SmartMoney’s 10 Fast-Food Chain Secrets


OK, so maybe we’ve been ragging on fast-food chains lately. But, as a new SmartMoney roundup reminds us, it’s important to stay suspicious of these ubiquitous cheap-food dispensers. The article lists 10 secrets restaurant chains continue to hide from their patrons. And we’re not talking about beef rations here.

The first revelation shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Fast-food chains best known for calorific burgers and fries have started offering healthy options, like salads and much-ballyhooed apple slices. But the healthy options tend to cost more than the fatty ones. Like, duh. And let’s not forget that if you dress that salad, you could end up with more calories than a cheeseburger.

The list also reveals that while food may be cheap at fast-food chains, investing in them is not. Shareholders in these companies are laughing themselves to the bank (while you cry yourself to the gym). Yum! Brands, which owns Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC, is up some 43 percent this year. It may not last, due to rising food costs, but still.

And that proposed soda tax you’ve heard so much about? Well, guess who is spending millions in lobbying against it. In 2010, restaurants spent $9.3 million lobbying for its various causes, which is three times more than it did in 2005. And with proposed Happy Meal bans also on the table, it looks like that amount will only continue to rise.

Hey, we love a burger clown as much as the next guy. But we also know these guys have more than apple turnovers up their sleeves.