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Fast Food Culture

by Diana Pastor

While talking to a co-worker, she told me: “My younger sister asked me to take her to McDonald’s to celebrate her birthday. And she does nothing but ask that.”

Sitting beside me on the bus, a girl said loudly: “In two weeks my parents are throwing a party for my fifteenth birthday and I’ll ask them to have it at Wendy’s.”

Something similar happened with one of my friends – she was extremely proud to celebrate her graduation with her family in Burger King. And a couple of acquaintances recently celebrated their second wedding anniversary by eating at Pizza Hut.

That people give preference to these and many more such places over others, I think, proves that we are in the fast food era.

Why this peculiar predilection for these restaurants to celebrate special occasions? Maybe some nuances that give a twist from the traditional fast-food restaurant in other parts of the world.

In Pollo Campero, for example, food is always served at the table (unless you’re ordering to go) and comes accompanied by cutlery that’s curiously almost never used. At Pizza Hut, people are especially friendly to customers, and no matter how late you arrive at night, the waiters always have a friendly smile for you.

Other restaurants like McDonald’s or Burger Ricca have tried to mix culinary elements for a fusion of typical Guatemalan food and fast food. You want a light breakfast accompanied by beans or fried plantains? You can buy it in the supermarket. It seems to have innovated its classic menu, adding a familiar Chapín touch.

It’s curious that many of these restaurants have invented their own celebrations, like McDonald’s ” El Mc día Feliz ” held in Guatemala and other countries, when they donate funds to the Ronald McDonald foundation. Campero has its own fireworks show that occurs every few days before Christmas.

Anyway. Either by changing the familiar flavors of home, removing the need to wash dishes or just providing a different place to eat, fast food restaurants, always appear at the top of the list among Guatemalans when it comes to culinary tastes.

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