Restaurants That Re-Warm Pre-Made Food

Posted By Debbie on September 17, 2011

Categories: Business, Marketing

Tags: food, restaurants

I cook well. And I have a pet peeve: restaurants that don’t cook. They reheat stuff that they made earlier or off-site. I’m not talking about a chef preparing a large batch of sauce, or slicing all the veg he’ll need for that night. I mean the places we all KNOW are not using fresh everything, and making our order from scratch when we order it. Red Lobster. Olive Garden. TGI Fridays.

In fact, a Facebook friend just posted this pic he took of his TGI Friday’s dinner. The vegetables still had a plastic bag around them. So not only were his veg prepared in some other time and some other place, and readied as a single serving, but whoever microwaved these forgot to remove the bag. I guess they are microwaved in the bag? But then you should take them out! Click to enlarge:

If I want to microwave something, I can stay home. I don’t need to pay $8-20 per entree to have something cold rewarmed. This became my pet peeve in 2005, when I first tried El Charro Cafe, considered an institution (in a good way) in Tucson, AZ (my adopted hometown). I ordered an appetizer. My teen waiter told me they were out of that. Oh. But he continued, telling me the “factory” hadn’t made enough. Factory? Tell me more. He did. He told me there was some “factory” somewhere out of town that made their food for them. Ohhhhhh.

I ended up at another El Charro location a couple of years later. Knowing this was the case, I went right to the manager with the menu, and asked WHICH things they made fresh when I order them. He had to think, but he told me salads and anything that has chicken. OK! Food sucked.

I ended up at another El Charro location a year or so after that. I figured, THIS time, I will beat the system! I will order something SO customised they will HAVE to make it fresh for me! OK, I’ll take your carne seca quesadilla, but let’s get some extra onions, blah blah blah. I dressed it up! What I was served was a refridgerator cold quesadilla with what I asked for on TOP. Think about this for a moment. A quesadilla is a Mexican grilled cheese. That means it’s someone’s job there to pre-make grilled cheese, and then dump them in the fridge for later for rewarming. And they served me a cold quesadilla. Even Taco Bell will serve you a hot, albeit super crappy, quesadilla.

I also went through this at a restaurant in a now-closed Vegas hotel. I asked the waiter WHAT they make fresh when I order it. He lead me to ONE item on the menu. I ordered that. Not good. So evidently, some restaurants are only good at microwaving. We also know this from scary and upsetting Gordon Ramsey TV shows.

Is there any other industry where this would work? Why do we accept this? Why do we pay lots of money for microwaved dinners when we could spend $3 on a microwaved meal at home? Save gas, save the tip. Or COOK a fresh meal yourself for probably 1/2 the price. I say speak with your dollar. Stop going to these places.

Bonus tip: Before I try a new Mexican restaurant or hole in the wall, I ask if they make their own chips and salsa from scratch. A place that serves chips out of a bag and/or salsa from a jar will NOT work for me. I like that real home cooking, or at least fresh cooking!