Quick Recipes and Easy

Fast Food

A couple of years ago KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) used the following slogan in their ads, “There’s quick food, and then there is KFC.” Although they were trying to suggest that their food was in a class above the typical quick food restaurants, I took it to mean “slow service” (which I found to be right on more than one occasion).

I had my first “Whopper” from Burger King in 1966 in Chicago. As a kid, I loved their char grilled burgers with fresh ingredients. I haven’t had one in years but recently I ordered a Whopper at our local Burger King and was incredibly disappointed with the service and product. I got something that was whipped together with small expertise and mashed down. Frankly, it didn’t resemble anything like what I first experienced 41 years ago.

I don’t want to single out Burger King here; there are quite a few quick food restaurants guilty of putting out some pretty nasty stuff that fills the hole with questionable nutritional value. I used to like Dave Thomas’ ads for Wendys and tried them three times after seeing an ad for their products that looked tasty, but I was disappointed with whatever it was they served me. Three strikes and you’re out.

I find people tend to be embarrassed visiting a quick food restaurant. Nobody wants to admit they eat there knowing there is a sleaze factor involved. I try to avoid such restaurants as I am typically not satisfied with what you get and I find the facilities uninviting for dining. And if you have the audacity to voice a complaint, you typically are faced with an acne scarred teenager who looks at you like you’re a creature from another planet.

But maybe there is some hope on the horizon. I was in Miami recently and stopped by a relative newcomer to the quick food world, pollotropical.com/” target=”index Pollo Tropical. This was a refreshingly different experience for me. For starters, the company makes a point of stating they are not a “quick food” restaurant, but instead, offer “quick service.” The first thing you notice when you enter the restaurant is its sparkling cleanliness and its openness. The tables and chairs are comfortable and the decor is on a par with higher scale establishments. As you approach the counter you notice there is no back room where the food is prepared. Everything is cooked in the open where you see how the chicken is prepared which is really quite appetizing. The food is well prepared using fresh ingredients and served on disposable plates. As to taste, I was very much impressed and became a fan instantaneously. Imagine: Excellent food, excellent value, excellent service, all in a comfortable surrounding. As Stengel would have said, “Who’da thunk it!”

Pollo Tropical is most certainly not your typical quick food restaurant and I place it in a class somewhere between the quick food restaurants and casual dining, e.g., Chili’s, TGIF, Benigans, Hooters, etc. Their approach is unique and encourages return patronage. I hope the other quick food chains are paying attention as I see Pollo Tropical as a blueprint for the future. As for me, I thought it was nice change not to be embarrassed to be seen in a quick food restaurant.

Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located in Palm Harbor, FL, USA. His corporate web page is at:
phmainstreet.com/mba/ phmainstreet.com/mba/

He can be contacted at: mailto:timb001@phmainstreet.com timb001@phmainstreet.com

Copyright © 2007 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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