Has the Restaurant Industry Gone Too Far?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This past Wednesday In-N-Out Burgers, a California based fast food chain, expanded its operation in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, one already saturated with restaurants galore.

When In-N-Out Burgers opened their doors in Allen and Frisco last week, it was reported that the line to get into the restaurants wrapped around the buildings and onto the adjacent roads leaving patrons to wait as long as three hours to get a burger. I understand that this more of an isolated situation, but three hours in line for a burger? Where do you draw the line?

And if you were looking for a burger with a little more substance, just head on down to the West End in Dallas where you can imbibe in a burger that boasts a whooping 8,000 calories, equivalent to four days worth of calories for me and that is if I expend 3000 calories that week via exercise. However, I will add that the burger is served by a waitress donned in white nurse's uniform, complete with cap. The name of the restaurant--The Heart Attack Grill. And if the size of the burger doesn't entice you to walk through the doors, as a bonus those patrons who weigh over 350 pounds get to eat for free.

I am all for the free enterprise system, after all these restaurants employee thousands of people that both work inside and outside the stores. I also believe that we do have a choice as to whether we visit these establishments or not. But I just wonder why anyone would spend the better part of his or her day waiting in line for a burger and fries, especially with such names as the Double Bypass Burger and Flatliner Fries.

One of the most common complaints I hear from people when it comes to exercise is the lack of time in their schedule. However, I do wonder how these people had the time to sit in a line for the length of time that it would take for me to run a half-marathon, eat a little something, shower and then take on my day. Could it be we can find or make time for those things we deem important?

This scenario led to a discussion in my kettlebells class as to how modern day conveniences have actually taken away the ability to burn those few extra calories doing just ordinary activities. Everything from remote controls, to garage door openers, to drive-thru banks, pharmacies and dry cleaners, we really don't have to do too much walking to enjoy life. While I understand not everyone has time to devote one to two hours a day for formal exercise, unfortunately the modern conveniences have made getting in just small doses of active daily living a tad more challenging.

Just by burning an extra 50 calories a day by integrating more activity into your life in just 70 short days you could lose 1 pound. This far outweighs spending three hours waiting for a burger and fries that will be consumed in less than 30 minutes and could easily push me over the top.

How long would you be willing to wait in line for food? What do you think about naming a restaurant The Heart Attack Grill especially when heart disease ranks as the number cause of death? What about serving those who weigh over 350 pounds a free meal?

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Pathetic! The owners of such restaurants are actually cruel and uncaring to even make such a horrific item available for the "try anything" crowd. There should be a three-day waiting period, like there is for the purchase of other lethal items! That 8000 calorie thing...it's a whole week's worth of food for me.

The whole waiting line should jog around the block in formation the whole time they're waiting... :-)

Yuck Report
Like others have said...I won't wait in line for a good meal at a good resturant let alone a hamburger. Also the grill...I wouldn't eat anything with those types of names. Even if you can talk yourself out of something being bad for you....you can't with names like that. Report
This article is completely and utterly judgemental. Why, as a society, is it acceptable to judge people based on what they CHOOSE to eat. I think the writer's time would be better spent educating people on why to make healthier choices and motivating them to do so rather than ridiculing.

Eductating yourself may be the first step to realizing that not everyone can "run a half-marathon" and 8,000 calories for four days worth of meals less 3,000 burned off in exercise would be about 1,250 calories per day if my math is correct. If you consider most of the people you are ridiculing in your article probably consume at least 2x that many calories per day, I don't think you are really comparing apples to apples.
We get it...you are skinny and athletic...yay for you!

Overall, this article is full of ridicule and judgemental arrogance.
Not exactly the tone I would expect from an article on spark people. Report
This article has nothing to do with McDonald's, yet you put up a picture of a big mac and what is clearly McDonald's fries.
Don't they get enough criticism already?
The Heart Attack Grill closed down several weeks ago.
I will not wait three hours for a fast food hamburger even though I used to eat In-N-Out burgers as a little girl in California. Once the hype dies down here in Frisco, then I'll get it for my husband and son to try. I've come to prefer Whataburger myself. Report
3 hour wait never in this life time.. I am looking for local and support decent food joints.. I hope EU finds more ways to smack large food companies with so much tax they never dreamed about.. Report
I was appauled when I read about these restaurants, their burgers and the promotion of them!

I agree with your somments about modern conveniences. I am amazed how many people have suggested that I use my snow blower more often or that I invest in a riding lawn mower to mow my 5 lots. I simply tell them that I enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor and am thrilled at the calories I burn doing these activities. Prior to SP, I probably would have never made that comment. Report
It is strange what most Americans think of as "priority." I get impatient just waiting 5 minutes in line for coffee! The most "crazy" I will get with a burger is the mcdouble cheeseburger at mcdonald's, like once every three months or so. I think the name of the restaurant will keep me away for the most part, lol. Unless I was sharing a burger with five of my closest friends. Report
I will use one word: DISGUSTING Report
How long would i wait in line for food? About an hour....BUT only for Healthy Food!! NEVER ever for Burgers!
About The Heart Attack Grill? That is so sad..and i am also disgusted!! Report
I think the bit about the Heart Attack Grill is appalling. Free food if you're unhealthy to begin with? Encouraging people to their demise? I feel it is really sad that there are places encouraging over-eating and unhealthy lifestyles so blatantly... although, I suppose many restaurants encourage it in a back-handed kind of way, with the portion sizes and whatnot. It's just gross to encourage it in that way.

Also, I think a lot of the 3-hour line for In-N-Out Burger was just hype. Something similar happened when a Sonic opened up in the Northeast. There was traffic down this main road to wait to get into Sonic when it first opened up because there had been so much hype about it, people just wanted to see what it was all about. There were advertisements for the place for YEARS but the closest to our area was a 10-hour drive away. While it may have been about the food for some people, I went to see what it was all about - not so much for the food. Report
The food in the article sounds so sick no way I would stand in line for high fat food that long . If any one has had heart problems they would change their minds. I just watched DR Oz the other day he had a 700 LB person he had been tiring to help loose weight. but she hadn't done things like she should of sooo he took her on a surprise trip to the morgue and show her the inside of a heavy person only 100 LB over weight I believe it scared her straight to start losing her extra LBS.

Having Heart disease is a terrible thing to have having a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill should be banned. It seems the public health dept could educate the owners what the are doing fixing that food . They will not think it is a cute name if they end up with heart problems. and to give a obsess person free food because they are over weight is just making fun of them . Report
I think it is "nutz" that they would offer free meals to people who weigh more than 350. Are they waiting to see if the person has a heart attack at their establishment? Is it a sick entertainment factor to see someone who weighs that much eat a heart attack hamburger? I would not wait in line 20 minutes for a meal, let alone a heart attack meal. That is such a sick philosophy. As for In & Out, it is pretty good, but I make better burgers at home. Report
I saw a news segment on the Heart Attack Grill, and the man who was the spokesman for the restaurant died at the age of 29 from flu-related complications that he would not have suffered had he not been 575 pounds.


What a shame. Report
I think In-N-Out is HIGHLY overrated. When we got the first one here in Utah, I waited for a couple of months to go there due to the crowds. When I did, I was impressed with the employees, but not so much the food. I much prefer Tahoe Burger in Reno, NV. Report
I don't think it is fair to compare In-n-out with Heart Attack Cafe. Yes the hype for both seems a bit over the top, but the food could not be more different. I live in Southern California and I buy In-n-out for my family all the time. If you were to purchase a regular cheese burger or hamburger with out mayo at In-n-out, you would have a pretty reasonable meal, plus if you order from the secret menu, you can have it wrapped in lettuce and skip the bun. In-n-out is known for their fresh food. Nothing is frozen and you can actually watch the fries being cut from a potato right before they are fried. As a mother, I like that the food is not over processed. Everything in moderation of course and it is not something that needs to eaten on a daily basis, but as a treat, In-n-out is where my family goes. Report
Wow! Processing the info on the Heart Attack grill is difficult! Why would they reward people (by giving them a free burger) for weighing over 350 lbs! That's sending the wrong message! Report
I think that naming the restaurant Heart Attack Grill was a stroke (pardon the pun) of genius and one up for consumers. It fully informs the consumer of the risks. For that reason only I give this restaurant a gold star for truth in advertising. Report
I forgot to mention...I thought the tobacco industry was the one killing off its consumers? Free food to 350 and up? What? Report
This is just creepy and gross. The title caught my attention because I am a restaurant owner. Have restaurants gone too far? Absolutely, but so have consumers. I serve the best possible food I can and make everything from scratch including our soups. I make sure that the chicken, beef and vegetable base I use is msg free and pay more for it then the regular stuff but I genuinely care about what goes into the food I cook. I'd love to go a step further and not offer anything with artificial sweetener too. I think aspartame is one of the worst things ever but what do you think would happen to my business if I stopped offering diet soda? Or soda all together for that matter. I mean marketing your restaurant as a place to get an 8000 calorie burger is terrible on many levels but isn't ordering one just as bad? Report
I live in NorCal too and I just don't see what all the fuss is over a restaurant chain hamburger, much less waiting several hours in line for food. There are plenty of better restaurants that serve burgers of yummier and less greasy quality to go, and plenty of restaurants that cater to a healthier palate, at that. I'd rather eat better quality than at In-And-Out. Report
I live in Nor Cal where we have tons of in n outs and yes they are super yummy. What I like about them is that they actually do use fresh ingredients, make their own buns and cut the potatoes for the fries ( you can see them cutting the potatoes every 15 minutes or so). If you must have fast food, In N Out is your best option. I have seen The Heartattack grill on the food network before and thought it was pretty funny. I don't have a problem with the restaurant, I have a problem with the obese customers who frequent the place! If there wasn't a demand for that kind of garbage, they wouldn't stay in business. That is the truly sad part... Report
At least they were burning some calories by STANDING in line for a while waiting for those killer burgers. It's sad what we are doing to ourselves. Fast food is going to be the death of us! Have you seen the Sonic commercials for their new hotdogs? I had to have one. A couple weeks ago, I saved up my calories all day, because I had found on-line that they were about 450 calories. It was delicious, I have to admit. I could have easily eaten two of them. The advertisements entice us, the people in that industry know what they are doing! I like the way the U.S. seems to be trending however. Since I started my get healthy campaign, I have found so many new products being offered that have fewer calories and are healthier, both in the grocery stores and out at the restaurants. Michelle Obama is working hard to get our children's thinking turned around, now we just have to work on the adults. But this Heart Attack Grill seems to be a move in the wrong direction! Report
I wouldn't stand in line for any kind of food... or for much else, when it comes to that. It's no wonder we are becoming fatter and fatter as a nation (I live in Canada, but I think North Americans in general are becoming heavier). We are also lazy. It's much easier to plunk yourself down in front of the tv than it is to get out and walk around a couple of blocks. It's a major problem, and one that we need to work together to solve. SparkPeople is a great program, and I try to tell everyone I can about it... but so far not one person I've talk to has actually started the program seriously... a day or two at the most... and most won't even do that. Report
That is absolutely disgusting! Yes...entirely too far! Report
When it comes to food it is, "to each their own". We all make our own choices. Personally, I would never wait in line for hours, my time is too precious. Reminds me of a local Krispy Kreme grand opening when the chain was in its heyday. You would have thought they were passing out $100 bills. Report
Honestly I don't have as much of a problem with the places like Heart Attack Grill that put it out there - calories etc. I do have a much bigger problem with McDonalds with their "healthy" food that isn't, Wendy's with their "natural cut" fries that are sprayed with some creepy chemicals, etc. At least with HA Grill it's a personal choice - not that it's a good one, but at least there is some personal accountability.

I was in China when McDonald's came there, and it was crazy - it's super expensive for the average person, so parents save and save so their kids can go. The lines are outrageously long, and it's become a status symbol to go! Way for a country to quickly reverse every healthy act they have.

I won't wait in line pretty much for anything, especially fast food. Report
I'm not interested in waiting any longer than one half an hour, for a full course meal, in a good restaurant, never mind a burger. Why should an over weight person get a free meal??? Report
I would never wait 3 hours for a burger, of all things. and if I were hungry, I would have left the line after 15 minute. People have mixed up priorities these days Report
I agree with FIT-AGAIN... moderation. I wouldn't wait 3 hours anywhere. But I eat out only a few times a year, and I am likely to have something I don't fix at home... possibly a big juicy burger.(I had my last one in December on a Girls' Night Out, and I still recall my enjoyment!) I woudn't eat at one of the places mentioned every day or every week. There are no In-N-Out Burgers in Ohio but I've heard of them and thought it'd be neat to try sometime, just for the experience. Sonic finally came here, and I am curious about their burgers.

I think FOR_EVER_UPHILL had some great points in her comment. Years ago, my fiance and I used to eat at a place featured on the Food Channel for its humongous burger. (I think one promotion was that your meal was free if you could eat 2 of them.) We never ordered it, but it was a fun, cool place with a variety of food choices. Going to this restaurant was a rare treat and we always had a fabuilous time & enjoyable meal.

These places aren't healthful eating, but they aren't trying to be that. Let's encourage moderation. I don't see a problem with an occasional splurge. If someone feels addicted and prefers to stay away completely, fine, I'm happy for them. To each his or her own.
There's a good reason this country is having an obesity crisis! How sad. Report
The long wait in line at a grand opening of a particular location is probably an isolated incident, as you point out yourself. It doesn't come across as helpful or kind to go on to talk about how YOU could have run a half-marathon in that amount of time. You could have easily chosen to instead just say that if people can find 3 hours in one day to wait in line for a burger they probably could have gotten in a few minutes days later, they can probably carve out at least an hour or two in a given week to get some healthy physical activity.

This kind of post actually encourages, rather than discourages, the phenomena of people and companies going to the other extreme. Report
Don't get me wrong, I love McDonalds (maybe once a month), but this deeply saddens me. To each their own I guess. Report
When I have a burger a couple of times a year I head to In & Out but I'd never wait three hours for it! I saw the Heart Attack Grill on the food channel last year........I can't imagine ordering an 8000 calorie burger. YIKES Report
Hey if the burger is good why not?
and hmm 3000 - 8,000 calories
i would do like in the skinny girl rules
by bethany frankle i would eat a coupl of bites
and move on with my life. I would go to the gym
as well. Report
I have never been in the In-n-out burger place, and never will. I am turned off by the sound of it. Plus I have only had 1 burger in the last 5 years. Can't imagine waiting 3 hours for food. If it was THAT good, maybe, but come on, it is a BURGER!

As for THE HEART ATTACK GRILL....that is even more insane. We are growing bigger all the time, as one can see in plane sight on Biggest Loser! Good heavens, who would want to eat at a place with such a name? Now that CALORIES have to be listed, wonder if that would make any difference?!

But to feed people who come in weighing over 350, FREE, they should be SUED!!!!! I mean if liquor stores can be sued for a death caused by a drunk driver who bought liquor in their store, then restaurants like this should be sued too!
You know I used to complain, I had no time for exercise, however, you can find the time to do anything, if you really want to!
Well, still love my remotes....but while watching TV, I walk in place during commercials!!! Report
Well, I guess it would be ridiculous - but hey, when it's In-N-Out, perfectly understandable to wait in line for 3 hrs for grand opening - in fact, it's typical to wait 20-30 min for service during busy hours at busy In-N-Out locations and sometimes longer - so for grand opening for the first location outside 'home territory'? Well, let's just say I probably would have been in that line myself if I was in the area, even tho I rarely eat at In-N-Out any more and when it does happen, I plan very carefully for the splurge.

But places like Heart Attack Grill or Hash House A-Go-Go - yuck!! Report
I wouldn't blame the restaurants as much as the consumers. We've allowed ourselves to lose all discipline and we are becoming just like the people in Wall-E! We, as consumers, have to draw the line or it'll continue down this road. That crap is sold as food because we are willing to pay for it and eat it so of course they'll continue making it just to make a buck. Report
Free enterprise is one reason that America and Canada are great countries to live in. That said, I recommend higher consumption tax on these foods and other activities to discourage both the frequency and volume of sales. The added revenue above and beyond healthy fare can be used to subsidize the taxpayer in some ratio related to the added expected costs that is likely to be born by us. This may be greater in Canada where our health care costs are paid based on earnings and not usage. This type of tax may result in healthier choices by consumers and vendors Report
It's really not just about the food, it's about the experience. Also, if you knew anything about In-and-Out you would know that it has a cult following and was only available in California, Nevada, and Arizona. For the grand opening it is understandable that people would wait 3 hours in line.

As for the Heart Attack Grill, it's a theme restaurant, people go there to have fun. There are plenty of chain restaurants that have meals over 1000 calories or even higher. So why aren't you putting their heads on a stick? Report
wow, unbelievable! I can't image waiting 3 hours for any kind of food, and I LOVE food! Report
this resturant was featured about 2 years ago on the travel channels show fantastic places to eat..burger edition. Report
People like to do things like go to a place named "Heart Attack Grill" because it's "perverse" or "rebellious". I'll claim to have this same urge--if I hear too many preachy voices on a topic, I want to push back now and again.

I eat well and healthy and love it, run a lot and love it. But, I get the urge to just "be bad". And for the 350 pound folk who get a free meal... well, before they lose the weight, it's kind of nice that somebody's being kind for once. That's the restaurant's schtick, and I'm thinking the schtick wouldn't work as well if we fit n healthy folks didn't ever, ever come off as holier-than-thou and preachy. Report
Everyone has the right to make a decision on what they do/don't put in their body. Don't blame the restaurant. Report
I'm just thankful that I no longer qualify for the free meal at The Heart Attack Grill. Report
"Could it be we can find or make time for those things we deem important?" You bet! That's human nature... Sadly, the effort and time required to achieve fitness and health, doesn't appear to be on a lot of people's list of important "things-to-do." Report
I can believe that this is happening in America, but it still disgusts me. I feel that everyone is just trying to outdo each other with high calorie and fat meals. Would that 8,000 calorie burger make news if it were a yummy 300 calorie burger made in my kitchen with turkey meat.... No it wouldn't. Same thing for the name of the restaurant, they want to make news. I am sure the owner loves hearing that people are appalled at the name. As far as the wait goes, I have a hard time waiting for 20 minutes for a table, let alone 3 hours. I would never wait that long. I feel really bad for anyone who can eat for free at that place, I think they are just waiting for a lawsuit though. I have seen enough tv to know that if someone does have a heart attack their family may sue the restaurant because they feed them these meals. And if i were that judge the family would sooo win!!! Report
I think they are leaving themselves wide open for multiple lawsuits, when people actually start having heart attacks from eating their food. Report
This is awful. But people have to make the choice to eat the food. I think it's probably no worse than going to a buffet and eating until you want to puke. If we don't patronize these places they will go out of business. Report
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