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Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut
Member Name: Fircone_Frankie
Advantages: Cheap, fast food, convenient and consistent across locations, often open later than equivalents
Disadvantages: Not the healthiest choice, no (reasonable) vegetarian options, company ethics.
McDonald's - I doubt there is anyone in the Western world who hasn't at least heard of the famous American fast food chain. You might love it, you might hate it, but I have to say I am somewhat ambivalent myself. Despite bad press over the years the company remains popular with customers still queuing up for the standard offering of burgers, chips, chicken and ice cream.
If you take McDonald's and judge it by health value, ethical principles and food quality, it is probably not going to come top in any contest. 100% British beef, perhaps, but it is common knowledge now that many UK fast food restaurants ship in ethically ambiguous cheap frozen chicken from South America. In terms of health value, a lot of the food is fried and although yes you will get a good whack of simple white carbohydrates and sugars, protein and fats, the micronutrients may be better found elsewhere. If nutrition is a concern, the company do provide a nutrition counter on their website for you to make a better informed choice. Concerns aside, it remains a convenient, fast and often tasty choice for those in a rush, or craving a bit of grease and sugar. Nothing wrong with that.
What McDonald's does do, it does well. A party of two can have a main meal comprising burger (chicken or beef), chips and a drink for around £8. The range of burgers is fairly good. Cheeseburgers, hamburgers, chicken burgers, chicken nuggets and salads. The chips are renowned for being particularly good, but they can be spoiled by too much salt if your server is a bit enthusiastic with the shaker.
One area where the company does fall down, is with options for vegetarians. They make it clear on their "Make Up Your Own Mind" website, where people can direct questions to the company, that they have no intention of broadening the vegetarian menu beyond the Spicy Veggie - which vegetarians may wish to note is not actually vegetarian. The ingredients are but the breaded vegetable burger is fried in oil that may have been in contact with chicken or fish. In reality, the only items on the menu that are approved by the Vegetarian Society are (according to the McDonald's Make Up Your Own Mind site) the French Fries, Hash Browns, Bagels, Oatso Simple, Garden Salad, Ice Cream, Carrot Sticks, Fruit Bags, Blueberry Muffins, Triple Chocolate Muffins and various beverages. I would find it difficult to put together a satisfying meal from this selection.
I visited McDonald's last night, and this is what prompted me to review. It was a fairly standard experience. Short queue, but if you order anything other than a very standard menu you will be kept waiting and asked to stand to one side while they take the next party's order. I always panic they're going to get food orders confused, but as yet it hasn't happened. I don't see why they can't use the system of giving everyone a number. I had a deli wrap. Having ordered the chicken and bacon deli of the day I was surprised to receive a sweet chilli chicken wrap. I didn't take it back because I wasn't too bothered, but despite being wrong it was hot and still tasted nice. It had lettuce and cucumber but no tomato. My companion had the summer chorizo burger, which he enjoyed. The chips were hot - which was a bonus as this isn't always the case. They got the drinks right. If it is important that you get the exact right items, I would recommend that you check, as getting the wrong items is something of a regular and some might argue inevitable occurrence in McDonald's. Still, it was a reasonable performance considering it was getting close to closing time. McDonald's does tend to have a longer opening period than competitors - some restaurants are open 24 hours, some have a 24 hour drive through.
Also - they offer student deals of free medium fries or standard mcflurry or hamburger / cheeseburger when you order an extra value meal or a deli sandwich meal (maybe others too). You have to show a student card but it doesn't have to be NUS. I've heard some franchised branches may not offer this, but I've never come across it.
- food is fairly consistent across branches, you know what you're getting
- fast food (but not instant - within 5 - 10 minutes)
- usually plenty around, in convenient locations
- not the healthiest food or the most ethically sourced
- poor choice for vegetarians
- food temperature is variable
- don't always get the exact items you ordered
Summary: A well-recognised fast food establishment with a standard menu.
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