I enjoy visiting fast food restaurants. So many that it elicits an eye roll and a groan from most people. Yes, I enjoy the food at many of these places, but I also enjoy how they are organized.
The preparation and delivery of food in the last 70 years has been an amazing achievement of technology. While many might complain of them being too effective, how they are put together and run is worthy of studying.
I have been reading a lot of books and visiting various spots here in Seattle and I find it endlessly fascinating.
Seattle is a great place to for fast food watching. It not only attracts all the larger chains and franchises, but has a few active local chains. I tend to focus on burger places. Here are few of our prominent local burger chains:
Since I can’t always get a glimpse into the kitchen and dive deep into these places, I watch how people eat and what they order.
This made me wonder, could I come up with a basic menu. A menu that should be the basis of any new fast food restaurant. A menu that, if a fast food burger place was a product I was speccing, would make for a decent minimum viable product.
So I took some notes over the last few visits and here is what I came up with:
- Larger Cheeseburger
- French Fries
- Soft Drink
- Milk Shake
- Dessert Item
Simple. That seemed like the perfect start for a burger place. How you deliver those items and in what style is up to the person running the restaurant. Now I know you have some questions for some of these items and others that I did not list.
As Burger Chef proved with the Big Shef, McDonald’s with the Big Mac, and Burger King with the Whopper, a large signature burger is something people love to get. A good basic formula for this is two patties (minimum quarter pound of meat), pickles, onions, lettuce and some sort of special sauce.
What about salads, chicken or fish?
This menu is for a burger place. Those are nice to haves, but also require special preparation. Master the above and you will have enough people visiting your place to experiment.
What sort of dessert item?
Doesn’t matter, people will expect something. I noticed many seem to start with some sort of ice cream. Especially if they are already making milkshakes.
If you are interested in Fast Food. Here are some great books to get you started:
- Selling ’em by the Sack: White Castle and the Creation of American Food
- Fast Food Nation
- Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s
- The Burger King: Jim McLamore and the Building of an Empire
- Flameout: The Rise and Fall of Burger Chef
- In-N-Out Burger: A Behind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules