Fast Food in Ancient Rome? How Did They Do It?

I was reading an account of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii (buried by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius).
The author related how several shop fronts on the main drag were equipped with shleves. These shelves had circular holes in them-the author surmised that these held metal cauldrons. A fire was built underneath, and the cauldrons held soups, stews, and other prepared foods, which were sold to customers for take-out.
In other words, Pompeii had fast food establishments-just like Mickey D’s-2000 years ago.
If these conjectures are true, it means that Rome had reasonably well-paid working class people-who would pay extra for a hot meal. There also would have to be cheap containers (ceramic bowls?) available to carry the food home-have we found evidence of factories making this stuff?
So, was there some Roman entrepreneur (a Roman “Ray Krok”) who made millions serving the Roman working class?
Incidentally, did the dwellings of the Roman poor have kitchens? Or was dining for these people mostly cold food-like bread and cheese?

That’s exactly it–the homes of poor urban people didn’t have kitchens. So they ate food prepared elsewhere. When they got their grain dole, they took it to the baker who would bake it for them in exchange for a portion of the grain.

Maybe they were also BYOB - bring your own bowl.

Prepared food is not the same as fast food. The situation you describe is pretty much the opposite, in which foods could be simmered for long periods of times rather than made fresh and to order within a minute.

The Romans lived in a world opposite to ours in other ways as well. Ground floors were the homes of the rich and well-to-do. They often had their bedrooms on the second floor. They rented out the floors above them. The higher up the room, the smaller and cheaper it got. That’s simply because it meant climbing more stairs and so was less desirable. The poor lived in a warren of rooms on the top floors. They couldn’t all have proper fireplaces and cooking facilities. The rooms were too small and the fire hazards were too large. So the better off you were, the more likely you were to cook for yourself. A large portion of the earnings of the poor went to pay others to cook for them.

Most buildings therefore also had food vendors on the first floor, lining the main street. (The family quarters would be toward a side street.) The vendors sold fresh food and prepared hot foods. People would use their own bowls, pitchers, or other containers to take the food away with them. It would be far too expensive for a vendor to provide them. That didn’t come until mass production techniques of the 20th century.

David Macaulay has a delightful illustrated book called City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction that shows this in detail.

According to Apicius, the ancient Romans had something similar to a hamburger.

I saw this presented on a history show of some sort. Ground meat mixed with pine nuts and put in bread.