Knowledge@Wharton - Born in the USA, Made in France: How McDonald's
Born in the USA, Made in France: Ho
Land of Michelin Stars
McDonald's Succeeds in the
France-- the land of haute cuisine, fine wine and cheese -- would be the last place you would expect to find a
thriving fast-food market. In a country known for its strong national identity and anti-globalization movement, it
seems improbable that McDonald's could have survived the onslaught of French social and political activism. In
1999, Jos Bov , an agricultural unionist, became a hero to anti-globalization supporters when he and his political
group, Conf d ration Paysanne, bulldozed a McDonald's in Milau, France, to protest against U.S. trade restrictions
on French dairy products. With bullhorn in hand, he declared to the television news cameras: "We attacked this
McDonald's because it is a symbol of multinationals that want to stuff us with junk food and ruin our farmers." In
2004, amid the nutritional controversy sparked by Morgan Spurlock's documentary Supersi e Me, McDonald's was
declared in French media to be the epitome of malb ouffe, or "junk food" and deemed partly to blame for the
nation's rising obesity rate.
And yet McDonald's, the world's largest fast-food corporation, with a global presence in 123 countries across all six
inhabited continents, has turned the home of Le Cordon Bleu cooking academies and the Michelin Guide of worldrenowned restaurants into its second-most profitable market in the world. The chain has more than 1,200
restaurants in France -- all locally owned franchises -- and a growth rate of 30 restaurants per year in the past five
years alone. What is at the heart of this impressive growth that has stunned French observers and surprised
business analysts? The three main reasons for McDonald's success are local responsiveness, rebranding and a
robust corporate ecosystem.
Local Responsi eness
Burger King -- arguably McDonald's largest...