Pyongyang wants McDonald’s franchise?!?


Burger Chain ‘Rebuffed N.Korean Overtures’
Choson Ilbo
Influential North Koreans tried to bring McDonalds into the country, but the fast-food chain declined citing lack of profitability, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday. RFA quoted Nancy Mazeska at MacDonald’s International Franchise Division as saying the person who contacted the chain probably had “political connections” and a “history of success in North Korea.” But due to the poor infrastructure and distribution network and probable lack of demand, McDonalds decided to take a rain check.

McDonalds at one point thought about letting its franchise in South Korea handle North Korean operations, she said. She did not comment further on who the businessman was and when he contacted the company. According to North Korean press, mass-produced hamburgers were distributed in universities in Pyongyang in September 2000 at the orders of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Many thoughts are running through my head:

1.  Can you imagine?  The “golden arches” right next to the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang.  Of course the North Koreans would make sure that their “golden arches” were the largest in the world—3 meters taller than the ones in America.

2. Rumor has it that no two countries with a McDonald’s in them have ever attacked each other…with one recent exception: the bombing of Serbia in the 1990s.  Despite the fact that McDonald’s is frequently targeted by anti-American activists, the opening of a franchise in Pyongyang would in fact be a great symbol of hope.

I remember visiting the first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union just after it opened in Moscow.  I stood in line for hours to eat food that tasted exactly like it did in America (of course I was living in England at the time and their food didn’t taste much better than the Soviets’).  The reason I stood in line for so long is because so many Russians wanted to try it as well, and it was finally considered politically acceptable.  The same would probably be true of Pyongyang residents, and the line out the door would be telling.

3.  The hamburger is not entirely unknown to North Koreans.  All outbound flights on Air Koryo serve a hamburger (or at least it is some kind of meat patty in a much larger bun with a piece of lettuce).  In business class, you get it on a plate.  I don’t think it is that great, but it is made in the DPRK.  Here is a bad photo I took of the alleged burger.

UPDATE: 4. ROK Drop wonders if they would have used US beef! 


2 Responses to “Pyongyang wants McDonald’s franchise?!?”

  1. Thu says:

    There is a good standard fastfood already opened in
    Pyongyang by Singapore own franchise fastfood chain in May

    The staff have received training and provide a crispy belgian
    waffle, golden crispy fried chicken, and juicy giant burger!

    The fried chicken and waffle are second to none! it is the
    best in Pyongyang DPRK.

    It located near the Metro Subway entrance, near to the

    traffic junction and near to The China Embassy

    It is the best in the city !