Just as marketers scrape bottom in the whole “artisan” trend (official low point: Tostitos Artisan Recipes chips), the fast-food industry is gravitating to a new wholesome sales tool: the white-jacketed chef. Whether it’s Burger King’s new “Chef’s Choice” burger or Domino’s decision to feature Brandon Solano, the pizza chain’s vice-president for marketing and retail innovation, in a chef’s uniform in television ads, there’s a movement underway to convince customers their food is being cooked by someone other than the teenage staff actually slaving away in the kitchen. As a recent article in Advertising Age noted, McDonald’s executive chef Dan Coudreaut is increasingly being made available to talk about new products, while KFC’s “chief chicken officer” was used as a spokesman for the chain’s cook certification program. Just don’t try asking for wine recommendations at the drive-through.
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