Photo: Sara A. Beyer/Flickr
Among the world’s global businesses, what’s more ubiquitous than American fast food?
KFC (YUM), for example, deep-fries chicken in more than 20,000 shops around the planet, including a new outlet in Nairobi, Kenya, which opened this summer, becoming America’s first fast food outlet in East Africa. Click here to see where these wacky locations are >
But while American travellers are accustomed to seeing familiar brands far from home (for better or worse), there are a few US fast-food openings that have raised some eyebrows. Here, Minyanville reports on the 10 strangest fast-food locations anywhere.
Click here to see where these wacky locations are >
This post originally appeared at Minyanville.
Food trucks have become all the rage in New York City, but this Subway located at 1 World Trade centre was two years ahead of the trend. As if it wasn't weird enough that there's a workers-only Subway next to the in-construction Freedom Tower, this particular location, housed in a trailer with an American flag draped alongside the trademark green signboard, is also very mobile. But no, it's not going anywhere outside of the construction zone. Instead the trailer has been going vertical. Yes, as each level of 1 World Trade centre has been completed, the sandwich shop has been rising alongside construction, courtesy of a hydraulic lift, so workers don't have to spend precious time getting from the upper floors to street level to get food (their lunch break is only 30 minutes long). Considering that the building will reach 1,776 feet and 105 stories come 2013, shop attendants at this Subway must have been checked for a fear of heights.
The menu at this lofty location is apparently the same as any elsewhere, with hot dogs and ice cream added in. We've got to give props to franchise owner Richard Schragger, who beat out nine other competing bidders to get Subway placed along 1 WTC because he did not demand a profit from the venture.
30 years ago, the idea of a McDonald's in Communist-ruled Czechoslovakia would have been considered preposterous. But then the Iron Curtain fell and the end of history, as Francis Fukuyama put it, occurred (except not really).
Communism as a competing ideology has been officially vanquished by good old-fashioned capitalism, and there's no better way to symbolise the victory than the sight of a McDonald's located right beneath the Museum of Communism in Prague. So perhaps it's more fitting than shocking to see a McDonald's, arguably the most iconic cultural emblem of the West (along with Coca Cola), juxtaposed against a Communism museum. One lives in the present while the other celebrates the past.
Oh, and just to rub salt in Karl Marx's wound, even the Museum of Communism was opened by an American businessman.
Starbucks, like McDonald's and other leading Western corporate icons, has become a symbol of the domination of the West in a globalized and increasingly homogenized world. It's not surprising to see anti-globalization protesters rallying against brands like Starbucks at some international summit or another, but the suits at the coffee giant must not have anticipated the backlash it would receive when it opened an outlet at the seemingly innocuous Insadong pedestrian mall in Seoul, Korea. A Starbucks in the capital of one of the US's strongest allies? What would be strange about that?
It turns out that Insadong is actually a district steeped with deep traditional Korean cultural history, so people were unhappy at the invasion of this bastion of American capitalism. In response, Starbucks made some unprecedented changes to the store: changing its familiar logo to one written with the Korean alphabet, redoing the store's layout to look more like a traditional Korean shop, and making staff uniforms look more like tradition Korean costumes. So, no ballcaps for the baristas then?
McDonald's claims to serve over 47 million customers a day around the world, and their location on the King Faisal Causeway (connecting Bahrain's man-made islands to Saudi Arabia) proves its dedication to making sure no one is deprived of its cheeseburgers and McNuggets. Even more unusual, the fast-food giant placed the store right behind a mosque -- with helpful directions on the sign for hungry, wayward worshippers; see image. Muslims who strictly follow Halal can relax while enjoying their Big Macs with the knowledge that all McDonald's restaurants in the Middle East serve 'pure Halal prime-cut beef.' McDonald's decided to treat customers in Keeaumoku, Hawaii, to an even more iron juxtaposition: a McDonald's next door to a Buddhist temple. Maybe they move a lot of salads there.
Standing on the shores of the Dead Sea, with its 30% humidity levels and salty breeze, your throat will probably get parched in no time. After frolicking in the so-light-you-can-float waters, what better way is there to quench your thirst and a newly worked-up appetite than a Coke and some onion rings at the local Burger King, conveniently located adjacent to one of the world's saltiest bodies of water? This holy branch found on the west part of the Dead Sea in Israel is also the world's lowest-lying BK, at some 400m below sea level, where the harmful effects from the sun's UV rays are reduced. That should offset some of the damage from the food.
Nepal possesses breathtaking scenery of the world's tallest mountains, and now that KFC and Pizza Hut have opened in the city of Kathmandu, Nepalese might feel short of breath for health reasons as well. The Nepalese, who live in a country where people ride elephants and the sky is framed by the mighty Himalayans, eagerly lined up outside of the restaurants before their grand opening in November 2009, proving that one man's greasy lunch is another man's exotic cuisine from abroad. The two restaurant chains, owned by PepsiCo (PEP), did so well at their initial location that they've since expanded to three other cities in Nepal. Aspiring mountain-climbers hoping to follow in Edmund Hillary's footsteps can now be the life of the base camp by bringing a Famous Bowl for dinner.
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