Are Franchise Restaurants Fast Food Joints in Disguise
I have to start by saying…I have worked in a good amount of Chain or Franchise Restaurants over my career, so when I talk candidly about them, please understand, it comes with a great deal of real world experience.
Recently, CBC reported on a movement that is originating in the USA that is requiring most, if not all restaurants to provide caloric information on all items that are listed on menus. We are not talking about creating a convoluted supplemental dietary guide, that is only provided when you ask for it…no boo, we are talking full counts, on the main menu, for all to review. Given the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our brothers and sisters to the south and the lack of economical and healthy food options that currently exist in the States, it would seem a “too little too late” kinda move.
I mean, if you have no choices in where you eat, simply due to your economic abilities and your nonexistent food infrastructure, you will eat what is cheap and easily found.
However, for our, less then populated country, this step might be an extreme benefit. Well for all you calorie counting nuts out there, by 2017 expect Ontario Corporate Chain Restaurants to be Forced to share all the ills of those seemingly benign menu items. From those clever salads with “candied nuts” and “deep fried wanton strings” to the hyper greasy Mac and Cheeses. In all seriousness, it seems like a pretty logical step, and one, that most, if not all restaurants shouldn’t have an issue with. I mean they are not Fast Food Spots, so how bad can it really be?
If we follow the hierarchy, most people would think, Street Food and Fast Food would have lower expectations then say a Corporate Franchise Restaurant and a classic steak house. This is more than likely due to branding, public perception and the universal view of the “value” that each of these types of establishments offer to the guest. So the average Torontonian would not be as open to taking a date to a Fast Food Spot over a Corporate Franchise, namely, because the Corporate Restaurant seems, at face value, to offer “higher quality items” then a Drive Thru, or Hot Dog Cart.
Now, let just say that, once this shift occurs and the Corporate Franchises are forced to disclose the nutritious content of all the items that they serve, and it turns out (WHICH IT WILL) that the Fast Food Producers are serving items that are “healthier”, will the willingness of the aforementioned citizen to take their date to the Corporate Food Factory be as obvious and without question? When the realization that you are paying 25%-40% more for food that is 25%-40% worse than that which is offered by the evil Fast Food Giants, or even the Street Food Vendors, will the inclination to support these Profit Monsters change?
I would like to think that they would!
People are not stupid, and although they can be mislead, when truth comes to light, by and large, the public tends to adjust to the new optics of the market. As such, one would assume that if the Corporate Franchise wants to survive this realignment, they will need to adapt. The only issue with this potential restructuring is the cost that will be involved and if we agree on nothing more, it must be a universal understanding that Corporations are built to make PROFIT! So the reality is, that unless PROFITS are effected the likelihood of these Franchises changing is very low.
In fact, I would not be surprised if the majority of the companies that make up the Corporate Restaurant Power Structure would not fight, with all their legal might, any initiatives that would force them to provide nutritional transparency to the general public on the face of their menus. It would be viewed as a crippling blow to a system that is supported by an optical illusion, and by Sysco, a MEGA restaurant supplier, that would stand to lose a great deal of money if this happens.