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Zoglin – Food: Fast-food speeds up the pace

Zoglin, R. “Food: Fast-food speeds up the pace.” Time Magazine, June 21, 2005.

Key Words: fast-food, American culture, changing lifestyles

Richard Zoglin, wrote an article titled “Food: Fast-food Speeds up the Pace,” that described the recent boom in the fast-food industry in relation to the changed American lifestyle. Zoglin is an American journalist and senior editor for Time Magazine, who has covered the entertainment section for over twenty years. This was not so much a research piece as it was a report of current trends in the American lifestyle.

In his article, the main point he honed in on was how restaurants have been revamping themselves to fit the changing ways of Americans. He gave the examples of places like McDonald’s and Burger King redesigning their interior to make it more classy. There has been an eating-out boom in recent years due to more single-parent families and more working mothers. The increase of families being out of the house more because of weekend activities, sports, school, etc., and city-dwellers needing to get out of their tiny apartments, has also fed this statistic. Instead of dining being a culinary experience, it has become a one for socializing and entertaining. Zoglin said that customers will put up with noise, small tables, long waits, and horrible food, just so long as they are entertained or dining in a popular spot. To keep up with this recent trend, restaurants from all levels of the food-chain, if you will, are starting to look nicer to try to attract a more upper-scale crowd.

Along with the physical attraction restaurants are pursuing, they are also trying to come up with more attractive menus. The fast-food business is trying to overcome its traditional junk food image. They are turning toward more healthful options and natural ingredients. Places such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s are expanding their menus so that they are serving more options than just beef and potatoes; people can now order salads, chicken sandwiches, and fruit for their meals.

The reworking of an entire industry to meet the needs of a changing culture fits well into the area of food communication. This article is centered on the relationship between food and the human experience. The food industry, in order to continue being successful, needed to take the societal cues about the new trends toward more-natural eating and eating in areas with nice ambience and change their ways to fit the way society was moving.

“The Gospel of Food,” by Barry Glassner, and “Chew on This” and “Fast Food Nation,” by Eric Schlosser are also good sources to look at if you are interested in the relationship between the fast-food industry and American culture.

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