Allow Me to Change Your Mind: Fast Foods Flurry of Demands


John Huber, Reporter

Whenever you need a quick bite between classes and there isn’t enough time to go to The Banks Center and grab lunch or dinner, you can always rely on a saving grace to satiate your appetite. At Misericordia, we have Chick-Fil-A but we also have a choice of fast food for that quick munch.

How did this speedy food service concept get started? Let’s pull into the drive-thru and find out.

Even though we owe the concept of a self-service restaurant to Germany with the opening of the “Stollwerck-Automatenrestaurant” in 1896 in Berlin, most developments of the modern fast-food restaurant originated in the United States.

Some have traced their heritage to July 7, 1912, with the opening of a fast-food restaurant called the Automat in New York, which was a cafeteria with prepared foods behind small glass windows and coin-operated slots. Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart had already opened the first Horn & Hardart Automat in Philadelphia in 1902, but their “Automat” at Broadway and 13th Street in New York City created a sensation.

Most historians agree though the American company White Castle was the first fast-food outlet, starting in Wichita, Kansas in 1916 with food stands, selling hamburgers for five cents apiece and spawning numerous competitors and emulators. What is certain, however, is White Castle made the first significant effort to standardize the food production in look and operation of fast-food hamburger restaurants.

William Ingram’s and Walter Anderson’s White Castle system created the first fast-food supply chain to provide meat, buns, paper goods, and other supplies to their restaurants, pioneered the concept of the multi-state hamburger restaurant chain, standardized the look and construction of the restaurants themselves, and developed a construction division that manufactured and built the chain’s pre-fabricated restaurant buildings.

This would later inspire Ray Kroc to do the same with his Speedee service and later McDonald’s restaurants after realizing most profits came from hamburger sales of their initial barbecue restaurant.

At roughly the same time Kroc was conceiving what eventually became the McDonald’s corporation, two Miami, Florida businessmen, James McLamore and David Edgerton, opened a franchise of the predecessor to what is now the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King.

McLamore had visited the original McDonald’s hamburger stand belonging to the McDonald brothers and, sensing potential in their innovative assembly line-based production system, decided to open a similar operation of his own.

So… Allow me to Change Your Mind

Fast food feels like a “take what you can get’” commodity and, with many fast food services popping up left and right, it’s hard to choose a preferred place. One example that always pops into my head are road trips as sometimes not all fast food choices may be on your route at a specific place or time, especially when you have to rely on them if you didn’t pack home-cooked sandwiches or snacks.

And if you are member of a Catholic family (like I am) and you’re on the road on a Friday during Lent, your options are a lot smaller as most fast-food restaurants contain some form of meat (speaking from personal experience, I had to have McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich for lunch and dinner because of the limited options available during one particular road trip.)

Don’t use those fast food places as a crutch, though. Their food can taste good but, overall, they, as well as any junk food on the top of the food pyramid, are just “sometimes” foods similar to how I am with Pop Tarts. They are fine for a treat but don’t go overboard on consumption of them. Trust me, your body will thank you later.