McDonalds and others in Europe

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Dining' started by sfo1, Jan 3, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    I can not for the life of me understand why Europeans would eat at any of the fast food chains from America. McDonalds, Burger King, Subway KFC or for that matter Chili's TGIF etc. The Europeans have such good food, nice sandwiches, well prepared meals for the purchasing. I can see going to one of the above fast food places if one had never experienced it, but I would think once is enough, how anyone could go back and eat that garbage is beyond me. Also Starbucks, the Europeans have such good coffee and yet there are people sitting at Starbucks drinking their coffee, one can only hope that they are North Americans, and not Europeans, I would expect Europeans would have better taste than that, but I guess I am probably wrong about that. Having travelled alot in Europe and here at the moment, there is only one good thing that I miss and that is good Barbque as only can be had in places like Kansas City, or Memphis, or Texas, pretty much the rest of American food, pretty much deserves to be served in soup kitchens. Rant finished:rolleyes:
     
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  2. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    The fact is that American fast food is carefully engineered (and I use that word in the clinical sense) to appeal to people. I'm not especially fond of it, and I agree with the OP about the negative effect that it has on local food cultures (although that is an inevitable side effect of the ease-of-travel that we all enjoy).

    Nonetheless, I find it hard to believe that there are people who really dislike the taste of fast food (as opposed to the idea of it). I suppose there are people whose tastes are sufficiently elevated that they are not subject to the same cravings for fat, salt, and sugar that most of us experience at least subliminally, but there can't be many such people. The people charged with making that food desirable to the human palate know exactly what they're doing.

    I rarely visit (American chain) fast food places at home and never overseas, but I did once have the experience of waiting outside a McDonald's in Vienna while an acquaintance (Canadian) got his fix (there was a wurstel stand in the pedestrian street right outside). With the exception of my friend, everyone other person that I could separate into local / non-local who entered was, in fact, local.
     
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  3. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I agree... fast food is (relatively) cheap, fast and engineered to be appealing, as obvious by the fact that restaurants keep opening and people keep visiting them.

    I remember reading somewhere that one of the main reasons why McDonald's became successful was because people wanted a sort of consistency to their food when they were traveling, so regardless of where you were, you could find "comfort" food that you were familiar with.

    I experienced the issue myself first hand in Antwerp when I ordered a salad and a smoothie at a restaurant a few years back. Salad was supposed to be chicken Caesar but it had potatoes and some kind of other "unexpected" stuff in it, and the smoothie was definitely a different experience to what I was used to. I don't mind trying new stuff, but I can see where the "value" of being able to walk into a McD's and order a Big Mac and a shake and know exactly what I'm getting.
     
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  4. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    Well I guess we are talking about the masses, the general population, but if a McDonalds or a wurst stand were next to each other I know which one I would pick. I went into a KFC in Warsaw once, the place was packed. Took one bite of the crispy chicken sandwich I had ordered and through it in the garbage. Same in Macau, did go into a McDonalds, one bite and in the garbage it went. Now saying all this if I had to pick a favorite fast food chain it would be A&W. Again I just don't understand why locals not living in the USA think these places are so great that they keep coming back. I can understand Americans travelling abroad and going into one, as most have no adventure and will only stick to the "known quanity"
     
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  5. jbcarioca
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    Mrs. JBC and I ate at a McDonalds in Caceres, Spain on New Years eve. It was the only thing open then. It was also packed with Spaniards loudly resenting the absence fo any other options. Everything else, including tapas bars, were closed until 9-10PM in order to open for the night festivities.

    That is the first time I have been in a McDonalds for a long time. I hope it will be my last such experience.
     
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  6. sfo1
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    I will say a little prayer for you that you will never have to eat in one again.:D
     
  7. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Engineered to be appealing and cheap, and well-marketed.
    I expect you're right that most people can find something that tastes acceptable at a given fast food place. There's also the immediacy of service (and satisfying those cravings). In the presence of other, better fast-service food the success of American fast food annoys and sometimes baffles me.

    The frequent lack of other quick options is really annoying, as much, much better (and tastier) food can often be made at generally competitive prices, and in similar delivery timeframe.
     
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  8. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    And don't forget the "Walmart effect" -- McDonald's and other giant multinational fast food chains have buckets and buckets of money to spend, and as such they can easily afford the premium locations that are otherwise impossible for some better/tastier/healthier options to afford. I know most fast food locations around tourist attractions in NYC easily command six and seven figure rents every month, which is pretty impossible to afford for something like a local tapas place, unless they could churn through customers at the same rate.

    So it's the chicken and the egg thing... they can afford the rents so they get the prime locations, and because of the lack of (clear) immediate options, the tourists will flock to them rather than walk the extra couple of blocks to go somewhere else/better. The fast food place makes more money this way, rinse and repeat.
     
  9. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Don't forget that sometimes it's not necessarily the lack of a sense of adventure, rather than the possibility exists that indulging into this "adventure" might leave you with bad consequences at the worst possible time... :)

    While I haven't personally had any issues, I have a few friends that have decided to give the local fare a try while on the road, and end up sick -- including one that spent a TATL back home to JFK in the head. Other people figure "if I'm going to eat fast food crap, it might as well be crap that I know" -- because nothing sucks more than being hungry and on the move and having to eat something, only to find out that you ordered the wrong thing or you don't like what you got... then you're pissed, out a few bucks, plus you're still hungry to top it off. :)
     
  10. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    To be completely fair, a lot of things suck worse than that. ;) I would guess that the OP believes that showing up in, for instance, Florence, and being confronted with a McDonalds is one of those things.
     
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  11. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Not to harp on a point, but it's not so much a matter of that food tasting acceptable as the fact that it tastes really good. Or perhaps addictive is the bettter word. I'm eating a chili masala dosa for lunch right now and I haven't been in a McDonalds for months but even the thought of a Big Mac makes my mouth water.

    I wish it weren't that way, but it is. If you want to understand the reach and appeal of manufactured food you need to recognize the fact that it is, on a very basic level, extremely appealing even while we may also find it quite appalling.
     
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  12. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    That's probably so, but at the end of the day that's the reality of a global economy. Multinationals will get their foot in the door whenever they can, and if the local government doesn't set restrictions say on whether Starbucks can open a location on every block, then the unfortunate reality is that when you travel a lot of the food choices are going to look the same.

    And I agree that it sucks to actually "scar" some of the beautiful international locations with some of the "westernized" fast food chains or stores, but as long as it's financially feasible for these companies to do so, they will continue with the trend.

    Unfortunately it's one of those things where it's the traveler's fault... as long as the tourists continue to flock to McDonald's or KFC when they're on vacation, they will continue to open locations near tourist destinations.
     
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  13. sfo1
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    You hit it right on the head. At the moment I am in old town in Nurnberg, and right across from the Hauptmarkt is, you guess it a McDonalds, what a blight.
     
  14. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Maybe I'm one of those special people, but even though convenience puts me at fast food places far more frequently than I'd like, I'm not nearly that infatuated with the food they produce. For the most part it's acceptable, rather than super appealing. There are better-tasting, more appealing options to satisfy the salt/fat/sweet cravings you cite, but none nearly as ubiquitous as the fast food giants.
     
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  15. MLW20
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    Interesting view but I can't really agree with you. I rarely ever eat fast food at home (Brooklyn, NY) but I do find McDonalds around the world to be very interesting. When traveling, I always have to try McDonalds in the country I am visiting. I love seeing what country specific items are on the menu. There also comes a point when traveling that you want something familiar.
    In regards to McDonalds- the free WiFi is also a great reason to visit.
     
  16. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Anybody that goes into a McDonalds when you have a Wurstel Stand at the same location deserves to get the full Medieval treatment. Im thinking impalement is in order.

    :mad: :mad: :mad:
     
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  17. TAHKUCT
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    TAHKUCT Gold Member

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    I thought it might be interesting, but SMD3 official part in MUC started in front of the McDonald's. They wanted to show us that it is a very popular joint in Germany and serves very good coffee. I do not believe any of us actually visited that McDonald's even for a coffee.:D

    [​IMG]
     
  18. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    McDonalds and free wifi your absolutely correct, but you don't have to eat the disgusting food to get, buy a coffee or an ice cream.
     
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  19. JohnnieD
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    100% Correct! If we are travelling and cant find coffee, MD's is where we go AND use the Wi-FI!!
     
  20. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    Cadbury Creme Egg McFlurries in the UK last spring were very yummy. :)
     
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  21. rwoman
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    We do find it amusing that McDonalds is one of the major sponsors for the 2012 Olympic Games in London...
     
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  22. MLW20
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    At the McDonalds in Luxor, we did go in to cool off, use wifi and have an ice cream. Although we did also try the food there which was actually decent. lol They had some flat bread sandwiches...
     
  23. sfo1
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    Cadbury, now that's another reason not to eat chocolates, their cream egg at Easter is so sweet, my teeth are tingling just thinking about it. Cadbury got to be one of the worst chocolate manufacturers.
     
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  24. sfo1
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    Money talks, nutrition walks.
     
  25. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    This is exactly the reason I make it a point to visit them, even if I don't try anything. I remember the ones in Aruba have Pastechis for breakfast.
     
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