Wednesday, August 18, 2010

McDonald's Pandora

No. 79

<2010-08-18 Thu>

When I tell people about my quest to visit every restaurant in Victoria, I frequently get asked if will go to McDonald's. After I answer affirmatively, I get ask if I will visit every one of them.

I thought about it. I know, it is basically academic to answer one way or the other. McDonald's, as a type of food establishment, fully qualifies for my list: it offers food, and it offers a place to sit.

What does a person who reads a review of McDonald's wants to know? I asked myself. Obviously it is not a food review; I doubt any of my readers has not eaten at least once in a McDonald's, and the brand makes a point of consistency. If I read a review of McDonald's, what do I want to learn? I have been at McDonald's in exclusive areas of big cities, where eating there was an event, and I have been inside somber McDonald's where I would not eat.

This McDonald's is large. It occupies the corner of Pandora and Vancouver, with ample parking space. Its drive-through had a good line of cars, including a red Porche Carrera. Ok, a Carrera is no Ferrari nor Bugatti, but still, it shows you that, even people with a significant income would still choose McDonald's. No wonder they are the largest chain of burgers in the world.

I entered the place, and while large, I was surprised by how small it felt inside. The East side is dominated by a large playground. The place was relatively clean, and the patrons spanned many ages and, judging by the looks, social brackets. McDonald's is a social equalizer. While there, I overheard a conversation in which a person was trying to explain to another the requirements to qualify for subsidize housing, while outside a significantly richer driver was getting his fix. There are not that many restaurants that can boast patrons in such a wide cross section of society.

One thing I learned during my visit is that there appears to be some stigma to eating inside the restaurant. I saw at least two cars whose drivers were parked and eating, instead of coming in. Are they afraid of being seeing at McDonald's? or do they fear its patrons? I wonder.

The line to order was long, and took me at least 5 minutes to order. In the meantime I studied the menu. I found it very difficult to digest. It pushes the specials (food, fries, drink) and makes it almost impossible to compare its price to the ones of the individual items. It is loaded with photos of the item, but it lacks consistency, or order. I was confused. I ordered (I will not review the food, it would be pointless), waited for my food, took it to my table.

The place was clean (not immaculate, but decently clean), and while not inviting, I felt ok eating there (I have passed by many where I would not eat at).

I kept observing the patrons. It was very interesting to see how different they were, in age (from children to retired people), occupation (some were clearly coming for a lunch break, others look like they were on vacation), and --as I mentioned before-- economic level (at least judging from their looks). I would see the occasional person coming in to use only the washroom, and quickly leave (something I have done myself in other cities).

People were coming in a steady stream. Business seems to be good at this location. This McDonald's open 24hrs a day, one of the few places in Victoria that does.

Verdict: If you want McDonald's, this is a good place. Good parking, and large space inside. 24hrs service.

Paid: approximately 7:50

For more information, including address, visit:
McDonald's on Urbanspoon

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