Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fast Food Philosophy

Fast Food Philosophy: When one thinks of the American fast food industry, he or she probably envisions hamburgers, french fries, and soda. Yet there is a great deal more to the multi-billion dollar industry that seeks to maximize sales and minimize costs. Just as Henry Ford developed the assembly line to boost efficiency at the Ford Motor Company in the 1910s, Ray Kroc merely adapted that concept for McDonald's in the 1950s. The ability to mass produce a combination of meat, potatoes, and carbonated soft drinks brought McDonald's to the forefront of corporate America. Nevertheless, it was the booming car culture of the American West, particularly in California, that cemented the idea of "fast food" in connection with "magic motorways." Post-World War II American culture demanded convenience, as people sought to exit the city's core in favor of suburban tract housing along the city's edge. Commuting to work on freeways in one's car became the newest and most convenient form of transportation. And as Aldous Huxley wrote in his Brave New World (1932), "Speed is the only truly modern sensation." Ultimately, the combination of speed, convenience, and efficiency helped solidify the American fast food industry as a consumer staple by the late twentieth century.

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