Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Demolition Man

A Demolition Man Taco Bell Experience Took Comic-Con by Storm /Film

In his pod with Ben Leventhal, Dave Chang speaks of a gastronomical future due to Covid akin to the movie Demolition Man, where every restaurant is Taco Bell. Earnest as he is, what he misses, in his insular bubble, is that for 95% of the country, this future has already arrived. His perception that good, scratch-made food was at all readily available pre-Covid is false. And it certainly wasn't affordable. If you travel throughout North Carolina, from Beaufort to Fayetteville to Statesville to Greensboro to Goldsboro, there are a sprinkling of restaurants that are not fast food, Wendy's, Bojangles, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and the like. The predominant food landscape of America is chain fast food. Chang talks about Domino's being a guilty pleasure that he indulges in every three months. For so much of America, Domino's or something like it in a branded takeout bag is dinner many nights. So when Chang and others talk about "saving restaurants", it is really this tiny independent subgenre that, like Wholefoods, represents only 2% of the purchases but the majority of the bandwidth. Chang has gotten into QSR before, but I think to actually get people interested in fresh foods rather than salty fatty highly processed foods like Taco Bell, one would have to lift median incomes via social welfare so they could afford to buy them (e.g. France).

Restaurants as we currently conceive of them did not arise until the 1800s, and when they did, they were for the wealthy. And to this day, restaurants, especially high-end restaurants, only exist because of ample disposable income of the bourgeois class. If people are broke or unemployed, they prefer to cook breakfast at home instead of a twelve-dollar omelette at brunch. There will simply be fewer dollars for this kind of food, and many restaurants will either close or downsize their operations as a result.

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