Lebanon Reporter

Features

October 18, 2012

In hard times, hungry consumers still flock to the Golden Arches

In late September 2008, when global stock markets fell off a cliff, a funny thing happened to McDonald's. While the financial industry and consumer goods were cratering, same-store sales rose 8.2 percent the next month. And remember Morgan Spurlock's damning 2004 documentary, "Super Size Me," which painted the fast-food giant as the corroded heart of America's obesity crisis? Since then, the company's share price has nearly quadrupled, making MCD's stock ticker look more like a hockey stick than the peaks and valleys of the Golden Arches. While the opening of a new McDonald's (there are already some 33,500 in 119 countries and counting) might not have the buzz of an Apple Store launch, Mickey D's is a Wall Street darling, and a savvy customer too, constantly tweaking providers to lower costs while passing the savings on to budget-conscious consumers.

McWorld may not save us from global jihad, the ravages of interstate conflict, or the eurozone financial collapse, but in a cow-hungry world, the plastic contours of the planet's largest restaurant chain shimmer with promises of long-term prosperity. After weathering everything from scalding-coffee lawsuits, cringe-inducing calorie labeling, and tides of anti-globalization food rioters, the evil empire of burgers and fries finds itself in an excellent spot to prosper in nasty and brutish times. The sad truth is that in most of the world, the McDonald's menu doesn't scream antibiotic-addled livestock and high-cholesterol death diets; instead it whispers of middle-class aspiration. Who in São Paulo or Shanghai has heard of Jonathan Safran Foer, much less his plea: Can't we all be vegetarians and get along?

Still, skeptics ask: Haven't we hit "peak burger"?

The question implies an egregious misreading of McDonald's philosophy and history. A long time ago, burgernomics evolved into chickenomics. Today, McOptimization of priorities has cooked up a feast of cross-cultural patronage: In New Delhi you'll find the McAloo Tikki spiced-potato sandwich and in Tokyo, the Ebi Filet-O shrimp burger. McDonald's is no longer foisting burgers and American values on its booming numbers of international patrons; it's offering burgers and local fare, and, yes, value.

Text Only
Features

Featured items
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide