|A happy French customer gets his Whopper!|
|le Am-Ba-Ga has nothing on you,
steak haché-frites of my youth!
France is McDonald’s second most profitable market after the United States. McDo loves the French right back!
|What’s next? The Moon? Mars?|
|You can’t go very far in l’Hexagone (France)
without bumping into a McDo!
A visit to Mc Do’s website, (and a closer look at their French products) help clarify things. McDonald’s has always succeeded where other foreign corporations have failed (you may remember the Eurodisney debacle in Paris in the early 1990s.) Their success can be summarized in a few words: In-depth knowledge of the local market’s culture, willingness to adapt their products (call it Am-Ba-Ga localization,) kick-ass marketing and lobbying teams.
|McDo’s successful “Come as you are” campaign, featuring the beloved Tintin|
|What Frenchman would not patronize a restaurant
where Gallic heroes Asterix and Obelix are regulars?
Things have not always been easy for McDonald’s in France. Years ago, some of the chain’s restaurants were ransacked by local activists to protest the company that came to symbolize American imperialism and – even worse – la malbouffe, (bad eating, bad food.)
In 1993, the Paris city hall defeated McDo’s plans to open a restaurant on the banks of the Seine river, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. McDo did not give up and later inaugurated a location inside the prestigious Carrousel du Louvre (the mall adjacent to the Louvre museum) in 2009. Cue in major uproar in the media. French intellectuals and the American expat community (for whom not all Am-Ba-Gas are created equal,) were outraged. But when the dust settled, the French public did not really seem to care that much, and shrugged.
|Where are these tacky Golden Arches?
McDo at the Louvre: not as showy as one might expect!
The French are pragmatists. McDo creates jobs and mostly uses locally sourced food. French cattle is grass-fed and hormone-free. This is the meat used to prepare the famous Royal Cheese, of Pulp Fiction fame.
Upon closer inspection, the McDo menu has been designed to appeal to French senses.
|Sandwiches made with French baguette|
|Christmas 2012 selection|
Here is food for thought, certainement.
I would love to know what you think about France’s love story with le Am-Ba-Ga, or her lasting affair with McDo.
When fast-food is concerned, are you Royal Cheese? fancy American Hamburger à la Parisian food truck? Jambon-Beurre, or Croque-Monsieur/salade verte?
Oh, and do check out McDo’s gutsy French commercial for the 2010 Come as you Are campaign, below.
Tutorial for the perfect [French] pronunciation of the word “hamburger:”
Pulp Fiction. The movie. The French and the Royal Cheese:
McDo’s “gay” commercial. Come as you are campaign. France, 2010
1/23/2013 update. Just found this online and had to add it:
Watch a nice American tourist trying to order food for his cranky toddler at the McDo drive-through in France… Oh, la, la… Not that easy, is it?