Thursday, June 25, 2009

France Loves McDo

There goes another myth. And another layer of froggie pride.
In an excerpt from his book France Is McDonald's No. 2 Market? How? for Slate, Mike Steinberger explains how "McDo" conquered France, and made it -- get this -- its second biggest market in the world.

"The quarter-pounded conquest of France was not the result of some fiendish American plot to subvert French food culture," Steinberger writes. 'It was an inside job, and not merely in the sense that the French public was lovin' it - the architects of McDonald's strategy in France were French. For those who thought that "Seeing [McDonald's] on French soil was like finding a peep show at the Vatican:" Que nenni. "The French came to McDonald's and la malbouffe (or fast-food) willingly, and in vast and steadily rising numbers."

As Steinberger notes, McDo France owns its success to astute managers who understood the intricacies of French culture; to local customization, with menu items including macarons and tartiflettes; to low prices meeting a growing underclass that includes students and retirees; and to its support of French farmers, who provide 75% of ingredients. So much for José Bové's Gallic outrage: McDo's fare may be junk to France's foodie culture, but it keeps French agriculture going. And you have to admire the company's smarts.
photo Jack Paris via flickr

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