Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An Unspirational Story

FERNANDOS: An Unspirational Story
(Which may or may not have similarities to the story of a certain Melbourne food chain)

This is Mr Rolando Fernando - leader of a national chain of overcooked chicken stores!

But things were not always this way. Once, a long time ago, Rolando was working as a kitchenhand for Greasy Jakes One Stop Eatery in Essendon.
"Rolando, do this!" one person would shout.
"Rolando, do that!" another would yell.
"Rolando, do something else entirely!" a third would order.
It was all enough to make a young boy turn to crime. But not Rolando! For he had enterprise on his mind!

"If only," mused Rolando to himself, "I could start up a chain of stores, based on our traditional Portuguese recipe of overcooked chicken. Combined with high prices and overspicey sauces, it would be a winner!"

Late one night, after coming home from work, Rolando happened to run into his uncle Tony playing poker with his friends.
"Get out of the room, Rolando!" shouted Tony. "The men are having an important discussion!"
"Uncle!" said Rolando. "There is something I wanted to ask you!"
"Well?" smirked Tony. "What is it?"
"I was hoping to start a business!" said Rolando. "And I was wondering if you could lend me some money?"
"Don't be foolish, boy!" yelled Tony. "Only smart men like myself are allowed to start a business! Foolish boys like you should not even bother!"
"But Uncle!" pleaded Rolando, "I had the best idea! I wanted to start a restaurant chain, using our nonna's recipe for Overcooked Chicken!"
"Stupid boy!" replied Tony. "No one would want to eat that!"
"Aha! But I plan to disguise the Overcooked Chicken with Extremely Spicy sauces!"
"Not good enough!"
"And then," went on Rolando, "I will distract their attention with our High, High prices!"
"Fine words, boy!" snapped Tony. "But there are far too many restaurants in town as it is!"
"That is why," concluded Rolando, "I plan to open up my restaurant in a part of town that doesn't have any restaurants. That way, when people pass by, they will say, 'Oh Well. There's No Where Else To Go'. And they will flock to Fernandos Overcooked Chicken Store in the thousands!"

Tony looked to his mates then back at Rolando. Clearly, they were dealing with one smart cookie here.

One month later, Rolando had gathered all the money together, and opened up his restaurant in an obscure corner of Melbourne, on Gluph Street, which was empty, except for a parking lot at one end and a rubbish dump at the other. Rolando sat quietly behind the counter. His hands shook just a little. Would his crazy concept work?

Things were quiet for an hour. Then along came the Jones family. They were looking for somewhere to eat.
"Hey, there's a restaurant!" shouted Mr. Jones.
"But do we want to go there?" said Mrs Jones. "I heard some members of the mafia set it up."
"I want to go to the chocolate shop!" whined Billy.
"Be quiet, Billy!" snapped his sister Jilly.
"Well," concluded Mr Jones, "There's No Where Else To Go!"
And with that, they entered the store.
Rolando smiled quietly to himself. He knew his restaurant was going to work, after all ...

Over the coming weeks, Fernandos became a bustling hub. It became known all over the city that the "Best Overcooked Chicken Can Be Found At FERNANDOS!"
Rolando - or Mr Fernando, as he had become known - overheard many conversations in his restaurant.
"This burger is not bad!"
"This chicken bad, but it is not terrible!"
"These prices are extremely expensive."
And sometimes, when the people really got grumpy and started to complain, Mr. Fernando would simply say to them with a shrug, "But - there's NO WHERE ELSE TO GO!"
"Oh well," the customer would reply. "He's got us there!"
And go right on eating.

Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. Fernandos Overcooked Chicken Store grew and turned into a chain of Overcooked Chicken Stores, right across the city. It was consistently rated one of the best overcooked chicken stores around in the Melbourne Age and the Herald Sun. As time went by, other restaurants grew up around the store.
But Mr Fernando was not worried! He knew that, although the customers now had other places to go, they would still come to Fernandos. "After all," he reasoned, "We've Always Been Here! And where else could they find the Best Overcooked Chicken in town?"

And he was right. Night after night, customers would walk up and down the street, looking from the French restaurant specialising in chocolate-coated snails, to the Indian cafe specialising in boiled tofu, before settling on Fernandos.
"After all," they would say as they entered the store, "They've Always Been Here."

Mr. Fernando was a happy man. He had a large and happy family of his own, who he one day hoped to hand on his city-wide chain of Overcooked Chicken stores to. And it was all because, one evening, as a kitchenhand, he had had a good idea for a business venture.

One morning, Mr Fernando marched out to the front of his store carrying a large sign which he had had prepared for him the previous day. His wife and children, curious about the sign, followed him out. Proudly, Mr. Fernando nailed the new sign up over the old one: "Fernandos: Because We've Always Been Here!" (And truth be told, it was growing a bit tatty, anyway.)

The new sign read:

At Least We're Not McDonalds!

And it was true, too.


1 comment:

Rachy said...

I remember getting a chicken salad from a similar sounding chicken store once, there were about three pieces of overcooked chicken, two olives, a pinch of grated cheese and a stack of tasteless, watery chunks of tomato all swimming in day-old iceberg lettuce and all for a bargain $12.50. But, having worked at the golden arches for two years, I would take the salad any day... if there was nowhere else open, of course!

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