David bemoans the lack of choice whilst ‘on the road’
The recent news about Wetherspoons opening a pub at a service station on the M40 got me thinking about my own issues with the food available to motorists. Now the Wetherspoons issue has sparked controversy due to the fact that alcohol will be served at a place that will be mainly frequented by motorists but that doesn’t really bother me. I’d like to think that in today’s society most drivers would be sensible enough to not drink and then get back behind the wheel, or is that naive?
My issue is with the lack of choice or specifically the lack healthy alternatives. In a normal year I probably rack-up around 30,000 miles between work and my own journeys. Many of those miles are on motorways and dual carriageways. This often means I can be found grazing in petrol stations and motorway services up and down the country. Now I can’t moan too much about petrol stations as many have improved over the years. If you’ve been to one of the many BP stations that also incorporates a M&S Food outlet then you’ll know what I mean. My main issue is with the large motorway services. The ones that have the space to incorporate choice but don’t.
Walk into any one of these major service stations and you will most likely find a Starbucks or Costa Coffee, the generic buffet-style hot food counter and a selection of fast-food outlets. Personally I don’t think this is enough. If you want to eat a burger that resembles brown cardboard or chicken that is dripping in grease, then that is fine but what about the rest of us that wouldn’t mind eating something more wholesome.
I think the problem lies in the convince food available in general. Even Subway, who claim to offer a fresh, wholesome baguette, have some of the highest calorie counts of any fast food chain. I’m struggling to think of large food chain that could be installed into our motorways services that could offer fast and easy meals that doesn’t include your daily allowance of salt, sugar or fat in every mouthful.
That being said I recently had a meal at one of the many local Wetherspoons pubs in my hometown of Norwich. Now the food wasn’t gormet and it probably wasn’t high on any list of healthy meals but it did have quite a few things going for it. Firstly and importantly for any meal on the go, it was cheap and arrived quickly. Secondly it tasted good but didn’t leave me feeling like I’d poisoned my body with ‘fake’ or greasy food. Thirdly and lastly there was a good amount of choice. Not just burgers or chicken but curries, fish & chips, pasta meals and so on.
With that thought, maybe there should be more Wetherspoons opening at service stations around the country? Surely in 2014 we are mature enough as a nation not to go drinking whilst we are driving. The few that do, will do it regardless of where the establishment is situated. Maybe the punishment for drink driving should be tougher but that is a whole new argument altogether.