I started a web site called Fast Food Facts in 1998. See, there was this girl that kept asking me to look up the number of calories in different fast foods that she liked. As I got tired of looking up Taco Bell's Bean Burrito over and over again, I started to put the data in a spreadsheet, and eventually I converted the spreadsheet to a searchable database on my homepage. Eventually Fast Food Facts got its own web address: www.foodfacts.info
Even back in Fast Food Facts' early days, before I'd ever heard the term 'blog,' I had a section where I posted the links to the latest headlines about the fast food industry. In May of 2005 I started to transfer these headlines into blog entries and began to write about them. After years of following the fast food industry, I decided it was time to share my perspective along with the news on this blog: Fast Food News.
Fast Food News is written for the consumer. Although a food industry executive might find something interesting here, I write my entries to inform the consumer about what they'll find and what they’re eating at the fast food restaurant down the street, let them know about what's going on behind the scenes, point out some trends, analyze some marketing efforts, et cetera.
I write about fast food because it is fascinating on several levels: the extravagant marketing, the universality (first in America and now globally), the assembly line qualities of its décor and food, the fact that it is a first job for so many Americans, and the fact that it is an enormous part of the economy. The U.S. fast food industry had $128.2 billion in sales in 2004, meaning Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars.
One of my favorite quotes is from Gerald Early (in Ken Burns' documentary Baseball):
I think there are only three things America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music, and baseball.I certainly agree with Professor Early about those three things, but if there were a fourth item added to that list, for good or ill, it might very well be fast food.
||updated December 17, 2005||