My husband has been working late this week. So yesterday I took my son to Noodles and Co for a “date.” We ordered their Pad Thai.
Fast food tally for this week: 1
Some of you were upset that Starbucks was included in the list of fast food restaurants since many of you visit only for coffee. My new friend who told me about “fast food lovers” clarified how restaurant industry insiders categorize food:
QSR or Quick Service Restaraunt. This is fast food. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway. They don’t want to call it fast food because of the stigma, so they refer to it as QSR. It has a low price point.
Fast Casual. This is a step up from fast food. More expensive and slightly better quality food but no table service. Chipotle is the gold standard.
Casual Dining. This includes the big chain restaurants, but could also be smaller local restaurants that don’t have the price point that you would get with the top category of Fine Dining. Chili’s. TGIFridays, Chevy’s, are examples. Sit down places with a lower price point. Family dining (like Buca de Beppo) is a variant of this.
Fine Dining. This has a higher price point, better service and atmosphere.
My new friend has agreed to write up guest post to appear this summer. In the meantime, the book…
Since I’m a newbie to running a book club, I turned to readinggroupguides.com for my first two questions:
1. Schlosser discusses the eagerness of fast food companies to avoid hiring skilled workers and to rely instead upon highly unskilled workers. In fact, some chains openly embrace “zero training” as their ultimate goal. Since these companies are providing a steady paycheck, is it really the obligation of fast food chains to take an interest in their workers and to teach them job skills? Also, since many of the workers are recently arrived immigrants, doesn’t employment at fast food restaurants offer them a toehold in the American economy and an opportunity to move onto a better job?
Many of my students’ parents work in the fast food industry. One example was from my first year of teaching when a student’s mom worked a fast food job, was illiterate and spoke no English. I didn’t know her immigration status, but I think that she was supporting the whole family with her paycheck. I wish her employer had considered helping her learn how to read and write as well as how to speak English. It would have been a great help to her kids. When parents are illiterate and/or speak another language, they can’t help their kids with their homework, which is a significant handicap. With each passing year, homework gets more challenging and many projects are meant to done at home with parental assistance.
2. Over the last several decades, fast food companies have aggressively targeted children in their marketing efforts. Should advertisers be permitted to target children who lack the sophistication to make informed decisions and are essentially being lured into eating high fat, high calorie food through toys and cute corporate mascots? Is it possible that fast food companies – like tobacco companies – are recruiting increasingly younger consumers in order to insure a steady customer base as their older constituents die from heart disease, diabetes, and other obesity-related disorders?
Recently the government issued voluntary guidelines meant to limit the marketing of food to children. Voluntary? Is that a joke? How great would it be if we could walk into a grocery store and all the packaged food was in plain white or brown cardboard boxes with black letters set in simple block font. No frills. Just plain words. The produce would be the most colorful thing in the store! Fruit and veggie sales would skyrocket!