In a new Eating Out-Look Survey conducted for UK researcher Horizons by YouGov, 71% of respondents of 2,366 surveyed, reported having dined away from home in the last fortnight. This compares with 67% in June 2013. What does this cost us? A whopping £29.4 billion on takeaways every year, with the typical person spending £109 per month on convenience meals.
Most (63%) of those who dine out do so in the evening, but 47% are buying lunches. Away-from-home breakfast occasions are not nearly as popular in the UK and in the U.S., but they are rising (12%, compared with 10% last year). What determines where to eat or order? Food quality is tops (76%), followed by price considerations (65%) and cleanliness (60%).
Fast Food Through the Ages
Now while you digest that, let’s have a little history lesson: fast food began as street food so whenever highly-populated areas sprung up, so did fast food. Bread and wine sold on the streets in Ancient Rome and noodle stalls in Eastern Asia were the forerunners. Even in the Middle Ages, you could buy pies and pasties in London and Paris.
And did you know that the first fish and chip shop opened in 1860 in the UK? The first ever US fast food restaurant is believed to be the Wichita White Castle restaurant 1916, with “high volumes, at high speed and low cost”.
Contemporary Fast Food Hygiene
Let’s get back to the survey and the fact that 60% of people surveyed thought that cleanliness was the most important issue. Today’s fast food outlets have myriad legislation and regulations and local authorities have the power to close them down if they find the standards are unacceptable. That affects the kitchen most of all. Health inspectors pay particular attention to potentially hazardous foods, such as raw burger meat that requires precise time and temperature maintenance to prevent bacterial grown and food related illnesses.
By ensuring that your kitchen and in particular, the kitchen ovens are up to the job, then it is essential that maintenance and repairs where necessary must be carried out immediately to prevent any potential hazard to the public.
“Fast food outlets have their own particular problems as sheer volume of food means that ovens are utilised constantly,” comments Helen Hagger from AC Services (Southern), a company that regularly maintains fast food restaurants’ Rational ovens.
“Our recommendation is that all oven appliances should be checked regularly, and we are on hand always to deal with any unforeseen problems that may arise.”
And as a footnote, here’s a little known fact: McDonald’s made itself the country’s largest buyer of apples when it started selling apple slices in 2004!