I try really hard not to eat too much fast food, but on certain days of the week when I am running from work to grocery store to home (to drop off the groceries) to meeting to rehearsal; I break down and grab a burger. If I am really weak, I order "fries with that". I long ago learned what a really good fry tastes like...and if I order them, my deal with myself is this: If they don't taste excellent enough to risk losing 5 minutes of my life, I just won't eat them.
I used to work fast food. That is how I earned my spending money in college - I night managed a place famous for it's specialty drinks that, unlike many of its counterparts, had a grill and deep frier. I also had a boss who was very particular about his french fries.
To make a good fry:
1) Do NOT use old grease. Even STRAINED old grease. The fries will get too brown before they are done cooking and people will complain that their fries are "burned". Of course they will complain when their fries are perfect looking but not completely cooked; but if they are using a drive through, they are usually long gone when they figure this out, so what the heck.
2) Get your grease HOT enough - otherwise the fries will be soggy and greasy beyond belief.
3) DO NOT put fries and fish into the same oil. JUST DON'T.
4) Cook the fries LONG enough. It takes around 5 minutes to cook a shoestring fry if you are using new grease that is the proper temperature...cutting down on the time to increase the volume of fries produced and served will not do anything for customer satisfaction.
To conclude: A Perfect Fry - one that makes me willing to take the risk of early death - is light golden brown. Perfectly crisp on the outside and hot and soft of the inside, it stays hot until the end of the meal and tastes ONLY like potato without a hint of grease and with just a hint of sea or seasoned salt. Anything else just goes into the trash.
The fast food chain at which I "dined" last night - the same one that has been advertising their "new tastier fries" - completely missed the boat. The "new tasty fries" were wrong on all counts - greasy, soggy, undercooked and within a minute, cold as well - all but two of them are now in the trash...