How Come Nobody Re-imports "Foreign" Fast Food?

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 23 2013 2:43 PM

How Come Nobody Re-imports "Foreign" Fast Food?

1358970212715

Jeb Boniakowski thinks the world needs a gigantic flagship McDonald's that serves all the dishes from all the McDonald's menus around the world. The suggestion is so clearly correct that I won't further belabor the point.

But this is a good subsidiary point:

Everyone talks about how globalization "McDonalds-izes" the world, but the funny thing about a place like New York is that you can get basically every kind of food *except* whatever they serve at the foreign outposts of our proud American chains. I would say I know more people who have had a lamb face salad from the Xi'an Famous Foods in the Golden Mall in Flushing than have had the poutine from the Montreal McDonald's, never mind something you really have to travel for, like a Chicken Maharaja Mac. Frequently, when I travel outside of the USA, my trips to the local McDonald's are the most genuinely foreign-feeling and disorienting part of the trip. I went to Paris last year. There are probably ten restaurants within walking distance of my old Williamsburg apartment that are varyingly obsessive imitations of Parisian bistros, Parisian bars, Parisian brasseries. If they were hung in museums, the wall texts next to them would say "School of Keith McNally." But there is not a single place in New York that serves a Croque McDo.
Advertisement

Re-importation of "foreign" dishes back to the original chain home base seems to be extremely rare. In some cases it seems pretty obvious that there really wouldn't be much of an American market for a Croque McDo. But the vegetarian options from Indian McDonald's? Why not?

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Mad About Modi


Why the controversial Indian prime minister drew 19,000 cheering fans to Madison Square Garden.


Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Don’t Panic! The U.S. Already Stops Ebola and Similar Diseases From Spreading. Here’s How.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 6:59 PM The Democrats’ War at Home Can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.