4

Five reasons why reviewing chain restaurants isn't the worst idea in the world

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Since the recent introduction of Jenn in Chains my reviews/commentaries on what's what in the realm of chain restaurants, I've gotten a slew of questions from readers, friends and complete strangers on my Facebook page about why I'm giving time and attention to chain restaurants. Questions like "Why don't you use your words to promote local restaurants?" Or "Why are you wasting your time shilling for crap-tastic dump sites like Jack in the Box?" Or "Chains have tons of cash to throw at their own PR firms, so why are you working for them for free?" And then there's this searing query: "Don't you have anything better to do with your time than write about f*cking McDonald's?"

Top those off with my two personal favorites: "When are you gonna review Cracker Barrel, huh?" and bonus question "Your boss probably hates you, so that's why you're doing this, right?"

So I have decided to use yet more of my valuable time to answer all of these questions with my list of five reasons why reviewing chain restaurants isn't the worst idea in the world.

5. "Why don't you use your words to promote local restaurants?"

The answer to this question is a two-parter. One, because we have two kickass food writers, Lori Midson and Laura Shunk, who already handle that end like belted, heavyweight champions, and two, because my writing about chains doesn't mean that I am promoting them, and it also does not mean that I am in any way against local restaurants. It's not a "one-or-the-other" situation.

4. "Why are you wasting your time shilling for crap-tastic dump sites like Jack in the Box?"

Well, crap-tastic is subjective, and even if the popular opinion is that chains like Jack are hovels slinging shit-burgers out their drive-thru windows, then all the more reason to give the general population a heads-up. It also stands to reason that they are not only doing business, but opening new stores, which means that customers are eating there -- chains don't generally do location expansion when business is down.

3. "Chains have tons of cash to throw at their own PR firms, so why are you working for them for free?"

Yes, chains have access to PR budgets that few, if any, local restaurants do -- McDoo spends more on advertising in one day than I'll ever see in my pocketbook. But I don't work for them. There is a difference between writing about something and promoting something. A big difference. When I see things in any restaurant -- chain or otherwise -- that customers can do without, then it's fair game for me to write about, because that restaurant doesn't sign my paychecks. And I also must note that I don't want a chain to sign my paychecks -- I had about enough of that in my teens/twenties. Believe it or snot, I don't work for companies whose products I can't stand for 100 percent.

The top 2 are on Page 2

2. "Don't you have anything better to do with your time than write about f*cking McDonald's?"

No. I really have nothing better to do with my time, since my career writing negative fortune cookie messages never took off the way I planned, and my "Meatloaf on a Stick" idea didn't pan out.

1. "When are you gonna review Cracker Barrel, huh?"

That's a damn good idea, actually. Cracker Barrel has been in the restaurant industry news lately because it is looking for ways to improve. I should really help CB on its quest, since at this point I personally see the joint as a highway off-ramp last resort for weary traveling diners who have grandma and grandpa in the car.

Bonus question!

"Your boss probably hates you, so that's why you're doing this, right?"

I don't think this is true at all. I got invited to the company Christmas party, so if my bosses really hated me, they'd have concocted an elaborate scheme to keep me away from them, and the canapés.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.