By John Coleman
I'm NOT a fast food person. Instead of making a 'fast break' to a Mc'Burger restaurants whenever hunger pains begin, I prefer to cook for myself and eat at home... carrots, broccoli, fish, or chicken, while I sit at a table, read a magazine, listen to classical music on the radio, and usually take more than an hour to eat. When I do go out to eat, it's to celebrate the occasion with some special person. Even I recognize that my way is NOT the new normal way.
Under the principle that real journalists call: "Truth in Reporting", I felt it necessary to share the above bit of personal information, in order to inform anyone who reads this, that I neither have or pretend to have the ability to rate any fast food restaurants, whether by franchise chain (Wendy's) vs. (Jack in the Box), or by brand (McDonalds) vs. brand (Burger King).
Already aware that many national organizations authorize some local units to participate in community benefit events, I learned that the Boys & Girls Club of San Bernardino had been given the opportunity to hold a fund-raiser, Dec 17, 2012, at the McDonalds Restaurant & Drive-in at 225 W. Valley Blvd, Colton, CA. I decided to see what that involved. I previously had met Reginald Webb, President, Webb Enterprises, which includes the Colton McDonalds.
To prepare for my trip into unfamiliar territory I asked for help from a friend who used to frequent fast-foods outlets to feed herself and family. As we arrived, she noted that the place looked new and attractive (after having gone through a recent renovation) but on a stretch of road, in a commercial area, not near residential neighborhoods. However, it is between two off ramps on the Interstate 10 (9th St. & Rancho) for easy access. The entry was electric doors, frosted glass, recessed lighting, and live plants which added to the attractive design elements. My friend noted that this was different from the usual fast-food decor. Hours before the scheduled fund-raiser and as any walk-in customers, we were greeted at the door by a smiling staff member. My friend ordered a salad and showed me how to proceed. I ordered a McRib (Someone once said: "When in Rome, do as Romans do"!).
On this chilly, rainy early afternoon, parents sat in booths while kids ran, climbed and roamed about safely, inside the glassed-in area. In a quiet alcove of the dining room, two or three parties were working with their laptops. McDonalds provides electronic connectivity.
I returned for the fund-raising partnership scheduled to run from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Arrivers still were greeted by a smiling McD's staff member but a Boys & Girls Club staff member (with a McD's trainer/facilitator at his or her side) staffed the counter. The flow of service to customers was maintained. A sprinkling of B&G friends went through the line as regular customers, along with everybody else.
Mr. Webb was there. Answering my questions, he took me on a tour to point out indicators involved in meeting requirements of holding a McDonalds franchise. Requirements of Federal & State regs (Americans With Disabilities Act; health and safety laws...); personnel selection and training; use of technology for space and storage, efficiency and economy; within a competitive fast-foods low-profit environment, requiring high traffic volume and attention to customer satisfaction. He describes Webb Enterprises as a family legacy-business that grows his business as it involves his family.
As I said, I'm an outsider, looking in. I don't know how Colton McD's compares with its competition. Although the McRib tasted good, If you want a comparison, YOU check it out!