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Friday, June 20, 2014

Redo My Burger -- Gimme the Picture With a Smile and a "Thank You"

"Have you ever gazed at your Bacon Cheeseburger Deluxe and thought, 'It doesn't add up to its own ad?' Does your Quarter Pounder look more like an Eighth of a Pounder? Such thoughts drove Greg Benson to put on his hidden-camera glasses and order from half a dozen fast-food restaurants in Los Angeles. 

"When his order didn't stack up to its image, he showed them the ads with photos of his items -- a Big Mac from McDonalds, two tacos from Jack in the Box, a Half-Pound Double with Cheese from Wendy's -- requested an order that resembled the photo, AND not a single place said, 'Get, out of here, buddy! We're not redoing it.' All were willing to redo the order and make it right."

("The Wacky World of Jeanne Moos." CNN.  Click on the address to watch the video.

McDonalds is even willing to show how they take their pictures. A regular Quarter Pounder takes a minute to make, but a food stylist takes an hour and a half prepping one for its closeup. Both had the same ingredients, but the advertisement burger was retouched over and over. 

With some clever tricks, fancy lighting, and digital editing, fast-food restaurants can make any burger look incredible. They dress up their products, and they also use a distortion that stacks all the “goodies” near the front of the sandwich for full effect. The onions, pickles, mustard, ketchup -- all are artistically arranged with great care. A steam effect is even used to make the bun look bigger. Then, the photo of the product goes through some digital "retouching" such as enhancing the color and taking out little accents of preparation that don't look appetizing. This retouching is all accomplished through the use of a computer program. The finished advertisement makes the burger look so, so good.

But, did you know you can buy a burger that looks closer to the ad by requesting a redo? Hey, I've seen some very limp, unappetizing sandwiches in my day, and I've yet to ask for a cosmetic makeover. I have returned cold burgers and sandwiches without the correct ordered condiments. But, now, I am happy to announce I can evidently demand better food when a product has been entirely misrepresented. I intend to do so.

I've often wondered how some of the lopsided creations I paid for had been prepared with so little thought. I figured some employee really didn't like his job and just haphazardly slapped the sandwich together with malice and regret. You know the story -- "Feel sorry for me working a job with low wages, no benefits, and tough conditions, so just take the lousy order and be glad I even filled it."

And, you know what? That indifference for customer satisfaction pisses me off. How difficult is it to arrange condiments and take a few seconds to achieve decent food presentation? Listen up, buddy...

"Hey, fast-food dude, I've worked plenty of low-paying jobs and dealt with the public in retail employment. Let me tell you a thing or two -- you owe me for spending my cash at the business that writes your paycheck. If you want a better job, be willing to invest in more education or spend more time training, but for right now, just show me some contentment and fix my food with a little consideration and pride in yourself. And, don't forget to say 'thank you' too, buster."

So, isn't it good to know that a sweet, satisfying burger does not violate company policy. In other words, a restaurant should try to make you a real sandwich that closely resembles the fantastic advertisement. It's all part of the contract between us, the lowly consumer, and them, the giant cooperation.

Are you going to request a redo the next time you are thoroughly dissatisfied with the product? Muster some courage now. Consider this: one or two discerning consumers may ignite a little quality presentation in your local fast-food establishment. I'm sure your ears will be burning as you exit with an improved meal because employees will be spreading the word about your "impossible demands"; however, you may become a much-needed crusader for truth in advertising.

People know fast food as one of the most reliable distributors of disappointment ever produced by the business world. They know the game of savory advertising and the reality of living with substandard expectations. Yet, the next time you enter a fast-food restaurant, open your eyes and view the beautiful, scrumptious ads for food on the walls. Then place an order, take a minute to look at it, and ask yourself if you received anything that resembled the product.

Did you get your money's worth? If the answer is a HUGE, RESOUNDING "NO!" THEN SIMPLY ASK FOR A REDO -- before you begin eating, of course.

Fast-food is no longer cheap food. It is not unreasonable to expect restaurants to prepare food in the manner in which they advertise. Remember, there is enough "honest" deceit in the ads to float a yacht. Granted, fast-food ads are almost never perceptually correct, but that doesn't mean you should accept "anything the joint dishes out."

"Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles,
onions on a sesame seed bun." 

--Big Mac Jingle

Watch the Video: "McDonald's: Why Our Food Looks Better in Ads Than in Real Life" Click here:



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