McDonald's and Fox's Diner
McDonald's and Fox's Diner are two of the restaurants in Lake City, Tennessee. But even though they both sell hamburgers in the same town, they don't have anything else in common. They cater to different types of customers, there is a noticeable difference in service speed, and every facet of doing business is handled differently. Even the atmosphere of these two places is in contrast.
These two restaurants do not compete for the same customers. McDonald's is located just off the interstate, so many of their patrons are not local residents. Another reason is that they are universally known. Fox's is further away from the interstate. Aside from the over-the-road truck drivers who know the area, most of the Diner's customers are local residents. As well as targeting different customers from Fox's Diner, McDonald's also places more emphasis on speed. McDonald's makes job specialization an integral part of their operation. They crank meals out on an assembly line. They use computers to take orders, automatic timers to assist in cooking, and radio headsets to communicate. Even the color scheme used by McDonald's promotes speed. Studies show that loud colors like red and yellow increase customer turnover. With the exception of handling money, tasks are shared by the staff at the diner and there isn't anything high-tech about the operation.
Fox's Diner is a world away from the bland, impersonal McDonald's just a few miles north. It sits on the right side of a two-lane highway leading into town. The Diner serves both as a truck stop and as the restaurant for a small motel next door. The parking lot looks vacant until about five in the morning because it is large enough to accommodate a dozen tractor trailers. Years of use have left potholes and a patchwork of asphalt that resembles a moth-eaten quilt.
The diner itself is a doublewide trailer set high on a five foot, cinderblock foundation. An aluminum awning extends outward about six feet along the front of the building. Underneath the awning, yellow fluorescent lights, which theoretically do not attract bugs, glow at night. They are mounted over a row of metal framed, screened-in windows.