Originally posted by abe_froeman
Right Tony, but they have better ingredients to work with and probably have more training and guidance- people who own their own business and really have it all on the line are going to want to put out a consistently good product, so it's in their best interest to make sure their workers, no matter how old or how much prior experience, are well-trained. You have a better chance of avoiding food poisoning going to a small family-owned place than a big chain because they don't have corporate lawyers and corporate money to take care of lawsuits.
I have worked in food service at all levels, from sweeping the parking lot at that famous Scottish place McDonalds to 5 star restaurants and I can tell you that in general, the "corporate" restaurants often have far better food handling and cleanliness standards than other places. I am not suggesting this makes them superior, but most fast food places have a definitive routine for cleaning and maintaining appropriate hygiene standards. Few of the private places I worked at had such routines or standards. I worked for a catering company that served meals at the White House, and their kitchen made the average fast food places look like a hospital surgical suite! The food sure was fine though!
The same goes for employees. The fast food places all have some degree of training. It may just be watching a video or looking through a book, but it is more than I have ever seen in most small or private places. My "training" in private places usually consisted of getting started and learning on the go. Smaller places often don't have the luxury of paying people to sit around and "be trained". They need help NOW!
Like you, I enjoy the experience of eating in non-chain places, and avoid fast food whenever a better option exists. I just don't think many of the arguments folks put forth against them are valid.
As for the social ills that lead people to exist on a fast food diets, poverty isn't really a good excuse. Feeding 4 people at a fast food joint will take at least $20, and their are plenty of other options for $20. The real problem is laziness. While waiting for food the other day at my local Chinese restaurant I saw a kid of about 10 drive up in a taxi, get out and pick up several bags of fast food to take home in the cab. Now there are several levels of lazy, (but not poverty) in there! I understand it, as often when my wife works late and I finish work and then have to make dinner, the temptation to pick up some takeout is strong, but I know I can do better at home.
As for why stores in some areas don't stock "healthy foods", that can be a chicken vs. egg matter. Sure you can say it is some conspiracy to deprive people of a healthy diet, or you can also view it as the store giving the people what they want. A store isn't going to stock things it can't sell. Certain grocery stores in my area cater toward Latinos, and have many different items that simply wouldn't sell in other neighborhoods. Conspiracy or just normal business practices? I guess it depends who you ask.
Anyway, I have strayed a long way from the BK Stacker. I do like those TV commercials!
I really like your expression "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him eat a salad". That is good!!