In an attempt to encourage healthy eating, a neighbouring borough is in the process of reducing the number of ‘fast food’ outlets allowed. This has spawned great debate among those who favour a free market and those who applaud the effort to cut back on fast food. As an occasional consumer of the odd Quarter-Pounder or Whopper, I don’t have a problem with restricting the number of fast food emporia, but I do have a gripe with the term ‘fast food’.
There was a time when the food, unhealthy though it may be, was at least fast. You could pop into a local McDonald’s and, unless you had a special request – no onions or hold the cheese – you were chowing down in mere minutes. All the server had to do was turn around and place the requested items on your tray or in a bag and off you went.
There were always several counter people ready to take your order, often urging you forward before you had even decided what you wanted. Shouts of ‘next please’ and ‘can I help someone here?’ kept the process flowing smoothly.
Now there really is no ‘fast’ food. Arriving at one of these places consumers are often faced with many closed cashes while patrons line up at the one or two open ones. Unlike the old system where after placing your order you got your food from the person who took the order, you now are asked to move aside and await your order. It’s like a burger lobby, a waiting room filled with people hoping to get their order before they get a ticket for double-parking while keeping their fingers crossed that they get the right order.
I imagine this new method has allowed for a reduction in staff; after all, it is all about profit.
So if my neighbours enact a law reducing the number of fast food outlets, I think they should also take advantage and initiate a means of insuring the food is indeed fast. I foresee inspectors dropping in at different times with stopwatches to determine whether the establishment is meeting the requirements – prompt service, no closed cashes when line-ups exist – outlined in its fast food license!