Fast Food Restaurants - Cuisine

Cuisine

Modern commercial fast food is highly processed and prepared on a large scale from bulk ingredients using standardized cooking and production methods and equipment. It is usually rapidly served in cartons or bags or in a plastic wrapping, in a fashion which reduces operating costs by allowing rapid product identification and counting, promoting longer holding time, avoiding transfer of bacteria, and facilitating order fulfillment. In most fast food operations, menu items are generally made from processed ingredients prepared at a central supply facilities and then shipped to individual outlets where they are cooked (usually by grill, microwave, or deep-frying) or assembled in a short amount of time either in anticipation of upcoming orders (i.e., "to stock") or in response to actual orders (i.e., "to order"). Following standard operating procedures, pre-cooked products are monitored for freshness and disposed of if holding times become excessive. This process ensures a consistent level of product quality, and is key to delivering the order quickly to the customer and avoiding labor and equipment costs in the individual stores.

Because of commercial emphasis on taste, speed, product safety, uniformity, and low cost, fast food products are made with ingredients formulated to achieve an identifiable flavor, aroma, texture, and "mouth feel" and to preserve freshness and control handling costs during preparation and order fulfillment. This requires a high degree of food engineering. The use of additives, including salt, sugar, flavorings and preservatives, and processing techniques may limit the nutritional value of the final product.

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