For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Aah, Bistro! McDonald's set to disguise themselves as Europeans when invading China

McDonalds is no
stranger to bistro
cuisine, it seems
From time to time the IPKat contemplates what people do with their brands and their get-up, which do after all form a significant element of a business plan for any consumer-directed product or service. He was therefore tantalised by a brandchannel headline, "McDonald's Plans Aggressive Expansion in China", this being the title of this short piece by Shirley Brady.  The news, via The Wall Street Journal, goes like this:
"McDonald's is planning its "biggest ever expansion in China," reports the Wall Street Journal. With plans to build up to 200 new locations in the market, where it its upping its investment some 40% next year and swapping out "the old red and yellow decor [which at one time was believed to give the locations a corporate livery that enabled consumers to identify them more easily] for a more relaxed, European-style bistro design." [The Kats look forward to checked tablecloths, fishnets draped across the walls, candles melted into old wine bottles ...] The move will double its footprint on the mainland and include a more health-conscious menu [is this a subtle concession that the existing menu isn't] ...".
To be fair, the WSJ doesn't use the word "aggressive", but this Kat suspects that the Chinese would prefer any activity by a foreign, global, probably intergalactic operation like McDonald's not to be aggressive if at all possible.   Merpel wonders whether, if the experiment works in China, McDonald's might consider introducing "a more relaxed, European-style bistro design" into Europe, particularly in some of those historic inner-city locations where anything that looks like a fast-food outlet looks like an anachronistic intrusion.

Bistro here
Bistrot here
Bisto here
McDonald's: use of the apostrophe here
McDonald's and apostrophe abuse here
Against McDonald's here
Against the apostrophe here

4 comments:

Matthew Taylor said...

Probably not that significant in a European context - the last fit out refresh from McDonalds UK has seen them go for coffee chain style furniture, alongside their attempts to reposition/promote their coffee offer.

Anonymous said...

A rare example of restraint on MacDonald's part can be seen in a Google image search for "Macdonalds Salzburg" (with our without the apostrophe)

(I would have posted a direct link to one of the photos, but the links all seemed to be endlessly long)

Anonymous said...

Another example of restraint seen a couple of years ago in Rome was the McDonald's near the Spanish Steps. Under ground and pleasantly cool in the heat of August, with a huge variety of proper Italian ice creams at non-ripoff prices.

In Quebec they were forced to change their name to "Chez MacDonald" under the French language laws: anglo-saxon possessive apostrophies definitely not permitted! On the other hand, in France they couldn't care less.

Anonymous said...

Interesting factoid: according to some sources, "bistro" (or "bistrot") is derived from the Russian "bystro" ("quick"). Apparently, when occupying Paris in 1815, the Cossacks were notoriously impatient customers...

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