There are more than 125 large scale national fast food chain restaurants (source: Wikipedia). These range from McDonalds to Buffalo Wild Wings to Bonefish Grill. You should take a look at the list when you have some free time. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fast_food_restaurant_chains). Whether it is a local restaurant in your neighborhood or a national fast food chain, we have all had that experience of going to a restaurant only to complete the meal thinking to ourselves, “This is the last time that I ever eat here!”
Our memories seem to work in mysterious ways. As clear as we can recall some things in life, it appears that the time machine tricks us into thinking that the bad experiences or bad food in restaurants we hated may not have been as awful as we once remembered. Why is that? Surely, when we leave feeling deathly sick for the next three days you’d think the experience would stick with us? Or the ‘miscellaneous stuff’ we found in our food grossed us out so much that we would surely never return to that restaurant. . . until the next time we do it to ourselves.
This past weekend, my kids were playing in a tennis tournament and we asked that dreaded post sporting event question, “Kids, where do you want to eat tonight?” We passed a dozen or so memorable food chains on the way into the tennis tournament and both the kids vehemently responded that they wanted to go to Red Robin.
Red Robin. I couldn’t quite recall the last time we were at Red Robin. Was it a year ago? Five years ago? I’ve got a pretty good memory, but I just couldn’t put my finger on the last time we ate at Red Robin. Did I recall it being horrible last time? No. I couldn’t conjure up an image on why we hadn’t been back sooner. Was a location not near my house? No. Did I wear it out by eating there too many times? No. I asked my wife and all she could say was, “It wasn’t good, but I’ll go.” So, nobody really remembered the cause and effect on why the Jenkin family hadn’t patroned Red Robin in years, so family in tow we hit the scene at 9 p.m. on Saturday night.
It didn’t take long for the Nightmare on Elm Street Part II to start playing out right in front of us. Two of the games were busted in the lobby. There was a bunch of gunk on the floor as we walked toward the table and my shoes did a little slip sliding on the greasy restaurant floor. As we sat down at the table, some indescribable sauces were stuck to the table and the middle flap was bent so we had to shift tables. The bottomless fries came out cold, the sandwiches didn’t taste great, and I couldn’t even get a refill on my tea. Needless to say, within sixty minutes we remembered why Red Robin was off our list of places to go and not to be returned to anytime soon.
I don’t have anything against Red Robin. Heck, you may love it and eat there every week. I’m sure for some people it’s simply the best. My point is if you haven’t been to large casual fast food chain for quite some time, there’s probably a reason. You might not remember why, but the best way to save money when this itch hits you and the memory is cloudy is to just pass the restaurant by and stick to what you like. This could be one of the simplest money saving moves you make. Keep the $80 bucks in your pocket. There’s a reason you said you would never go back!