Please Deliver Burgers, Sushi, and Sweet Potatoes; Hold the Embalming Fluid

Updates–August 2013:  

This article looks at the possibilities of 3-D printing that could create a steak in the future. It also examines “breathable” supplements and foods—inhalable caffeine is already on the market. 

Two big restaurant delivery websites will provide diners in 500 cities the convenience of ordering from thousands of restaurants with just a few clicks on their computer. 

Speaking of delivery services…

Burgers, Sushi, and Pizza?  Fine. Hold the Anchovies and Embalming Fluid 
So, Burger King will now deliver.  I’d be a bit worried that the creepy-looking, oversized king in their old ads would come to my door, but I can see how this tactic might gain them some business. Nobody wants to peel themselves from the couch while watching The Biggest Loser to go all the way to the nearest fastfood establishment if they can pay two dollars extra to have burgers and fries delivered like room service.

BK might be the first burger company in the United States to deliver, but apparently, similar fastfood chains have been doing so in other countries for years. I can’t say for sure; I’m not much of a burger aficionado. But I do know from first-hand experience that food deliveries in some countries have been way beyond the pizza stage for decades.
Yakiimo–sweet potato–delivery truck.
When we lived in Japan during parts of the 1980s and 90s, a hungry apartment dweller could order just about anything—assuming his sketchy Japanese language skills didn’t let him down: Obento box lunches, teishoku meals of the day from a local noodle shop, sushi and sashimi from the fish master who regularly went to the famous Tokyo fish market. Men in rubber boots and white shop coats would zip around town with a spill-free, shock absorbent carrying device on the back of their 150 cc motorcycles. Service was quick, efficient, and here’s the kicker: no tipping in Japan. Ramen shop owners would even leave the soup bowls and pick them up later. We were spoiled.
Pizza delivery started claiming its share of the turf during that era in Japan, but a few of the truly traditional delivery services were also still making the rounds.  We could hear the single, high-pitched note of the tofu man’s horn as he pushed his cart down our neighborhood streets every afternoon.  And during cold months in Tokyo, the yakiimo—sweet potato—truck would pass by. A recorded chant would blare from a speaker on top of the truck’s cab, and in the bed of the vehicle, a cast iron wood burner would leave a vapor trail of thin white smoke and the aroma of rich, starchy potatoes. The glow from the fire in the back of the truck seemed like a comforting hearth moving through the neighborhood.

Back to the present, and back to the United States. We’ll see if the Burger King delivery gambit works. I doubt if we could call in an order from the Midwest farm where my folks still live. It’s four miles from the nearest town, a metropolis of 511 people.  But now I think of it, the small farming town was way ahead of the game. In the 1970s, we could order a pizza and Fred would bring it out. His wife ran a little pizza joint on Main Street, and Fred was the town funeral director.  I don’t recall that he ever used the hearse for deliveries—just for pick ups. It was fine pizza, and the funeral home has a good reputation, but I don’t think the marketing angle ever caught on. Hard to entice eaters when your company delivers pizza and picks up the deceased.  
By Dan Gogerty  (photo from

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