My trusty sidekick, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into History Again gives a history of McDonald’s around the world:

Belgium – since this is the original home of the french fry, American fries are a tough sell.  Although McD’s has been ensconced there since 1978, most Belgians prefer their own food; fast food makes up less than 5% of all food sales in the country.

Brazil – McD arrived in 1979, and today is Brazil’s single largest private employer.

China – Although KFC was the first American fast-food restaurant in China (1987), thousands of people waited hours in line when McD opened in Beijing.

England – McD opened in 1974.  In the 1950’s, the British started their own burger joint called Wimpy.  Today, the British eat more fast food than any other western Europeans, hosting more than 1,000 McDonald’s, 700 Burger Kings, and 270 Domino’s Pizzas (ham & pineapple is the favorite).

France – Many French find the idea of fast food repulsive, but American burger chains have been a fixture in Paris since the 70’s.  Frenchman Jose Bove became an instant celebrity when he bulldozed a McDonald’s into bite-sized pieces near his home in Millau in 1999.  But Americanized French youth love fast food, and call it McDo for short.

Germany – During the 1970’s America launched a burger blitzkrieg, tapping into a ready market of young adults raised learning English in a post WWII climate.  Today, McDonald’s is the largest restaurant company in Germany.

Guam – At last count, had 6 Taco Bells, 13 Subway’s, 5 Burger Kings, 5 KFC’s, 7 McD’s, 5 Pizza Huts, 2 Sbarro restaurants, and 2 Denny’s.  It also has the world’s largest Kmart (complete with Little Caesar’s).

Hong Kong – With elbow-to-elbow people, and most houses being too small to entertain guests in, eating out is popular, and American food is trendy.  Locals weren’t used to standing in line to get to a cash register, so McDonald’s hired women to yell at customers who got out of line.

India – McD and Pizza Hut came in after a backlash against foreign companies had died down.  Today, Maharaja Macs and Masala Pizzas are popular.

Italy – In 1986, Carlo Petrini created the Slow Food Movement, encouraging people to chuck the burgers for a long, enjoyable meal.

Japan – Opened first restaurant there in 1971.  Its Bi-gu   Ma-ku (Big Mac) is hugely popular.  There are now more than 3,800 McD’s.  Its store on the world’s busiest street, the Ginza of Tokyo, serves an average of 641,857 customers every day.

Kuwait – 3 years after U.S troops pulled out after Desert Storm, McDonald’s went in.  On opening day, the drive-through line was 7 miles long.  The book says there are more than 50 McD’s in Kuwait today, but this website says there are only 34, and they’re all owned by Mr. Saquer Al-Maousherji of the Al Maousherji catering company. 

Russia – After 14 years of negotiations, McD opened in 1990.  Today, there are more than 100 McDonald’srestaurants, as well as some KFCc and Pizza Huts.  In 2003, Papa John’s got into the mix, with its “To Russia with Love” pizza: mashed potatoes, bacon, onions, and garlic butter sauce.

Sweden – Swedesh McD’s serve organic food in edible of degradable packaging.  In 1996, the first McDonald’s ski-through opened and in 2002, they opened a drive-through window for snowmobiles.

Switzerland – Geneva welcomed their first McD in 1976.  The menu offers sandwiches like the Fish Mac, McCroissant, and the Vegi Mac.  And Zurich has the first ever McDonald’s Hotel, complete with golden arches headboards.

Tahiti – In “Fast Food Nation”, Eric Schlosser notes that in 1986, the Tahiti Tourism Board ran a promotion that showed a picture of Tahiti’s breathtaking natural beauty along with the words: “Sorry, no McDonald’s.”  However, about 10 years later, one opened in the capital, Papeete.

That’s it (I know, if you’ve actually made it this far, you are probably bored to tears, sorry).  Then I went surfing, and found some interesting things on my own.

I would love to have visited this McDonald’s.  Although, I have to say, that I think I would be creeped out in reality.  I get the heebie jeebies around anything this big, just the movies Titanic and Hunt For Red October creep me out, with all those propellers.  Ugh!  

At first look, I thought this one might make for an interesting visit, too.  Then I did some more digging, and decided it wasn’t really worth my time.  (right!  like Rich would go for me driving to Oklahoma just to check out McDonald’s!)

This McD, over the Illinois Tollway, looks kinda fun.   However, the oases are currently under construction, according to this site.

Thought this was an interesting pic.

And, lastly, I think the kids would really love this one, in Orlando, but it’s a right long drive from my place.  I reckon it would keep them occupied for awhile, though.  

Well, due to my lack of a normal attention span, this particular post has taken me 4 1/2 hours!  I think it’s time for bed.

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