The Happy-Meal smile is a thing of the past, salty french-fries are off the menu, and if your server forgets their hair-net or your sales receipt, step-up in line for a free dinner! Welcome to the newest reincarnation in eating -- this is not your grandma's drive-in restaurant -- you are standing and waiting on the frontlines of the World Burger-Battle.
According to McDonald's Corporation, the world's fast-food mega-giant plans to remodel, re-construct, rebuild or board-up 7,301 of their 8,000 national and international outlets over the next year in the company's ongoing bid to retake World Burger-superiority in classic fashion. And as part of the reorganizing, long-time corporate spokesman Ronald McDonald will step-down from his post to oversee drive-up-window cleaning, and defective intercom systems across the USA and Canada.
These are the Burger Battles of the new century, crossing oceans and international borders. These are not the food-fights of the 60's and 70's -- or even the corporate greed of the burger-crazy 80's. Instead, these are the skirmishes and front-line confrontations that will decide for the future, just what we'll be putting in our mouths today.
"The public and their eating habits is always difficult to figure out," said International Burger Historian, Mr. Wimpy W. Wimpy." The regular guy on the street has no idea for example that there wasn't even ever a real Burger King, (The first Burger King was actually a Duke); Dave from Wendy's -- founder and TV pitch-man for the popular food chain has been dead and buried for over three years yet people still continue to buy fast-food from a dead man. And all White Castle restaurants featuring casinos are built on former American-Indian burial grounds."
"In the finish I think these are the times that will truly try men's filet of souls," Mr. Wimpy said. "Most experts agree it's the sea food on the hook that will decide the fates of these massive burger outlets. Fresh or salted fish has always been an American staple, there's more than a few big oceans out there and everybody loves a juicy Whaler. They believe that you can't eat a burger or even a cheeseburger every night of the week."
Know what you eat, and eat what you know has always been the safest philosophy for those who find the line of the drive-in restaurant irresistible. And an educated consumer is the best defense against fast-food poisoning, gout, and terminal fatness. National statistics suggest that thousands of Americans get sick and die yearly as a result of greasy food, unwashed hands, littered parking lots, bad service, or congestive heart failure in the "Seniors Only Section." In an effort to stem the carnage, McDonald's said they would be the first of the big three to require that all counter-serve personal at the minimum, must earn a Master's Degree in food-service before they face they public at the cash register.
"Mickey-D's is raising the bar as we say in the industry," continued Mr. Wimpy -- a former screen actor in the "Popeye" cartoon series -- who was known as man who knew his way around a hamburger. "I'm afraid they're out to change the way we look at our favorite sandwich. And we're not talking a few extra pickles or some ketchup splattered on the bun here. They're out to promote a change in world-wide-burger-mentality -- and to remind people that the only thing to be accomplished by eating at home is you'll save on the napkins."
Chicken giant Col. Sanders fired the first shot in the Burger Battles when his firm designed, produced and promoted the Chicken-Burger, a white-meat version of the hamburger at one of their Kentucky locations. Despite the quirky name, the Chicken Burger was an instant success in trailer parks where they were not served in a bucket and became known as a delicacy because of the innovative packaging. Later came the Turkey Burger and then finally the Chicken-Turkey-Burger began to make a positive mark on the market.
Now the battle rages on at virtually every street corner and mall food court in the nation. Invention, innovation and spy networks of pimply-faced employees with thick eyeglasses gleaning corporate secrets from fifty-gallon garbage drums and custom painted dumpsters. Quickly new products like condiments with seasoning, ketchup-flavored french fries, and the Pig-Sty-Rib-Eye-Hamburger Sandwich made their debut to hungry consumers. Other breakthroughs in frosty-shakes and specially prepared Burger-Soups were hot on the heels of these products.
Baker's Square followed fast on the track when they introduced their now infamous Hamburger Pie. Pizza Hut scrapped plans for a Hamburger Pizza and instead settled for pizzas with mini-hamburgers and buns as a covering. And even Walgreen's Pharmacy implemented a Prescription Burger sandwich based on the individual customers' medical records and insurance company. No more calling to order, the Walgreen's system calls you and tells you weekly when your healthy Wall-Burger sandwich is hot and ready to be picked up.
The Dunking Burger joined donuts and bagels on the display shelves as a front-liner at Dunkin' Donuts soon thereafter. Taco Bell marketed El Beef Ground Grande for a Bun and Chi-Chi's introduced the Mexican, Hamburger-Hamburger, and were promptly sued by John Belushi's widow for using a menu item they shamelessly pirated and altered from Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern.
"This is not going to be pretty," warned historian Mr. Wimpy of the escalating Burger Battles. "Some of these firms are going to be gone or unrecognizable, or at least repainted, when this all shakes-out. Corporate lettuce heads are sure to roll. Menus will be altered, washrooms will be remodeled, employees will be re-assigned. This is surely the beginning of the end of the fast-food giants. "