I’m attending BlogHer Food at the moment. Having a great time and learning a lot. I speak later today about food blogging for change. Regular posts will be a bit delayed…
One of the people I met used to work with fast food companies. He told me about this segment of the population that the marketers refer to as “fast food lovers.” These are people who eat fast food 50 times per month.
I guess marketers and fast food companies really love these guys. I can’t even imagine how bad things would have to get for me to eat fast food thirty times per month. I think it would be incredibly expensive, but I have encountered people who believe that the dollar menu is affordable. The problem is that many folks enter a fast food establishment (or drive up in their car) planning to order off of the “value” menu and walk away with $10 worth of burgers, fries, soft drinks, and random desserts.
So for the month of June I want to challenge all of us to tally up how often we consume fast food. It’s a great tie-in with our book club choice. First, I’d like you to make a prediction about how frequently you think that you and your family will be eating fast food. Since June is a summer month, I’m thinking that our consumption of fast food might be different in June than a different month of the year. For example, maybe you’ll be traveling more or doing more activities in comparison to your average spring/fall/winter month, which means you’ll have to eat out more often. Or maybe because it’s the summer you’ll be in less of a hurry; you’ll have more time to eat at home, maybe even grill out. Consider those factors when making your prediction.
Second, let’s define “fast food.” From Wikipedia, “Food that can be prepared quickly and easily and is sold in restaurants and snack bars as a quick meal or to be taken out.” The top ten fast food purveyors in the United States are:
4. Pizza Hut
5. Burger King
6. Dunkin Donuts
8. Taco Bell
9. Kentucky Fried Chicken
10. Domino’s Pizza
I don’t know where Chipotle falls on the list, but we occasionally eat there because they control ingredients so well I can eat there now that I’m gluten free. My husband also enjoys Potbelly’s, which is a Midwestern chain and don’t make the top ten national list. I’m sure Potbelly’s would be higher on a local list. Keep that in mind.
Third, tally it up in the month of June. You can use a home calendar to keep track. You can share this information with me on Twitter with the hashtag #fastfoodlover about the book and about tallying your eating out and on the blog project’s Facebook page too!
1. Being non-judgmental — I admit that I’m judging the person who eats fast food 50 times a month. That seems extreme. I don’t understand how that happens. If you are the kind of person who eats fast food that much, I want to hear from you. How does that happen? How can you afford it? But if you tell me that you found out that you eat fast food 30 times per month, I’m not going to judge you. My husband works in an office and goes out to lunch a lot. Is he eating out 20 times per month? I’m really interested to track how often we eat out as a family. I want the data and as my husband always says, “Numbers don’t lie.”
2. Local establishments — My husband has a soft spot for a local greasy spoon. There’s just one store and it’s one guy behind the counter. I will include count purchases there in my tally list (it’s fast food after all) but I’m going to leave it up to you whether or not you want to count non-franchised fast food. It’s fast food (not a sit down restaurant) but it’s super local and what I like is all the money my husband spends there stays in the community. Maybe you can tally it with an asterisk…thoughts on this?
Back to a regular blog discussion of Fast Food Nation next week Friday…