In a TV commercial the chain is currently airing a man orders a number of normally expensive items from a local restaurant. The waiter is accommodating until the man says he wants everything for under ten dollars (or something close to it, I’m not sure about the exact value), at which point the waiter seemingly panics. The thesis of this ad is that while you can get the same menu items from local restaurants, The Golden Corral will undercut their local competitors and give your cheaper food. (I saw this commercial on TV and couldn’t find it online anywhere. If anyone can I’d love to link to it.)
Like many commercials, this one was probably supposed to be funny and like many it also utterly fails in that regard. What’s more problematic however, is that the ad characterizes local restaurants as inept, buffoonish establishments that can’t compete with chains. This attitude brings the march of generic, mediocre food to our doorsteps as it tries to wipe out not only competing corporate restaurants, but local ones as well.
In reality, local restaurants are better than chains in nearly every way. They offer better food and usually competitive prices. (When they’re more expensive it’s usually because they serve better food.) On the other hand, chains like The Golden Corral have banal menus written in office suites. How that is a good thing I’ll never know.
If this recent ad campaign were to completely accomplish its objective, no one would visit local restaurants any more. In turn, local restaurants would go out of business. Money would be siphoned away from local economies and there would be less innovation in the market place. I don’t necessarily think The Golden Corral intended for their ad to be as malicious as it is, but then again not many people who do bad things started off trying to be bad.
The ultimate result of this commercial is that The Golden Corral has cast itself as a corporate bully pushing around smaller businesses. There’s no reason to support that behavior. There’s no reason to endorse a company whose objectives also happen to be destructive to our communities. In the end, there’s no reason to eat at this restaurant.