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McDonald's at du Louvre? C'est la Vie.

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

McDonald’s France recently announced plans to open a new McDonald’s Restaurant in the mall under the Louvre museum in Paris, the country’s most revered cultural symbol. The epicures would surely rise up in a new French Revolution. Tumult and outrage would be widespread.

Only none of that really happened.

Sure, there were a few isolated statements of protest. But, as reported by Nadim Audi, writing for The New York Times, the French have made peace with le Big Mac.

McDonald’s, widely nicknamed McDo (Mac-DOUGH) in France, has in fact become quite popular—and quite profitable for the Chicago-based corporation. There are now 1,140 restaurants in the country and the French operation is currently the hamburger giant’s second most profitable, next to the USA. One reason: the French are big spenders, averaging a spend of $15 per visit, compared to $4 in McDonald’s American restaurants. They don’t come as often, but when they do, they have a more complete meal.

Sales for McDo are expected to grow by around 10 percent this year, as a result of the recession having driven French folks away from their nation’s more expensive restaurants.

So the Louvre announcement was generally greeted by a nationwide shrug, if it was noticed at all. It seemed there was more of an uproar about it in the American media.

It should be noted however, that the French McDonald’s menu includes much more than burgers and fries. It features such offerings as Caprese salad, beer and espresso, and the jambon beurre, which is a sandwich of butter and ham slices on a crusty baguette. The jambon beurre still outsells burgers by 10 to 1, according to a McDonald’s France spokeswoman, quoted in the TIME article.

Yes, the French do enjoy an occasional Big Mac. But they love their beurre even more.

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