OT: Fast Food Franchises

A few weeks back there was a long thread about fast food franchises and the lack of service therefrom. Mrs. Goofy went away for almost two weeks to help a friend move to Florida (why? No idea.)

Anyway I cooked a few meals, but took the opportunity to hit some of the ff places and take in Chic-Fil-A, as JLC had recommended.

Nothing has really changed at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Burger King. Slow service, and employees who are just trading hours for dollars. Understaffing is endemic, but on a brighter note, the “self-order kiosks” at Wendy’s have been removed. Unfortunately they haven’t replaced it with a human being, so you have to get the attention of the person handling the window if you want to order something.

Taco Bell has reopened the dining room, both visits I was the only person in it. Also no counter help, but at least the window guy could see me as I entered and came over to help. In fairness, there weren’t any cars in line, so he had nothing else to do anyway.

I went to one less-branded place where the food was simply inedible. Lucky for me I don’t remember the name but I’ll not bother learning it either.

Ah, but Chick-Fil-A. Yes, the difference is quite amazing. All the eager young people scurrying around at the counter and behind the scenes, they look like clean-cut Mormons, mostly blond haired and blue eyed. They don’t say “No problem”, they say “My pleasure” to every request. The food comes out well made, with the lettuce and tomato neatly atop the meat, not sliding down the side or worse, elsewhere. The prices are reasonable compared to others, although since it’s chicken and not beef I suspect that’s where their margin is. Places clean and bright. And doing a great business. Two drive thru lanes, both staffed with young people (humans!) taking orders on tablets and relaying to the kitchen. Wait times are reasonable, not fast; I assume the food is prepared as ordered, not stacked up in a corner somewhere.

I do like. I just wish they didn’t wish for me to die in agonizing hell, but I guess you can’t have everything.

Chick-Fil-A is privately held, so there’s no investing in it. Having read some I find that their initial franchise fee is among the lowest in the industry which might help explain how they are expanding so rapidly. With them on the hunt, and the public tastes moving away from beef, I’d be wary of the long term implications for the “burger chains.”

Places that were on my list that I didn’t get to: Arby’s, DQ, Chipotle, Moe’s, and others. Skipped the sub sandwich shops; I eat there all too often.

I see Subway has just changed owners; they revamped their offerings about 6 months ago, and their new big thing is “we slice the meats in front of you.” Well, OK then. That was never a concern of mine before, but in marketing you must dream up a problem to be solved if there isn’t one, I guess.


Recognizing/knowing a likely future is not at all the same as wishing a terrible end for someone.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.


I believe that was a direct response to Jersey Mike’s who does exactly that. Maybe even Firehouse Subs does.

Remember: They get what they say others should get.

FF joke of the moment:

Subway has 12" BOGO free right now (8/24 - 9/27, online or app orders ONLY). They do NOT believe in their own “slice it in front of you” advertising. Around here, a 12" cold cut sub is $10, so 2 for $10 is $5 each and that (IMO) is reasonable.

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We hit Arby’s a couple of times on vacation. I was pleasantly surprised. Their fried chicken fingers are actually fried chicken.

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We suggest to the kids if they are stumped as to what we need for birthdays we let them know we can always use Chick-Fil-A gift cards. The one we frequent is very close to a small university and I suspect that’s where they get a lot of their help.

As an aside I don’t use salt at meals and I suspect that one of the reasons I really enjoy Chick-Fil-A sandwiches. Good stuff.


Never (OK - VERY rarely) do I eat FF. I drive by any number of FF places in my comings and goings and really don’t have any desire to hit those places. DW and I will order a take-out Papa Gino’s pizza every now and then when they send us a 20% off coupon.

→ had Chick-Fil-A once when I was in Atlanta visiting rellies - thought it was OK.

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Isn’t that what the vast majority of proles do? Even if a job has a potential to be interesting or satisfying, the “JCs” manage to turn it into an ordeal.

Because, no matter how little the proles are paid, the “JC” wants to pay them less.

That response is probably beat into them. When you ring the bell at Arby’s, you hear a chorus of “happy to help”.

Steve…had an apple and pecan salad at Wendy’s today, except I didn’t see any pecans, and used the kiosk, because no-one manned the counter.


I wish I could believe you on that, but far too many people professing to be Christian don’t act like that.


Unfortunately true.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.


I notice Subway bidders are private equity. Mostly a cash business–ideal for money laundering. Dirty money pays taxes and can be spent. And private equity means owners can keep profits private.


I would put Culvers on the goid guy list. Good food. Good service.

Firehouse sub ok but over priced.

Chipotle. I paid $16 for a bowl of rice. Fast casual sucks.

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Local Chick Fil A in Hartford is staffed by inner city kids. Just as excellent no need to be blonde and blue eyed. Possibly Baptists for all I know.

I get in Bell and Evans drum sticks. Slice up an orange sweet potato fries style and roast them in my Gourmia air frier. Put a little finishing olive oil on the fries and some kosher salt. Who needs to spend $12 for junk food?

Roast them in some butter and kosher salt on the drums.

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Why is it inevitably an either/or … or necessarily a given that eating at any of the above mentioned eateries has to mean craptaculous food choices.

I can’t claim experience in eating at most of these but looking online at what they offer on the menus, it seems to me to be perfectly possible to eat a nutritious meal with a fashionably healthy mix of micronutrients/cooking method. It wouldn’t require any more thought and effort to make those choices than cooking a similarly Righteous meal at home.


Nutritious I agree. But junk with extra salt, fats and sugar along with far too many calories and junk in deep fried soy oil. Chemicals on top. All of it including Chick Fil A.

Plus no portion control. Even if you ordered off the child’s menu or the dollar menu. Yet yes nutritious in fact that does not take much. We humans can survive on anything but for how long?

Cooking at home makes sense on so many levels.

Well, as I mentioned, I have little personal experience of most of the above eateries but I do have experience of nutritious eating…and portion control plus the various additions you classify as junk (salt, sugar etc) are fundamental to nutritious as far as I’m concerned. Since I do have extensive, practical experience of nutritious eating, I don’t find them hard to identify/avoid if necessary … and if I want to.

As is frequently the case, a similar topic has come up on one of my FB groups associated with the online training courses I’m doing. Most of the other participants are women and seem to be under 50 and I notice a similar assumption that there’s no way to avoid craptaculous eating habits when talking about fast food joints…or that the food itself is i herently obesogenic. Little attention seems to be given to individual choices…and why people make them.

There are a few with a take…usually moderators …and these folk can usually be relied upon to provide interesting links. Here’s but one…

The author seems to have a background/interest in this field so I can see something to capture my attention along with a backlog of Peter Attia’s podcasts/TWIV episodes etc. for today’s trip.

P.S. On my parents’ first visit to us here in the US my dad commented on how much Americans ate out (and I’m talking about nice family restaurants…not fast food or the high end gourmet places), how big the portions were…and how he couldn’t understand why diners ate so much when it was perfectly acceptable to take the remains of an unfinished meal home in a proper container rather than having to pretend you have a dog or “eat in waste” to get yer money’s worth.

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Culver’s is pretty much the only FF I eat. They have the best burgers, by far, imo. And can get healthy side dishes instead of fries. They are always packed when I go to the local Culver’s. I only eat there maybe 2 times a month, so I could just be hitting them at peak times, but they appear to be doing gangbuster business. I did check, they are a private company, so can’t buy into them via stock.

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Last time we had a similar discussion I said psychology plays a major role and you took the opposite point of view.

Salt, fat and sugar are habit forming but you know that.

You do not need to pay Peter Attia for any information on this.

Hmmm. If that was your conclusion, I apologise for my poor communication skills. I’ve certainly never ignored the role of psychology in the choices folk make over what they put in their mouths…quite the reverse, as any of the posters on the H&N board would attest. You’ve been so cagey over what Noom actually does that it’s hard to to even know what their point of view is in the first place…let alone take the opposite stance.

Neither Peter Attia nor Noom should be necessary for this insight. However, of the two subscriptions, I suspect that Attia’s podcasts and his guests might’ve been a better option for fixing the fundamental misunderstanding you seem to have about how the body works. Just a couple of sneak peeks (the ones scheduled for my catching uplistening)…

Nutritional labels are the best and worst thing that ever happened to eating. They are important, but take the fun out of buying food.

I read every label before I buy an item. If the salt content is high (and most of them are, even some low salt items) or I need a PhD in Chemistry to read the label, it goes back on the shelf.

I gave up on fast foods decades ago. I just don’t find them appealing. Thankfully, thrifty Ms. Wolf cooks very healthy meals. I guess she’s worried that when I kick the bucket, she’ll have to pay a CPA to do her taxes.

But I’m no angel. I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have a sweet fang. And, I’m addicted to dark chocolate but have cut back recently, only eating the CR “approved” brands.

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