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Monday, October 5, 2009

Factoid

The number of McDonald's eateries in France is about to reach 1,135.

In 2007, France became McDonald's biggest market outside of the US.

The newest French restaurant addition will open in Paris directly inside of the Louvre.



The French call it McDo (pronounced Mac Dough), and from the track record of Ray Kroc's prior fast food establishments, it will be well-received by the French population, but perhaps not by all.


Years ago a French farmer/activist named José Bové, in a defiant act of culinary terrorism, drove his tractor into a McDonalds under construction near his home town of Millau. It was said to be in protest of U.S. trade policy, but I think he just doesn't care for the sesame seed buns. Bové was sentenced to three months jail, but is now a hero of the organic food and international anti-globalism movements.

Controversy aside, the majority of French seem to love their "McDo" (pronounced Mac Dough), especially the "French Fries" which head sales on the menu.


Ray Kroc enjoying one of his hamburgers (photo on left).

The first McDonald's in France was built in 1979 and is located in Strasbourg's Les Hall shopping center. It's been downhill from there.

Three cheers for the export of American culture! (Now you know one reason why it is difficult for American-born musicians, composers, and artists to be taken seriously abroad).

The good news is that there may be a reversal of this global trend. Word has arrived that Iceland will shed itself of its' McDonald's franchises by the end of the month. Iceland's first McDonald's opened in 1993 in Reykjavik, and it's initial customer was Prime Minister David Oddsson. But the devaluation of the Icelandic Krona and high tariffs has made imports too expensive to be profitable (McDonald's Corporation follows a centralized top-down distribution model). As a result, customers would have to pay 780 Krona - the equivalent of $6.36 - for a Big Mac, nearly double what it cost a year ago.

Iceland will soon be a McDonald's Free Zone.

Although McDonald's currently operates in more than 119 countries on six continents, it has pulled out of seven countries including Barbados and Bolivia.

Some would consider that progress.

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