Food plays a vital to the growth of living things especially human beings. Lack of food brings growth retardation due to the lack of important nutrients needed by body metabolisms. Whether prepared in hurry or slow, food should be nutritionally balanced so as to cater for bodily needs for proper growth.
The food industry worldwide now has been subjected into two categories of restaurants which majority of people have their meals especially in the developed countries. Fast food chains which emerged in the 1912 in the United States opened a door to more and more fast food chains which changed the mode of food preparations in the restaurants or food outlets. With the concept of ready cooked for sale has revolutionized the hotel hospitality globally. Though fast food chains made life easier for people who are in hurry, cultural cuisine restaurants are also still favored for people want to have their meals in relaxing moment.
These food outlets both the major role of providing food services to people who sometimes are busy with their daily routines or are tired of cooking and want to go out for dinner or lunch. For quite sometimes food outlets have played a major role not only to the local people, but also to the tourism industry with the flocking of tourists. There is no tourism directory which is not indicating food outlets and restaurants. Apart from contributing immensely to the tourism industry, food outlets have another importance which is contribution to the agriculture, farming and food processing industries.
In the economical aspect, food outlets provide markets for agricultural products and food processing industrial products too. The market provision which contribute not only to the agriculture and industries sectors also plays a role in improving people’s life in the grassroots levels especially in the developing countries.
Food outlets and restaurants create employments such as chefs, waiters, waitresses and manager to mention a few examples. These outlets and restaurants have helped in reducing the unemployment rates both in developed and developing countries. Apart from direct employment, food outlets and restaurants involve other people who deliver services to these outlets and restaurants; these include banks, media, and food suppliers to mention a few.
Nevertheless, these two categories of food outlets have sharp contrasts in the kind of services they provide which has created a gap between them. While Fast food chains outlets provide services with the philosophy of fast and ready for sale, cultural cuisine restaurants maintain their originality of providing services in relaxed, cozy and slow moments to its customers. A clear different from the slow food that is prepared after customers placing orders first.
Fast food chain outlets to start with, are designed to provide quick services for people who are in hurry, busy and do not have time for enjoying their meals. These include students, travelers, businessmen, and workers. Looking at the fast food chains, which started from the simple cafeteria, and become large franchised businesses globally like McDonalds, KFC, and Wendy’s to mention a few examples. In fast food chains, food is prepared in bulky waiting customers hence it must be kept warm most of the time. The system tends to somehow affect the food taste and in giving satisfaction to their customers, and keeping their businesses profitable, fast food had to invent something which will maintain the taste of the food. Though these fast food outlets started with hamburgers, later on introduced chips, sugary products like ice creams and milkshakes, in all these there is not food with fibres or nutritionally prepared compared to slow food restaurants.
The introduction of hydrogenation about 100 years ago made the fast food preserve soybean oil which is the major cooking oils used by fast food chains; the innovation has proved to have side effects due to its turning liquid oils into solid oils hence forming Trans fat, which clogs arteries. Apart from clogging arteries, these oils have created another problem which has been complained about for ages and that is obesity. Obesity not only to the adults, also to the young ones especially school children who are the major consumers of fast foods. Most of fast food outlets are selling food that are high in carbohydrates, sweetened beverages which I for children and adolescents tend to replace fluid milk from their diet, hence creating high risk of being obese. In United States childhood obesity has become problematic to control as most of school children are purchasing their food due to its cheaper from fast foods and sometimes influenced by advertisements.
Fast food consumption has been on increase since 1970s to the present, with more expansion of food chains worldwide. Another contributing factor for fast food expansion is the cheaper prices compared to cultural restaurants. This has made fast food chains gaining popularity quickly globally as these have ensured meals for even low-earners income people different from normal restaurants which the price has to be higher compared to the cost of productions and preparation of their meals.
Apart from ore criticisms, fast food outlets have played another positive role in contributing to countries economies where they operate. This include the number of people employed in these food chains, though paid low wages, the large percentage employed range from 16 to 20s hence reducing the rate of unemployment in various countries. Taxes paid to the governments for instance, fast food chains in United States recorded amount of US $ 142 billion profit has contributed large to the American economy.
In protecting the originality and pleasure of preparing meals and purpose of having comfort in having meals in cozy surrounding, slow food movement has managed to bring awareness to people about the effects of fast foods. The main objective was to protect the traditional mode of food preparations, beautifully arranged and finally eaten in relaxed environments. This was done especially in family and friends gathering, or sometimes for individual who value the meaning of preparing and eating in relaxed surroundings.
In the cultural restaurants, there are food varieties in the menu with different preparations like grilling, boiling, steaming and frying unlike fast food which the main preparation is through frying. Through difference in food varieties in restaurants, people have opportunity of eating even food from other place/countries apart from their own, like Thai cuisine, African, Italian and Chinese to mention a few examples as every country has its own methods of preparing foods. Due to the time spent and labor in food preparation, expenses of ingredients, and generous hospitality in the gracious cozy dining restaurants, food prices in these restaurants is higher compared to the fast food outlets. These restaurants have been looked upon as places for wealthy people due to the prices, and making loopholes for fast food outlets. Fast food outlets mostly caters for people who have more than three jobs so to make ends meet, so they don’t have time to appreciate the beauty of slow food restaurants rather than grabbing quick burger and rush to another job.
Due to this expansion globally, with lower prices and complaints about nutritional value of food in fast foods, slow food movement emerged in protecting slow food restaurants which started in Italy when McDonalds wanted to open the fast food there. In the slow food movement which originated from Carlo Petrini in 1986 when he opposed the opening of McDonalds has managed to raise awareness to people about fast foods and the importance of slow food restaurants too. “For most of us, our enjoyment of food has fallen victim to the frenetic pace of our lives and to our increasing estrangement, in a complex commercial economy, from the… More natural processes by which food is grown and produced.” (Petrini Carlo, Slow Food: Case for Taste, 2004). Through these campaigns of counteracting fast food, slow food movements focuses of helping people understand the importance of caring where the food comes from, who make it, how it is made and the joy of eating it.
Another area which has benefited by slow food restaurants is the agriculture and livestock industry. Educating people of the importance of eating in the traditional restaurants have opened more doors for markets for agro and organic products which in the fast foods outlets they don’t have much of use. The movement has managed to connect people producing agro products, farmers, and sellers through promotion of these products. The connection has not been for the farmers only but also about 100 countries have joined this movement of protecting traditional restaurants in the world.
In conclusion, though the slow food movement has been criticized as being elites that focus on small number of people instead of majority. On the other hand, fast food also has played important role in food industry too with its contribution to the economy likewise traditional restaurants. Though these two types of food outlets differ in the services they provide, they are both important in our societies.
Petrini Carlo, Slow Food: Case for Taste, 2004