Fast Food Advertising – Too Good To Be True

By: Parth Mukhi

Have you ever just stared at your fast food meal and thought, “Wow, this is not at all what I was expecting.” When you go to order fast food, you look at the displays they have outside their store. You gaze back at the large, bold font words entrapping your attention. “Succulent”, “Tender”, “Delicious”, is what they say. To top it all off, the food in the picture’s always look even better than the words can describe. All that anticipation & excitement comes crashing down when the cashier hands you the food, you unwrap it, and you see mushed up pile of bread-meat-bread.

How do McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Taco Bell do this? In the same manner that film companies put their actors & actresses through hours of make up to get them perfect for the screen, these food companies go through extensive preparation for the advertisement of their food. Burgers, tacos, and salads all go through a photo shoot where they are touched up to look like the perfect product.

The food itself is prepared at the studio. From there, the food stylists take over. For burgers, they’ll push all the main ingredients to the foreground, making them standout. Cheese & patty are steamed to make them seem more appetizing. Following this, skewers are placed in the burgers to keep everything in an attractive, upright position. Subway sandwiches always look much more bulky in the commercials because the studios will add cardboard or foam in between the layers. Fast food salads will never look like they do in the ads, and have never tasted like an normal salad should. In order to give them that fresh & tasty look, they are sprayed with a bottle of glycerin. Finally, all the food is fixed up with photoshop, to enhance every last detail.

Company respond to these claims by saying that the food moves, or that the packaging & backing may cause for the food to be squashed. Though the companies are including everything in the burger that they claimed would be there, people still preach false advertising is in play. Technically, these companies are doing nothing legally wrong, and day after day people go back to these fast food restaurants and buy their food. At the end of the day, false advertising can be shouted from the mountain tops, but will it ever effect whether people decide to go out and buy fast food?

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:

New York City Fast Food Workers Strike for Better Pay

Workers at Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s have gone on strike in New York City in protest of their low wages and their trouble starting a union to organize and demand their rights. These strikes follow closely after the nationwide strikes at Walmart, which has notoriously prevented its workers from unionizing and increasing their wages.

Workers began striking Thursday, protesting outside a Burger King near Penn Station standing behind a metal barricade with union organizers, clergy and other fast food workers. Inside the restaurant there were two customers, a security guard and a few cashiers. Customers have mostly avoided the chaos, and protestors hope to change the structure of the fast food industry where workers typically drift between jobs without much room for growth.

The strikes may be due to changing demographics among fast food workers, where teenagers working part-time jobs have been replaced with laid off workers, parents and families looking to support themselves. Organizers from New York Communities for Change helped coordinate protests among fast food workers.

“Especially now after the recession, a lot of people who lost work are now taking these jobs. Our economy is becoming a service sector economy but most of these jobs are minimum wage. This is a huge problem”, said Jonathan Westin, organizing director at New York Communities for Change.

The workers are specifically requesting the ability to form unions and to be paid at least $15 an hour. Fast food workers make approximately $8.90 an hour, which is the lowest of any occupation. These workers usually move to other jobs instead of demanding raises at their current ones, and the franchises that own each fast food establishment actively block attempts at unionization.

The event organizers have not been completely clear about their plans to unionize workers, but they intend to change standards across the whole industry rather than just at individual franchises. Despite the striking employees, franchise owners will most likely continue to pay workers on a store-by-store basis across New York.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Burger King Offers Intimidating Buffet in Japan

Burger King Japan has made plenty of headlines with its adventurous additions to the fast food market earlier this year. Fast food chains in Japan have fought a recent marketing war, resulting in some truly strange creations. Burger King’s New York Pizza Burger, McDonalds’ Mega Tomago with egg and bacon and the Lobster Surf and Turf Burger from Wendy’s are just a few examples of these innovative fast food items. Now Burger King seems to have taken the lead with new creations, offering a Pumpkin Burger, Black Bun Burger and Five-Patty Whopper.

Now Japan’s Burger King Restaurants are setting up a promotion in honor of their fifth anniversary; an all-you-can-eat burger buffet. Customers have the opportunity to devour as many hamburgers, fries or onion rings as possible in the thirty minutes allotted to each person.

This buffet is called “B’iKing”, meant to be a play on words for the Japanese word for Burger King and the word “Viking”, which means all-you-can-eat buffet. Anyone planning on taking a trip to Japan in the next few days should try to fit this once-in-a-lifetime buffet into their schedule. The special runs from November 17th until November 21st for black bun burgers, and November 22nd until November 30th for Whoppers.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Fast Food Restaurants Imitate Chipotle to Modernize

Months ago we reported on the proposed changes fast-food restaurants like Wendy’s and Taco Bell were undergoing to modernize their brands and attract demographics they might have lost to more upscale quick service restaurants. Now it appears that many of these brands are exclusively targeting Chipotle as the model for their changes. Taco bell unveiled it’s ‘Cantina Bell’ menu to emulate the more upscale Southwestern options available at Chipotle. Similar styles have been observed at new fast food locations around the world with designs including broad panes of glass, hard wood surfaces, metal poles and blocks of metal and concrete.

The original design of Chipotle’s restaurant locations was created by an architect named Brand Gould in 1996. The design was used at Chipotle’s second location in Denver, and stressed natural colors, raw materials and high seating. This new design had a huge impact with customers, giving them the feel that they were eating at a far more authentic restaurant with modern look. This design is also far more cost effective for the restaurant’s the shinier designs used by Chipotle’s competitors. For instance, Wendy’s new design cost only $750,000 to build per location, compared to the $1 million plus it previously cost the brand.

“Chipotle and Panera, these guys raised the bar and changed what consumers expect,” said Craig Bahner, Wendy’s chief marketing officer. “That inspired us to try to offer a fast-casual experience at quick service prices.”

Ultimately this imitation by other fast food brands may disrupt Chipotle’s enormous growth over the past few years. Customers may be less willing to pay more than $10 for a burrito with guacamole if they can get a similar product and experience for much less at a restaurant like Taco Bell. However Chipotle is continuing to push forward in its design initiatives, hiring New York architect Thaddeus Briner to design a fresh look for a location in Manhattan. Briner has already removed any extra decorations from the stores, leaving just the concrete floors, plywood wall coverings, high wooden tables and metal light fixtures.

“We thought about how Chipotle makes their food. They do a few good things, and they do them well,” said Briner. “So in that first restaurant – and there were these discrete parts – there was this queueing wall, there was this storage box with seating and condiments in it. There was fast seating and slow seating. There was an idea about how to use art. So we had these five or six key things, and they had relationships to each other, but you could go into any kind of space and apply the strategy to all these different kinds of spaces.”

In 2009 Chipotle made this design the new standard for all of their locations. This minimalist design actually requires more work from the designers to make them thoughtful rather than sterile and cold. Taco Bell recently boasted that their new look was designed without the help of any architects at all.

Ultimately Chipotle’s prices are still far above those of any of it’s would be competitors, including Taco Bell, and the direct correlation between design and an increase in business cannot be determined. Since redesigning their restaurant locations, Wendy’s has observed a 20 to 25% growth in sales in its first renovated location.

Fast Food Restaurants Explore Modern Designs

Today’s fast food restaurants face stiff challenges on every front from their competitors. Burger King and Wendy’s have already both remodeled their French Fries to make them more “natural”, in keeping with today’s healthier food trends. This, in addition to constant new menu items and healthier choices, such as McDonalds’ new Happy Meal options for children, reflect a changing era for traditional fast food enterprises. It’s no surprise then that structural design has become the next facet of these companies to modernize for the 21st Century.

Chipotle was the first to structure their locations based on a model reflecting the Denver-based fast food chains core values and principles. When Chipotle chose to expand their locations, they based their model off their core business philosophy, “simple materials put together creatively”. The concept has an industrial feel, but leaves room for each individual storefront to be designed. The materials used in all 1100 locations are elemental, but used together creatively in Bruce Gueswel wall-art and individual decorations. With concrete, stainless steel and birch wood, Chipotle has managed to mirror the concept of natural ingredients in their foods.

Wendy’s is currently testing four different prototypes for a new store model in different cities. The prototypes range from traditional to ultra-modern with ten new stores in five cities, and Wendy’s carefully monitoring feedback from each location. The new changes include tiled floors rather than carpeting and more varied seating styles, such as lounge seats. These changes, coupled with a slew of new menu items mark a new era for Wendy’s that some believe could propel the company into the number two fast food slot, right behind McDonald’s.

McDonald’s has been experimenting with new designs as well, updating its France location with beautiful Parisian décor. Other brands have been toying with design changes as well, including Burger King and Subway. Something each of these companies is looking to fulfill with their new designs is customer satisfaction beyond initial appeal. While it’s easy for a business to create a new design that customers are initially pleased with, the real goal is to create a design that succeeds in the long run and keeps customer pleased months later. In today’s economy fast food restaurants have emerged as an affordable staple food source for many Americans and modernizing their design just acts to instill them in our culture.

Chipotle has already experienced enormous success in its store design, rapidly expanding every day. Chipotle has also incorporated sustainable architecture to their buildings, with recycling programs, tankless water heaters, high-efficiency appliances, and durable and non-toxic products. At one location in Illinois the store generate 5% of its own electricity and was the first restaurant ever awarded Platinum Level LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Changes like these have helped Chipotle become perfectly acclimated to the current expectations of their customers, a trend that more fast food restaurants are heavily investing in.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: