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”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser Essay (Article Review)

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Updated: Jun 7th, 2022

Nowadays, there is not a single person left in this world who has not heard about fast food. At the pace of modern life, people often do not have time to dine fully, and then fast food comes to the rescue. A famous folklorist Margaret Visser explains this phenomenon in her article “The Ritual of Fast Food.” According to her, preordained rules, high common standards, and a family-oriented approach create the whole culture of dining out, which is now an essential part of the world’s daily life.

However, the non-chain restaurant industry is flourishing, in part due to people making the conscious choice not to visit fast food places. This essay will analyze the culture of the Surf Club Restaurant in Miami, Florida, to determine its attractions.

The name “Surf Club Restaurant” does not immediately evoke a particular image in most people’s minds when they hear it. However, it implies that the restaurant tries to follow the theme of the previous century when organizations similar to the one in its name were the most active. The location’s interior confirms this idea, starting with its generally semi-modern interior that diverges from the classical style without embracing modernity fully and ending with its peculiar water glasses that are available at every table. The restaurant offers a familiar environment to those old enough to remember the fifties and lets younger people experience it. In doing this, it comforts the former and excites the latter at the same time.

The food uses a similar approach, attempting to replicate traditional Continental cuisine and bring the customers into the period’s atmosphere. However, it has been adapted for better suitability to modern palates by the renowned chef Thomas Keller. He added a unique touch by having some dishes be finished at the customer’s table, which lets them appreciate the food. A long list of various wines and other beverages is available to complement the experience and make it unique.

The prices are much higher than they would be at a fast food location, but the Surf Club Restaurant is getting customers consistently. This tendency proves that customers are willing to pay more to avoid the fast-food experience.

Fast food businesses and restaurants such as the one just described relying on different categories of customers. Some people appreciate regional and expertly prepared food, which one cannot get at a fast food location. The food there is standardized and made as similar as possible to avoid straining the often-inexperienced kitchen staff. Others want a relaxed and classy environment for their meetings, whether for work or personal life. Fast food places tend to be busy and have customers move through them quickly, leaving little time for a relaxed conversation. However, the Surf Club Restaurant aims to provide its customers with the best possible experience. To obtain it, people are willing to go out of their way to find locations such as that one and pay the premium on the food.

Overall, while fast food is extremely popular among the American public and worldwide, it serves a different demographic than the people who visit traditional restaurants. As Visser notes, fast food aims to feed families with children who need to eat quickly and without worries. Their primary concern is relieving hunger quickly and inexpensively, a frequent desire in modern society. Meanwhile, restaurant-goers want to have an excellent experience and are willing to pay a premium for it. They have no interest in going to a fast food location because it does not suit their needs, and while these customers exist, so will traditional restaurants.

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IvyPanda. (2022, June 7). ”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-ritual-of-fast-food-by-margaret-visser-article-analysis/

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IvyPanda. (2022, June 7). ”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-ritual-of-fast-food-by-margaret-visser-article-analysis/

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"”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser." IvyPanda, 7 June 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/the-ritual-of-fast-food-by-margaret-visser-article-analysis/.

1. IvyPanda. "”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser." June 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-ritual-of-fast-food-by-margaret-visser-article-analysis/.


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IvyPanda. "”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser." June 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-ritual-of-fast-food-by-margaret-visser-article-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser." June 7, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-ritual-of-fast-food-by-margaret-visser-article-analysis/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) '”The Ritual of Fast Food” by Margaret Visser'. 7 June.

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