This week my wife and I went to a local TGIFriday's in Ohio. One of the items we ordered, the Balsamic-Sicilian-bla bla bla Quesadillas, were hard as a rock at the edges and could not even be cut with a steak knife. I complained to the manager and he took the price of the item, $8.99, off our bill. He said that it was probably over-microwaved. I realized that he was right - the fossilized hardness of the tortilla at the edges was the same texture of stuff that I have cooked just short of the ignition point in the microwave.
Ok, so I already knew that most of these mass market feeding troughs mainly serve pre-cooked, frozen crap that is microwaved at the point of serving. My wife was grossed out by the thought of our "restaurant" meal being an expensive version of Stouffer's or Marie Calendar's frozen entrees - I think it was truly news to her. (I was somewhat confused and deluded by Guy Fieri, of all people, endorsing TGIF's last year as though it was authentic through and through. I guess it was *strictly* a royalty decision...)
So, here's my question. Do any major chains actually *prepare* food today? I mean: combining fundamental ingredients and then searing, braising, frying, sauteing, etc. to achieve a desired result.
If not, then there is absolutely no point in eating out at one of these places unless you are on vacation and it's the only place along the interstate for 100 mi.
I put no hope for Chili's, Applebee's, and the minor league players like Damon's. But, you tell me.
But has anyone ever done a reference guide to chain restaurants and their preparation "techniques" that addresses this concern? I bet a dead tree guide would sell like hot cakes.