Stemming from my childhood days, the aspect of convenience store and fast food (or even places like TGI Friday's and Applebee's) chains which has been hardest to ignore is undoubtedly the smells I associate with them. Particularly at branches in the US. I'm not talking about the customers (anyway that might be for another topic), rather I'm focusing on the smells emanating from the kitchens/ovens/puzzling cleaning methods that the management/staff/franchisee have control over.
I've traveled quite a bit around the US and the world, though the malodorous qualities of Subway sandwich shops, McDonald's, 7-11s, and Burger Kings, to name just a few, seem exponentially more palpable in the US. In Tokyo, walking into a Lawson, Family Mart or 7-11 is a joy (again, the standards and array of items on offer in Japanese convenience stores is not the crux of this post), Burger Kings in Shenzhen, China (never mind that they look so much less like scenes out of Death Wish movies) and Dunkin' Donuts in Jakarta, Indonesia never extend to their patrons the foul stench of...foul stenches. Heck, the A&W in Banda Aceh, Indonesia was luckily nothing like the A&W which used to be in the Springfield Mall in Virginia. Why is it that when you walk by a Subway, you KNOW it's a Subway? For boulangeries and patisseries, this works in their favor. For a Subway, it's reason enough for me to find another lunch spot.
Shucks, and I've lived in some rather insalubrious places too. But why is it that certain chains in the US don't give much of a hoot about ventilation or the potential effect (albeit small?) the odors have on business?