Wednesday, July 15, 2009
To chain or not to chain?
In real life, I do some work that isn't food-related. No, really. So it is that the other day, I found myself reading the latest issue of Fast Company. Tucked halfway through was an article about Darden Restaurants, the conglomerate that owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster, among others.
Despite my well-documented lack of enthusiasm for chain restaurants, I found the piece about Darden and its CEO, Clarence Otis, fascinating. The mathematical acrobatics it takes to run hundreds of outposts of a single restaurant boggle my mind, and I was pretty surprised to hear about the efforts Darden is making to encourage sustainable fishing. After all, it's a bit like Wal-Mart insisting on eco-friendly practices at its suppliers: when you control that much of the market, you can make a serious difference.
This is a hot topic right now; Ezra Klein's IFA post about Ruhlman vs. Alexander is a really interesting take.
How about you guys? Do you eat at a lot of chain restaurants? Why or why not?