France Thinks Fast Food Joints Don’t Deserve the Name “Restaurant”

"There's nothing wrong with a grill, but it's not the same as a restaurant."

Photo: McDonald's

Photo: McDonald's

France is a country that puts a lot of stock in labels; that’s why it banned the term “hashtag” earlier this year out of concern that it was polluting the language. But this time, French lawmakers are going after restaurants—or rather, establishments that practice “industrial cooking”—since a group of chefs, restaurateurs, and legislators argue that such businesses don’t have the right to share a name with establishments that cook their food on-site.

The country’s National Assembly is currently considering a consumer protection law that would ban businesses that use pre-made meals from calling themselves “restaurants,” restricting the label to locations that prepare their dishes from raw ingredients in their own kitchens. According to supporters, including legendary chef Alain Ducasse, the law will both give diners a better idea of what they’re being served and encourage “industrial” kitchens to make the switch to cooking in-house, leading to thousands of new jobs. Dissenters argue the restriction would be confusing to tourists and result in a loss of jobs at businesses that might hemorrhage customers after losing the ability to advertise themselves as restaurants.

Bizarrely enough, some of the law’s advocates point to the United States as an example—not something that happens often when the French talk fast food. In an interview with Lyon Capitals, union head Didier Chanet claimed, “It is only in France that the word ‘restaurant’ is so overused. In the United States a grill is called a grill. There’s nothing wrong with a grill, but it’s not the same as a restaurant.”

Makes sense, but somehow we don’t quite see Congress telling McDonald’s what to call itself anytime soon.

[via NY Times]

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