Fast Food Nation

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Fast Food Nation Characters

Eric Schlosser

The author of the book Fast Food Nation, Schlosser is a journalist based in New York City. He attempts to write a book charting how the rise in the fast-food industry in the United… (read full character analysis)

Carl Karcher

The founder of the Carl’s Jr. chain of burger restaurants, Carl Karcher moved to California before World War Two, and based his business around other developing burger stands in the region—all of which were adapting… (read full character analysis)

The McDonalds Brothers

The founder of the first McDonald’s “Speedee Service Restaurant” outside Los Angeles, California, the McDonalds brothers lent their name and expertise to early developments in burger stands. But it was not until Ray Kroc bought… (read full character analysis)

Ray Kroc

The first CEO of what would become the McDonald’s Corporation of franchises, Ray Kroc expanded the company into its current global behemoth—the Golden Arches. The McDonald’s headquarters, in Illinois, has a Ray Kroc Museum… (read full character analysis)

Walt Disney

The founder of the Walt Disney Company, famous for its animated films and its theme parks. Walt Disney was, like Ray Kroc, a corporate visionary who saw the enormous profits company’s might be able… (read full character analysis)
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Elisa Zamot

A worker at a McDonald’s in Colorado’s Front Range, Zamot is high-school-aged, and puts in long hours with little supervision at the store. Although Schlosser describes Zamot’s job as repetitive and difficult, with low pay… (read full character analysis)

Dave Feamster

A former NHL hockey player, and the manager of several Little Caesar’s franchises in the Pueblo, Colorado, area. Dave Feamster is a compassionate boss who tries to help his employees whenever possible, even though he’s… (read full character analysis)


A rancher whom Schlosser befriends on Colorado’s Front Range, Hank is a man Schlosser admires—committed to the land and to his job, fighting as he is against the encroachment of housing developments near his ranching… (read full character analysis)

The Monfort Family

Owners and operates of the meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado, for generations before eventually selling it to a massive agribusiness. The Monfort family, as Schlosser describes, were good but “paternalistic” bosses for their workers—paying sufficiently… (read full character analysis)

David Theno

Hired by Jack in the Box to make food safer after an E. coli outbreak in the 1990s, David Theno advocates a series of small reforms in the meatpacking process and by workers in fast-food… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
J. R. Simplot
Idaho’s richest man, and the founder of the J. R. Simplot Company. Simplot is the “potato king” of Idaho, having developed, among other processes, a method for speedily cutting and freezing french fries—one that was later imitated by all other American potato companies.
Upton Sinclair
A reporter and novelist of the turn of the 19th into the 20th century, Upton Sinclair is most famous for his novel The Jungle. Written in 1906, this novel portrayed the squalid conditions of Chicago meatpacking plants in vivid detail.
A meatpacking employee in Greeley, Kenny has sustained a series of injuries on the job, nearly crippling him at the age of 45, and causing Schlosser to wonder at what cost meatpacking employees must earn a meager living.
Lee Harding
A man who came down with E. coli near Pueblo in 1997. Harding, like many in the US, was infected by tainted ground beef, causing Schlosser to detail exactly why E. coli and other pathogens are so common in the American beef supply.