Friday, April 13, 2007

Global Standards?

I guess by now every fast-food worshipper in Dumaguete and thereabouts has visited McDo at least once. My family and friends are no exception. We braved the long lines on the 2nd day, grumbled pleasantly over the long wait, then triumphantly carried our trays away after what seemed like an eternity.

Staying true to her role as “food introducer”, my friend Chedette urged me to try her daughter Carla’s McChicken, swearing nothing could taste greater than this heavenly concoction of bread, chicken and lettuce … and she was right! I got hooked right away.

Lately, I finally managed to persuade my husband that I desperately needed another McDo fix. My ecstatic grin probably stretched from ear to ear as we approached Dumaguete’s latest landmark. Of course, you guessed it right guys! I ordered the McChicken and dove right into it!

But this column today is not really about McChicken. This is about a sudden thought that came up as I waited for Abby to finish her chicken meal (this was after I gobbled up my burger and was left with nothing else to do except look with longing at the chicken that she was eating ever so slowly!).

I happened to glance at the tray liner across me and got intrigued enough to read the “Neat Facts about McDonald’s”. In part it stated, “Our crew members sanitize every 30 minutes and wash their hands every hour with warm running water using specially formulated anti-microbial soap.” The second paragraph stated, “this ensures you always get clean, safe, and great-tasting food …” Finally, there were statements about operational procedures and quality standards worldwide being aligned and about managers receiving “mandatory global training to ensure global standards are met.”

Ummmm, very comforting! But wait! How about the food as they are served?

OK, before I will proceed with this, let me say these first: I have nothing against McDonald’s. As stated, I’m crazy over their McChicken and their fries, although I must admit that I’ve remained loyal to Jollibee’s Chicken Joy and their array of burgers. I love you guys. My life won’t be complete without you filling me up with gastronomic delights!

But me being me, I just have to ask: Does global standards permit food and money to be handled by the same person?

By the way, I’m not some hygiene freak. I’m just a bewildered little housewife who was brought up knowing that money is dirty!

You know, after going through that much trouble to ensure that the food served is clean and safe, it’s kind of perplexing if you think of how our food is served to us by the very same person who takes our money and hands over our change to us. Wouldn’t that nullify all the trouble taken during the food preparation stage? And it’s not only McDonald’s, mind you. We also see this practice in Jollibee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Bread Worth and many others.

OK, what would be the counter-argument to those? That most items come individually packed? But how about the fries? I’ve been very observant lately. I just came from Jollibee and I noticed how a part of the cashier’s palm came in contact with my fries; that they take every precaution to avoid contact with food? Reason dictates that in a setting where speed is considered a virtue, avoiding contact simply could not be possible; that they use tongs when handling bread or donuts? Those very same hands still have to open the plastic bags or donut boxes don’t they?

This is almost analogous to this ridiculous practice observed by some in the food industry – the use of hairnets. They are supposed to keep the hair from falling into the food, right? How come there are food servers who still sport bangs which hang well outside their nets?

These observations are making me appreciate Chow King and Greenwich even more. Notice how their cashiers take only our orders? Our food is served by a different set of crew. Wouldn’t that be more in keeping with global standards?

By the way, if you’re not a Chow King fan yet, try their Fiesta Halo-Halo. Be sure to give these explicit instructions: 2 scoops of UBE ice cream (no other flavor will do!) and LESS ice. And while you’re at it, ask for Beef Chaofan. By itself, it’s kind of plain, so ask for their Chili Oil. A drop of this killer concoction will heat up your spoonful of chaofan like no other!

Chedette also introduced me to these! And she has converted many others! Chow King should be giving her a plaque of appreciation, or much better, some sort of commission!

Happy eating everyone! Dedicate your first spoonful to me!

1 comment:

RTS said...

If I had known you like Mickey D's so much we could have met there instead of Chow King.
We're back home now so I have more time to read blogs.You're right to worry about food and money being handled by the same person.That was stopped in the States long ago.