Journal discovers fast food is greasy

The Journal de Montréal loves to manufacture controversy to sell papers. It’s what they do best. Sometimes it works, and leads to government action political grand-standing.

Other times, it just leaves you shaking your head.

Today, I was handed a Journal free outside the metro station. On its cover (while everyone else was talking about this silly Kosovo thing), a special EXCLUSIVE report about fast food.

It seems the Journal had “grand chef” Thierry Daraize (actually, he’s more of a chef-turned-food-columnist, for newspapers including the Journal, which makes me wonder why he didn’t write the stories himself), and had him apply UNDER COVER to work at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC.

His conclusions:

  • The restaurants’ policies emphasize speed over quality of food
  • Fast food is prepared in advance and kept warm for hours at a time
  • Fast food is greasy
  • Burgers are not prepared carefully — ingredients are just slapped onto the bun
  • Food ingredients come pre-cut so employees don’t waste time chopping veggies
  • Soft drinks are dispensed through a machine that combines a concentrated syrup with carbonated water — and those drinks are watered down

That’s it. No rats, secret poisons, spitting into the burgers, crimes against humanity. Nothing but a bunch of tidbits that any idiot who’s worked in the industry already knows.

And yet the Journal devoted their first four pages this morning, plus the cover, to this non-story. And they’ll be continuing the series for two more days. Somehow I doubt his findings will suddenly become more interesting.

The Journal doesn’t have a monopoly on overblown giant features that waste journalistic resources stating the obvious, or talk about insanely uninteresting things, for days on end (*cough*). But they seem to have turned it into an art.

10 thoughts on “Journal discovers fast food is greasy

  1. Suzie McDonnell

    yep…short and sweet. i worked in mcdonalds (montreal-near blue bonnets) as a student in the late 70’s and although i didn’t eat the food, i was amazed at the work ethic of my colleagues…we all worked for low wages but did an amzing job…and ya, the food was frozen, slapped on a grill, but geez, what do you expect for 50cents?

  2. Pierre-Alexandre B.

    Wow, seriously, I didn’t knew that the « Journal de Montréal » could sink as low… If I wanted a good picture of the fast-food world, I could have turned myself toward some very good work, like… I don’t know, « SuperSize Me », the movie from Morgan Spurlock; « Don’t eat this book », again from Spurlock; or « Fatland », from Greg Critser…

    Anyway, my point is that, again, there’s a newspaper who try to sell us false debates and make-up crisis, when about anything else would be interesting to cover. But hey! It’s a Quebecor media tool, what else did I expect?!

  3. Neath

    That’s probably the lamest reporting in the history of the city, or in journalism, it’s like going undercover to report that most depanneurs sell a product called beer that has alcohol in it, purely retarded.

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  5. C'est Raoul

    I don’t think it’s that lame. I read it on Canoe, but the way I read it was first by his impression and philosophical thinkings about food, and education.

    Fast food just lamer and lamer everyday, so we don’t even think about it anymore. I eat at McDo and such less than 5 times a year. I still like the old greasy spoons but not for the fast food.

    If we gave this same portrait to people 50 years ago, people would have freaked out…

    Our kids just don’t know about real food. It’s hard for parents to have enough time to cook. It’s also more expensive to cook at home sometimes. Your kids won’t even appreciate it.

    it’s all about education again, and food is just another domain showing our laziness.

    Good point about the journal’s technique though: exact same method all the time. They could have done all at once. Take an anglo speaking only to apply for jobs in fast food chains!

  6. blork

    I don’t think you even need to have worked in the industry to know that much about the fast food industry. Geez! How stupid do they think we are?

    What could be marginally more interesting is if they did a similar report on the not-so-fast-but-still-franchise restaurants like Kelsey’s, Fire Grill, Red Lobster, Boston Pizza, Madison Steakhouse, etc., that the suburbs are so full of. (And those places are trying to make inroads downtown too.)

    Those places present themselves as serving “real” food prepared by proper cooks, etc., but in the end they are (in my experience) not much better than the burger joints. The food is formulaic, the staff indifferent, and the management more interested in the numbers than the cooking.

  7. JoNike

    On Monday I took the free newspaper Metro and the free 24(which is Quebecor aka Journal de Montreal). First one made first page about Kosovo independance and second one about a rumor thrown by a cbc commentator about Vincent Lecavalier maybe interessest by a trade in NHL. I was like… wow great job on the front page…

  8. C'est Raoul

    I heard some kids joking around today, while passing by their school. They heard about it, and it marked them, in a good way: they were kidding each other, one was saying the other one “put some KFC sauce in his lunch”…


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