Vive les French (Fries)!

3 January 2012 at 5:30 pm 8 comments

| Peter Klein |

Most people don’t know that France is McDonald’s second-most popular market, despite the presumed French distaste for les choses américaines. Knowledge@Wharton has a nice piece suggesting that the firm’s willingness to cater to French tastes explains its success over local and multinational rivals:

In France, barely 10% of meals are eaten outside the home, compared to nearly 40% in the U.S. and the U.K. Unlike their Anglo-Saxon counterparts, French consumers rarely snack between breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a result, French meal times also last longer, and more food is consumed through multiple courses, creating unique opportunities and challenges for fast-food dining. McDonald’s decided to capitalize on the opportunity. Rather than run promotions that encourage snacking, the company freed up valuable labor by installing electronic ordering kiosks, which are used by one out of every three customers in more than 800 of its restaurants. McDonald’s has capitalized on the French cultural preference for longer meals by using surplus labor to provide table-side service, particularly in taking orders from lingering diners inclined to order an additional coffee or dessert item. Thanks to such initiatives, the average French consumer spends about US$15 per visit to McDonald’s — four times what their American counterparts spend.

Adding the McCafé — featuring macaroons baked by the same company that supplies Ladurée — was another savvy move.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Food and Agriculture, Strategic Management.

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael E. Marotta  |  4 January 2012 at 8:24 pm

    “… to provide table-side service, particularly in taking orders from lingering diners inclined to order an additional coffee or dessert item. … the average French consumer spends about US$15 per visit to McDonald’s …”

    Sacre bleu! In my undergrad class in “Sociology of the Workplace” where we read Arlie Hochschild and Barbara Ehrenreich, we learned that “MacDonaldization” was the dehumanizing juggernaut of the American corporation. Darn ….

  • 2. FC  |  8 January 2012 at 1:36 am

    Shouldn’t those be “McAroons”?

  • 3. Juan M  |  8 January 2012 at 3:07 pm

    There are two in the Champs Elysses.One next to the house where Jefferson lived and the other in the toys section of a magazine store.
    And there is another almost in front of Notre Dame. All packed ,all the time

  • 4. bill  |  9 January 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Great post! The straw men are falling left and right.

    What’s the next post? Micky D’s is healthful eating? Of course only in moderation. :)

  • 5. FC  |  11 January 2012 at 2:19 am

    I just noticed the French version of the slogan above. Wouldn’t a simple “je l’aime” have sufficed?

  • 6. Rob  |  25 January 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I posted ths comment before but is seems not to have appeared – Sorry, but the McCafe was an Australian innovation.

    So are you lauding the French managers for catering to local tastes or just for copying the successful innovation of another division of the same firm?

  • 7. Thierry  |  29 February 2012 at 11:40 am

    “les choses américaineS” please

  • 8. Peter Klein  |  29 February 2012 at 11:41 am

    Merci beaucoup, Thierry!

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