Fast Food Nation Discussion Questions

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

'Fast Food Nation' examines the history of the fast food industry as well as its impact on society. These questions are designed to stimulate class discussion as your students demonstrate their comprehension of the material.

Fast Food Nation

The novel Fast Food Nation was written by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser. It was originally published in 2001, with a revised edition published in 2012. It explores the history of the fast food industry, how it has changed over the last 50 years, and its impact on our health. Use these discussion questions either during the reading of the book or after the students have completed the novel to confirm your students' understanding of the novel, while allowing them to form opinions based upon their own experiences.

History: How It All Began

  • Who is considered the founding father of fast food? Explain how he started the business and how he maintained success. Does this franchise exist locally? If so, do you like the food? Why or why not?
  • Explain the correlation between fast food industry growth and the automobile invention. Do you believe the fast food industry would have be successful without the automobile industry? Explain.
  • What process did McDonald's create that impacted production in the fast food industry? How has the process been refined in today's time?
  • Discuss how franchising propelled this industry to new heights. Which fast food franchises are in your area? Do you visit fast food restaurants frequently? If so, name the chain and your favorite food.

Criticisms of the Industry

  • The fast food industry was started by small family-owned businesses but is now operated by multi-national corporations. How has this change in ownership impacted the industry?
  • Discuss at least three past processes/systems the author challenges the industry to re-implement. How would these changes impact our health? Are there any political changes that would need to occur? If so, explain in detail.
  • Do you believe the fast food industry should be banned from advertising to children, similar to the tobacco industry? Why or why not?
  • The author suggests the fast food industry has created low cost meals at a 'high cost' to society. Explain in detail.

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