If you have been to a McDonald’s restaurant in both countries, you most likely noticed huge differences.
- Restaurants are decorated nicer, look newer, and are better equipped in France.
- Menus are (much !) more elaborate, with a wider range of ingredients. About thirty burgers, 9 salads, 5 wraps all made with local products such as cheese (goat or Blue cheese, for example) and a variety of vegetables. And on the side, you have your choice between 11 sauces.
- Sodas are not refillable. It is forbidden in France !
You may ask yourself, “why those differences” ?
Well… simply put, because we are in France. As a matter of fact, when McDonald’s established its 1st restaurant in the Hexagon, they quickly understood that they were going to have to adapt to the cultural differences between the 2 countries.
- French people prefer to take time to eat lunch. A meal is a ritual. Americans do not hesitate to eat on the run when needed. As a result, we eat on-site, so the restaurants need to be welcoming and cozy. In the USA, we take to-go food, so there seems to be no need to invest in new premises.
- « Junk Food » and the French, don’t go together. Following the opening of McDonald’s in France, protests happened and the brand suffered. One of the strategic changes implimented to better their image was to use local products, quickly.
- Because we take time to eat, we expect a certain quality. So, a menu with only 3 sandwiches without sweetened filling or coating is not worth the wait. So we often innovate at McDonald’s France. A sandwich with goat cheese, one with a smoky sauce, and salads with a twist.
- Oh and let’s not forget the most important meal of the day. Breakfast : croissants, chocolate croissants, espressos or cappuccino, a piece of pie? Everything is here for a « p’ti déj à la française ». Welcome to McCafé.
Today, McDonald’s is the biggest fast food chain in France. They keep developing and creating new sandwiches. In the United States, despite many attempts at rebranding, Ronald and his restaurants have had a lot of trouble keeping up and keeping things fresh.
Visiting a McDonald’s during your trip to France for the experience (or to see the difference), could not be such a bad idea… even though we still recommend trying a local restaurant a block away instead… Bon appétit !