Is McDonald’s turning its back on the United States? If so, it wouldn’t be totally surprising. In 2008, McDonald’s Corp.’s same-store sales were up 8.5% in Europe and 9% in Asia/Pacific/MidEast/Africa but only 4% in the U.S.
Is that why Switzerland gets the fabulous “Der M” (at r.) and we don’t? It looks even tastier than our Big N’ Tasty, especially with that very European roll, what advertising identifies as Batavia lettuce and Emmental cheese. McD’s is marketing the same sandwich in Spain (don’t tell them they got stiffed on the Batavia lettuce) under the name El Mac (“La carne por excelencia“).
Der M is just one of the sophisticated and enticing burgers that McDonald’s is marketing around the world…but not here. When was the last time the chain added an excelencia burger to its U.S. menu? Enough with the salads and the SnackWraps! Here are 9 more global creations I’d be happy to see at my McDrive-thru:
• McFarm, Greece. Two all-pork patties, mustard sauce, processed cheese, iceberg lettuce, slivered onions, bacon and tomato on a sesame-seed bun. The Greeks apparently don’t have a colloquialism equivalent to “buying the farm,” which is unfortunate because they could have a good laugh when ordering this.
• Swiss Fondue (l.), Slovakia. One of the great things about McDonald’s is that it is at once both global and local, resulting in a weird mix of languages on its menus. McD’s must have cornered the market on Emmental cheese because it’s part of the Swiss Fondue build and dozens of other Euro-burgers. However, the menu also includes the whimsically named Cheese & Fresh burger that subs in that pepper-Jack cheese that Slovakians love, I guess. Both are on bakery buns that are too good for Americans.
• Big Tasty Met Bacon (r.), The Netherlands. Sounds like “When Harry Met Sally” doesn’t it? Like a Big N’ Tasty but with, yep, bacon and Emmental cheese on a cool, really seedy bun.
• Tirolese Burger, Italy. “The Taste of the Tirolese Mountains” according to its ads, which translates to cipollini onions and speck (smoked ham). Meanwhile, the Italian Big Tasty Bacon burger is hyped as “An Explosion of Rustic Goodness.” You’d have to try that, too.
• Ruis McFeast, Finland. OK, this one (below) looks a little nasty. It piles beef, tomato, lettuce and cheese on a dark-brown bun that looks smashed, like the burgers you really get from most drive-thru windows, or like two large but unappetizing chocolate cookies. Still, it’s more interesting than a regular U.S. McD’s cheeseburger.
• The Winter Feast, United Kingdom. Sounds as though it could be a previously undiscovered work of the Bard but no, it’s a burger with our new friend Batavia lettuce plus “streaky bacon, chorizo, cheese made from Emmental, [and] rich tomato sauce all in a chive topped oval water split bun.” I don’t know what a water-split bun is, but it sounds soggy.
• El Maco Grande, Denmark. A cactus in a sombrero strumming a guitar in ads promoting this? You must be in Denmark! Also available is sandwich sibling Chicken El Maco. The “Mexican inspired” sandwiches (at r.) each have Cheddar cheese (Emmental apparently being withheld from the Danes), tomato, lettuce, some Danish take on salsa and–that Mexican favorite–sour-cream-chive sauce. Lemme hear you say Ole.
• Ciabatta Grande Deluxe, Belgium. Not to be outdone by the Danes, the Flems strike back with a two-cheese (Emmental and Cheddar) burger with tomatoes, onions and lettuce on “un pain ciabatta authentique,” a deft swipe at anyone serving inauthentic ciabatta.
There are plenty more (including our favorite, the Little Italian) along with chicken (the CBO) and others. We’ll sample some of these soon.