Tag Archives: breakfast

Striking at McDonald’s

31 Aug


My husband and I went to our favorite breakfast place, the Broken Egg Bistro in Chesapeake, Virginia, after our Weight Watchers weigh-in today.

As we thought about our lifestyle as Americans in 2013, we remarked on the fact that our breakfasts at Broken Egg, $7.99 for my French toast, hash browns, and bacon, and $8.99 for his skillet, were about the same price as we would pay at McDonalds, except at McD’s you pick up your own food at the counter and don’t leave a tip!!!

Obviously our breakfasts tasted much better at this most popular mom-and-pop’s breakfast spot in Hampton Roads than they would have at McD’s, with its prepared, prepackaged everything.

So where is the incentive to go to McD’s? The food is no faster there. We were in and out of Broken Egg in half an hour.

Why go to McD’s? To avoid paying a tip?

I think that the strikes of fast food workers in New York City this week taught us a valuable lesson. In order to keep the prices where they are at McD’s (and not raise them higher than mom-and-pop places serving fresh food), they have to pay minimum wage. Meaning less than $10 an hour, which is less than $400 for fulltime work.

No one can live on that, but no one was meant to live on that. It was meant to be entry level work.

If McD’s decides to accommodate the strikers, their options appear to be to either raise wages to $15 an hour, in which case their prices will rise much, much higher, or they could convert to traditional restaurants with waiters and waitresses who work for a lower wage plus tips.

No one is pointing out that that could be the unintended outcome of these strikes. They may bring an end to the fast food industry as we have known it since the 1950’s (McD’s is nearly as old as I am).

But the world is full of unintended consequences these days. As businesses are required to provide health care for fulltime employees, many are cutting everyone back to part time status, too.

It is quickly becoming a world where a person can work 25 hours a week at Burger King, go across the street and work 25 hours a week at McD’s, and still not earn a living . . .

God help us! We surely do need jobs on which young families can live, but I am not sure that just demanding them is going to solve any more problems than it creates . . .


On the Road Again: Best Breakfast Ever in Italy

22 Nov

When we lived in Stuttgart, Germany, our favorite place to go on vacation was Italy.  We went there twice; I had been there twice as a young junior officer before I ever met Noel.

It was summer of 1990, when it was getting so hot that most Italians would flee the cities.  We went on a bus tour from Germany to Italy.  The way it worked was the bus would pick up Americans at various bases throughout Germany as it made its way to the border of Austria; then on it went through Austria and into Italy for a week of fun.

The bus picked us up about 10:00 at night, so we could ride all night and awaken in Italy.  This particular tour would include Pisa, Florence (Firenze), Rome, and Venice.  I had never been to Rome or Venice prior to this.

After a long night of sleeping fitfully on the bus as we bounced along the road, we arrived in a small Italian village just as a coffeeshop was starting to serve breakfast.  But what a coffeeshop!

It was actually chilly despite being July so we must have still been up in the Alps a ways.  I can’t recall.

As we got off the bus, wiping the sleep from our eyes, the door of the coffeeshop opened and treated us to the best scent I have ever smelled in my life.  Espresso and cappuccinos mingled with fresh baked pastries and bread rolls to serenade our nostrils.  Our hungry tummies followed the cues, rumbling in exactly the right key and time signature.

Oooolala, breakfast was extra special that day!!!

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