There are a lot of advantages to living in California’s Central Valley, including its close proximity to natural attractions like Yosemite, King’s Canyon, and Sequoia National Park. The Valley is also home to some of the most prolific farms in the state, providing its residents with easy access to citrus fruits, nuts, avocados, tomatoes, and pitted fruits. In addition to national attractions, there are many lakes and parks at the local level as well.
Compared to other parts of California, the Central Valley has a lower cost of living, but it’s close enough to some big cities like San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Sacramento for those who want to get away for a weekend.
Would you be surprised to learn that the Central Valley is also where some of the nation’s largest fast food chains have chosen to locate their test kitchens? In recent years, Ming Avenue in Bakersfield has become the testing ground for some of the newest fast food successes as well as a lot of near misses.
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A once-thriving Central Valley farm town, is now filled with run-down Dollar Stores, llanterias, carnicerias, and shabby mini-marts that sell one-way bus tickets straight to Tijuana on the Flecha Amarilla line. It’s a place . . .
Almost every kind of fast food chain from local and regional restaurants to national companies have set up shop on Ming Avenue. From Del Taco and Taco Bell to Carl’s Junior, the Wienerschnitzel, and Long John Silvers, the residents of Bakersfield have had many opportunities for a “true fast food test kitchen” experience.
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Bakersfield has become a popular location for test kitchens for a number of reasons. Its size, limited number of locations, and diverse economic and ethnic demographics are a few of the things that make Bakersfield stand out to fast food chains. Furthermore, fast food chains can do fairly market-specific ad campaigns in Bakersfield because the cost to air TV commercials is lower compared to larger metropolitan markets.
Over the years, Bakersfield has developed a reputation as a city that likes fast food. Residents enjoy trying out the newest items at fast food restaurants, and many people enjoy being part of the city’s “test kitchen culture”.
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It’s not just local and regional fast food chains that have found a home for their test kitchens in Bakersfield. McDonald’s came to Bakersfield and other Kern County locations several years ago to launch a variety of new promotions, including self-serve sandwich-customizing kiosks marketed as “Create Your Own Taste” units, new lemonades, Sirloin burgers, and more.
There are a lot of great reasons to move to the Central Valley besides the opportunity to explore the fast food test kitchens in the area. The great weather, cultural diversity, and the low cost of living make the Central Valley a great place to live for a family on a tight budget.
Additionally, the towns in the Central Valley are smaller, with a sense of community that’s often lacking in the more metropolitan areas of the state. The Valley is a great place for newcomers to make new friends and to discover all of the reasons that its lifelong residents love Valley living.