroc and his McVision.  He paved the way for places like Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s , Checkers and all the others.

kfc mcdonalds burger

These companies make my dinner (and sometimes lunch) time quick and easy.  That being said, the food is usually not the best quality, and I know it’s probably the worst food I could be eating (damn you, Morgan Spurlock and your Supersize Me), but it’s something I can rely on and I can get it done quick.  Here’s where the Americans got it right (I know there are many things wrong with Americans and the USA, but there are so many more things that are right).  Most Americans share my sentiments, and the fastfood restaurants in the USA operate on a premise that it should be fast, above all else.  This is where the idea of the drivethru comes in.  It’s so fast that you can drive up to the window and your food is ready by the time your car reaches the next window…..ingenious!  And it works!

It was while I was living in Spain that I became aware that fastfood establishments do not operate the same all over the world.  First, they have different food, which appeals to the market they are in.  That’s understandable, because they want to sell food, so they have to cater to the tastes of their market (some of the things KFC sells in China would make an American throw up).  In Spain, you can get gazpacho at McDonalds…..some bit of fun, but nothing major.

Unfortunately, this is not the only way in which “foreign” fastfood establishments differ from American.  The main way is that they ARE NOT FAST!  When I go into McDonalds on a Tuesday afternoon at 3PM and there is a queue at the counter, there’s something wrong.  Some of these restaurants even have a section of the counter where they send people to wait for their orders.  Excuse me?  WAIT for my order?  Why the hell am I coming in here if I have to wait.  When I lived in Spain, I went to McDonalds or Burger King at least once a week.  It was an easy way to get food before I got home from work.  The queues were sometimes out the door.  This is not because so many people love these places in Spain, but because the counter people take 10-15 minutes PER CUSTOMER!  That is ridiculous.  There are no products ready-made, all the orders need to be made on the spot, which takes longer than the American restaurants.  They are also (not only in Spain) not good with keeping up with the fryer, so the alarm is constantly going off, but they are constantly out of French fries.  How does that work????  It’s like there’s some French fry black hole in the kitchen of every “fast”food restaurant outside of the United States!  McDonalds and Burger King are the worst culprits.  KFC isn’t far behind.

There are some “fast”food places that you expect to be slower.  Places that need to make your order while you’re there, are expected to take a longer time.  I’m talking about places like Starbucks, Dunking Donuts and Subway.  These places built their whole business on making what the customer orders on the spot.

dunkin starbucks subway

In other countries, these places are often faster than the so-called “fast”food places.  I’m in and out of Subway in 5 minutes.  My coffee is ready in Starbucks by the time I reach the end of the counter.  These places, where you expect them to be a bit slower, have actually surpassed their competitors and are now the fast option.

You may say that I’m just bitching about something that will never change, and you’re probably right.  Any of my friends who have ever lived overseas and entered one of these fastfood establishments, knows what I’m talking about.  It’s a hassle to stand in the queue, knowing that somewhere in the US you have a counterpart who’s getting their food a lot faster than you are.  I think I’m finished with the likes of McDonalds and KFC.  I’ll stick with my Starbucks and some of the “faster” sit-down restaurants (where I will often get my food faster than if I waited in the queue at Burger King), like Pizza Hut or Applebees.  There’s a certain service you come to expect from the fastfood places, and I’m not getting it!  It’s time to go…..maybe I’ll actually lose some weight now (this is the “easy” way to diet – haha)!




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