Sunday, 25 July 2010

A truly Belgian experience!

Belgium has its own chain of fast food restaurants, rather oddly named "Quick".

"Slow" might be more appropriate. "Incompetant and gungy" might be even better, although perhaps simply "Belgian" might give the customer an indication of what to expect.

I visited, for the third (and certainly last) time today their store at 329 Route de Phillippevile, Couillet. Its just outside Charleroi, where the airport is.

It opens at 10am. The first time I visited (at 10:05) a couple of years ago, the staff where all having a smoke in the kitchen, and would not speak to me. After 5 minutes I gave up and left. The second time I visited, I got served but  my fries were cold, and the box contained the wrong burger. Today, The fries were, as expected, cold, and I was told to wait 5 minutes for my burger. After 10 minutes, and after barging past a queue, I eventually got my burger. I didn't enjoy it very much. This is absolutely normal, and the biggest queue of people in any Belgian burger bar is the one of people holding a tray of fries and soft drink, waiting for their burgers

I was stranded in Thionville in France once, because of snow. Leaving my "motel" I tried to find food. I found a Quick. The sign on the door advised me of the opening time,  but 10 minutes later the doors were still locked. They opened 15 minutes after my arrival - 25 minutes after the stated opening time. They were not, however, selling any food at all, and in fact the girl who was taking my order was unable to explain what they did actually have to offer.

Another Belgian burger anecdote: A teenager of my aquaintance ordered some food at a McDonalds outlet, and of course the burger was not ready. "It will be 5 minutes", he was told.

After 10 minutes, and in the Belge tradition, he went in search of his burger, and the following conversation took place...

Teenager "Can I have my burger now, please?"

Staff  "Its not my problem, I didn't take your order. Who did?" 

Teenager "I can't see her"

Staff  "What was her name?"

Teenager "I don't know..." 

Staff  "Then you are stupid, aren't you?"

Teenager "You call me stupid, but its you that ended up working in a burger bar!"

I will end with another Quick story. It was a Sunday afternoon another Quick store in Brussels. Someone had spilled a trail of soft drink across the width of the restaurant. A staff member spent about 10 minutes folding tissues and laying them in a long line along the length of the spill. I wondered why she didn't use the mop standing in a bucket behind the till...

Burger King deserve a mention too, of course!


  1. Burgers and chips Hmmmmmm

    Trillions of calories

    Not good for men of a certain age who also have a penchant for chocolate!

    What about eating some fish instead?

    Enjoy it while you can. With the amount of Cr*p being poured into the seas, soon Tuna and cod will become an endangered species and a nice tuna and mayonnaise sandwich will become a thing of the past.

  2. Brussels is being advertised here in the UK for a short holiday as being 'more than just the City of the European Parliament'.

    Brussels has lots more to offer the tourist, but it is a bit vague as to what it could be.
    Shops, museums and cafes are mentioned, but every city in the world has them.

    What is unique about Brussels?

    Architecture is mentioned briefly; ironically the Parliament Buidling unlike the British Houses of Parliament is not mentioned as being one of the buildings they consider to be of architecturel interest to the tourist.

    Can you imagine the London Tourist Board saying there is more to London than the Houses of Parliament? I don't think. The Houses of Parliament are a magnificent piece of Architecture and definitely have the Wow factor.

    Course, having British controversial, 'foot in mouth' politician Nigel Farage of UKIP calling Belgian 'that odd country' doesn't help.