Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It’s Not Fine Dining, But Just Ok

Ordering in fast food has never been the most healthy choice, but it sure has changed over the years – and we’re not talking just product selection.

I remember back in the 1980’s when a pizza place opened up, whose slogan was “buy one, always get one free.” This started a trend, where all the pizza places followed suit, offering cheap deals on buying multiple pizza pies.

These days, you never get a free pizza, they just knock off a few dollars from each pizza when you buy more than one.

The pizza places and many other fast food restaurants also used to offer speedy delivery. One place’s famous slogan “30 minutes or it’s free” still rings in my memories. It even got to the point where rumors circulated about what the company did to delivery drivers not meeting the tight timelines. Such as taking the cost of the order out of the driver’s pay, or worse – firing the driver. Some restaurants even printed on their boxes “we care about your safety, our drivers never have to pay for a late order.”

Time may constantly move forward, but times have gone back to the dark ages in terms of speedy fast food delivery. When I order from a big chain chicken and ribs place, I used to always get a guaranteed to arrive time for the order. Now they always tell me that my order is on a “no time guarantee delivery, we’ll get you your order as fast as we can.”

As fast as we can? Hello! When I order fast food it’s not because of a future need, I’m hungry NOW. I know I can’t have it instantly, but just how long is “as fast as we can?”

Very rarely do you get your order for free if they do promise a time of delivery which isn’t met. Most places only will refund you the cost of delivery, which usually is only a couple of dollars.

Sure, fast food has other benefits still – it takes less time as you don’t have to prepare it yourself, and there is less clean up afterwards as all you need are the dishes and utensils for eating the meal. And when you order from a big chain, you are almost always guaranteed to get exactly what you ordered, they occasionally make mistakes, but usually they are consistent in terms of what they offer and how.

But once you offer something to the customer, it pains us when you take it away. Or confuses us when you add things that – well – that we’d never thought you would.

Like when McDonald’s started selling pizza’s in the late 1990’s. Who would have thought that a burger joint would start selling pizza? McPizza didn’t last too long – though it wasn’t that bad. Like the Big Mac, it had a distinct flavor all its own.
But it usually took longer to make than a burger, so often you’d get your hot pizza just as your friends had finished their meals and were ready to leave.

And now many pizza places have added French fries and onion rings to their menus. I remember years ago when they had potato wedges – don’t see those too often anymore. Guess they just swapped one form of greasy food with another.

Now when the fast food restaurants start selling fine steak dinners, with a nice bottle dry Chardonnay – that’ll be when I really cross over and start ordering more often!

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