Saturday, June 21, 2008
I'm Running Late to My McMeeting
So I'm driving up the coast of California for a family road trip when we stopped at the American pit-stop to refuel. Yet this wasn't your run-of-the-mill McDonald's, it had gone through a little misguided remodeling. Entering the restaurant, I was greeted by a cheerful employee with a tray of samples. It's not like this is a food court menu, we've all grown up Ronald. The McGreeter was strange enough, but the sign behind her was even more peculiar. Yes, that's right. You can rent out this McConference room for your next board meeting. Of course it's not for kids' birthdays, unless your kid enjoys meeting rooms. Personally, I would've liked my birthdays to involve some sort of combination of ball and pit.
That's when I realized that this entire McDonald's deviated from the plastic furniture and red and yellow motif. I understand catering to the diverse clientele, but maybe clientele is too strong a word. Who wants to have a meeting that smells like French fries? In international McDonald's the brand is slightly skewed to reflect the culture. In China, Ronald is known as Uncle Ronald. There is also a country that features a Mrs. McDonald as the wife of Ronald McDonald because a lonely adult man who hangs out with kids is slightly offensive in that culture--not that Americans have problems like that. The menus are always a point of cultural flux, as any kid who found pizza at a Canadian McDonald's can tell you. McD's in India serve lamb burgers because of prevailing Hindu reverence for beef.
I am impressed by McDonald's evolving identity. They know how to perpetuate their brand and stay fresh, even giving Starbucks a run for its money with the new line of McDonald's coffee. Recently, the Hacienda Heights store has been redesigned with feng shui in mind to reflect the Chinese population. But perhaps I'm a little biased; I do have one share of McDonald's stock given to me for my tenth birthday.