Economic Downturn Forces French To Eat At McDonald's

Zut, alors. It seems the economic situation in France has gotten so bad, what with rising prices, and (how you say?) less money to spend on food, that people are actually embracing the cheap eats at McDonald’s. Meanwhile, the number of local French restaurants filing for bankruptcy has increased.

Bloomberg: While rising prices and record low consumer confidence drive the French to throw their culinary pride to the wind and embrace le Big Mac, traditional bistros are hurting. About 3,000 independent French restaurants filed for bankruptcy in the first half, a record 27 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier, according to Paris-based statistics office Insee.

“A hamburger patty and fries in a bistro around the corner from my office costs almost twice as much,” said Alexandre Cavanel, a 27-year-old computer programmer, as he tucked into his 8 euro ($10.70) double cheeseburger menu meal with colleagues at a McDonald’s in Paris’s Opera district.

McDonald’s, accused by Jose Bove — the activist farmer who ran last year for president — of serving “malbouffe,” or junk food, said French revenue will increase 12 per cent this year. In contrast, the fate of traditional French restaurants may worsen as a slumping economy drives more people to swap offerings such as duck dish “confit de canard” and “blanquette” of veal for hamburgers and fries, economists said…

McDonald’s, which is based in Oak Brook, Illinois, and opened its first French restaurant in Strasbourg in 1979, is doing better than ever. Sales at the company’s 1,115 outlets in France will rise this year to a record 3.35 billion euros, McDonald’s said this month. The company is opening 29 new restaurants in France this year.

“In the short term, we will probably benefit from the current economic crisis,” Jean-Pierre Petit, chief executive officer of McDonald’s France and southern Europe, said in an interview. “Offering food at accessible prices and correcting our negative image helped us win over clients who used to eat only in traditional French restaurants.”

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