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Yesterday, MNB reported that the Zagat Fast Food Survey has been published, and respondents say that In-N-Out Burger makes the best hamburger, Starbucks makes the best coffee, and McDonald’s makes the best French fries.

Panera Bread is said to be the best large chain, Subway the best “mega chain,” Starbucks the best “quick refreshment chain,” and PF Chang the best full service chain.

McDonald’s is said to be the have the best value of all fast feeders.

My comment:

I might quibble with the choice of Panera Bread; I personally think that Chipotle is superior.

And I’d really challenge the PF Chang recognition, since I think its Chinese food is barely edible. But then again, I have had the unique advantage of a father-in-law who knows all the best Chinese restaurants in New York City, and has taken us there…and trust me, they’re nothing like PF Chang.

Almost immediately, the emails started coming in…

MNB user Steve Panza wrote:

I have to agree with you. PF Chang is as authentic Chinese as Taco Bell is authentic Mexican. Unfortunately where I went to college, Taco Bell was the best Mexican around.

MNB user Gerry Baccash wrote:

They’ve got to be kidding with P F Chang! Long waits, mediocre food, exorbitant pricing. Been there once, never again.

But MNB user Tony Moore wrote:

Oh you are a snob!

MNB user Brian Hayes wrote:

Yeah yeah, we get it. There are far more superior Chinese restaurants in your home town. Same can be said of quite a few towns. But to say that the food at PF Chang is "barely edible" is taking hyperbole to new heights. If the majority of the public shared your view, you wouldn't see so many dang PF Chang restaurants and they wouldn't have fared so well in the Zagat survey. Any business that sells inferior product just flat won't survive, so they gotta be doing something right, eh? C'mon Kevin, give 'em some love. Maybe the rest of the world doesn't have the sophisticated palate that runs in the Coupe gene, but the rest of the world sure has made PF Chang one successful restaurant chain.

Here's hoping that every business acquaintance you have dinner with for the next year says, "Let's meet at PF Chang"!

Sorry man, I couldn't resist....

MNB user Michael F. Parker wrote:

Since the Zagat survey was evaluating chains, what Chinese chain restaurants does your father-in-law take you to in New York City. I personally would never accuse PF Chang of really being an authentic Chinese restaurant and concur that there are incredible Chinese restaurants in both San Francisco and New York City but I’m unaware of any Chinese chain restaurants other than fast food types.

I just wish the chains aimed higher, that’s all…as opposed to lowest common denominator Chinese food.

We had a story the other day about how Price Chopper Supermarkets is suing upstate-New York based Giant Food Markets for $20 million, accusing the 12-store chain of stealing its sales circulars for the purpose of undercutting it on price.

To which MNB user David Livingston replied with a one-word email:


I don't want to be accused of being overly harsh here, but this strikes me as a reprehensible response to a serious ethical and legal breach.

I’m sure that Livingston and plenty of other people will say that this is done all the time, that Price Chopper should learn to steal better and more effectively than its competition. That this is just the real world, and Price Chopper should bet used to it.

But that, in my view, is a load of crap. (I’d rather use another word, but the spam filters would probably cause endless problems…)

And to suggest that somehow this is a legitimate way of doing business as usual strikes me as an awful statement of both personal and corporate values.

Shame on you.

KC's View: