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A fresh take on fast food

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The demand for fast food is as great as it has ever been. The pressure of getting that meal out in as little time as possible is all on the employee. I work at Arby's, and as with most other fast food chains, during our rush hour we have a time we have to beat for every order: 150 seconds.

Wendy's sets its bar even higher and gets food out even faster. The time starts as soon as the car pulls up to the reader-board and ends after it pulls away from the last window. Think about it - 150 seconds? For a whole meal? And we don't pre-make any of our sandwiches at Arby's. Still, most fast food chains are able to keep their average under the required time.

Here are some interesting angles on fast food and rankings of the best chains and meals they serve, including some of the most unhealthy items on their menus.

The drive-through craze. We have a Starbucks at the north end of town with a drive-through that went in a couple years ago, and other fast food restaurants across the country, including 7-Elevens, are beginning to add those reader-boards and windows to include drive-through service for their customers.

Outsourcing… McDonald’s? Yes, a Missouri McDonald’s is outsourcing their drive through orders to Colorado. This one caught me a little off-guard at first. Here’s what happens - the call center receives the order and then sends the order information, complete with a picture of the person in the car, to Missouri. The time it takes to get people their food has dropped significantly and efficiency has skyrocketed since this new development. Is this the future of drive-through? What are your thoughts on this? If it gets people their food faster and they are happy with it, I am all for this revolutionary way of doing fast food.

Getting the most ‘bang for your buck’. Here are the top 5 value menu items ranked by Financial Edge. The lists compares the price of ingredients with the price of the sandwich at the fast food joint – I’ll take the food and skip the preparation any day.

Healthy fast food – oxymoron? If you really want to be healthy, you should probably skip out on the cheeseburgers and milkshakes, but here are some fast food meals that are considerably healthier than their competition. Chick-fil-A is a little out of the way if you are just headed to work, but names like Wendy’s and KFC also made the list if you are looking for a couple of healthful lunch options.

For the kids. I don’t eat kids’ meals anymore, not enough food in their for a 6’6” guy like me. And I’m not a parent, so I don’t have to think about buying them for any kids. But for those with little ones, here’s a rundown of the healthiest and least healthy kids meals fast food chains have to offer.

Worst of the worst. Fast food is generally considered unhealthy regardless, but here are the 5 least healthy kids meals out there, some of which are promoted as healthy food alternatives.