“Fast Crafted,” “Fine Casual” & Other Nonsense Terms Restaurants Use To Avoid Saying “Fast Food”

This "Fast Crafted" Arby's food looks an awful lot like fast food. (photo: Morton Fox)

This “Fast Crafted” Arby’s food looks an awful lot like fast food. (photo: Morton Fox)

In the foodservice industry, fast food joints have long been referred to as “quick service restaurants” or QSRs, but that was never a term intended for use by the public, which was just fine using the equally accurate “fast food.” But for many in the QSR business, this phrase has the stink and sheen of rancid french fry oil. So they are increasingly turning to borderline nonsensical descriptors to avoid it.

The AP’s Candice Choi recently investigated this shift away from “fast food” and toward a host of other terms that restaurant chain brand managers actually believe will change the way people look at these restaurants.

Most of us have heard terms like “fast casual,” often used to describe places where you don’t have to lie to to your coworkers about going there to eat lunch. This term usually applies to chains like Panera, Potbelly, and Chipotle.

But then upstart burger chain Shake Shack tried to one-up that term, referring to its business — in filings with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, no less — as “fine casual” because eating there is an experience “grounded in fine dining,” even though the food is served up on cafeteria trays and, during lunch, there are often people queued up just to maybe find a seat.

Arby’s — a restaurant known for something called the “Meat Mountain” — is apparently attempting to convince diners that its kitchens are filled with quick-working artisans, referring to its food as “fast crafted.” The company even trademarked the phrase back in 2014, just in case anyone else might want to use it…

Then there’s the Dairy Queen slogan: “Fan Food, Not Fast Food.”

As I’ve mentioned before, I had the honor of working at a DQ for three, glorious summers. I sold a lot of Blizzards, Peanut Buster Parfaits, and Dilly Bars, and while I recall lots of people being happy with their food, I don’t remember anyone ever saying they were a “fan” of the soft-serve treats.

[via Eater]

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