or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Reference Question of the Week – 9/28/14

   October 4th, 2014

This is not a fast food restaurant signWhile I was talking to a patron, the phone rang and my coworker answered it. She listened for a little while, said "Yes, I think so," and then hung up.

Any time that happens, you know it's going to be a story.

She turned to me afterward and said the patron just asked her,

Is Boston Market considered fast food?

Yes. Her logic is that any restaurant where you order at a counter and pick up your own food is fast food - if you order at a table and your food is brought to you, it's not fast food. That seems like a good distinction, and apparently it satisfied the patron as well.

Sometimes, the hardest thing about working in a library is not getting to ask, "why?"

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2 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 9/28/14”

  1. Mary Jo Says:

    The CEO considers it “fast casual” which is a new category in the restaurant world. From Wikipedia: “A fast casual restaurant is a type of restaurant that does not offer full table service, but promises a higher quality of food with fewer frozen or processed ingredients than a fast food restaurant. It is a relatively new and growing concept positioned between fast food and casual dining. The typical cost per meal is in the $8–$15 range.”

    Other fast casual restaurants include Panera and Chipotle.

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Mary Jo: very interesting, I had not heard that distinction before. Most fast food restaurants are pretty casual too though, so I don’t know that the “fast casual” circle on a restaurant Venn diagram would actually excludes the likes of McDonald’s and Taco Bell – but I see what they’re getting at. Although now that I think about it (and it occurs to me that I’m thinking about this too much), I have heard the phrase “casual dining” which I’m guessing applies to places like Chili’s and Applebee’s – and Boston Market does seem to sort of fit in between those and Arby’s. Then I guess Fine Dining are a tier above Casual Dining – places with cloth napkins.

    Maybe it’s the librarian in me, but man I love organizational systems like this.