What is the difference between McDonald's restaurants in the USA and Russia: traveler's impressions - ForumDaily
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What is the difference between McDonald's restaurants in the USA and Russia: traveler's impressions

Author of the channel “Doodles in the margins” on Yandex.Zen talks about his tradition when traveling - in all the countries he visits, he tries to visit local restaurants of the McDonald's fast food chain. How did Poppies surprise him in the USA? Next - from the first person.

The oldest working McDonald's in the United States opened in 1953. Downey, California. Photo: Shutterstock

A visit to McDonald's gives me a lot of additional information about the country. Although this is a global network and everything in it is standardized, but there are always certain features, some touches to the portrait.

The prices of the main burgers provide additional information about the economy.

There are always differences between countries in the personnel who work in a restaurant. In some cases the menu is different. In Beijing, along with the standard Maka menu, you can buy national Chinese food, such as noodles. In the Czech Republic, McDonald's sells beer, although in most countries of the world this chain does not sell the intoxicating drink.

The cleanliness of the restaurants is different, the way the staff behaves, the service, and more. The contingent of visitors from the local population can tell a lot.

And nowhere else does McDonald's have such popularity as in Russia. If all over the world McDonald's conducts mainly business according to the franchising model, then until recently, McDonald's conducted all of its operations in Russia independently, and only relatively recently, when entering the Russian regions, McDonald's began using franchising, as these are more risky economic projects.

When I traveled to the USA in California and also traveled to Las Vegas, I tried to look into McDonald's in all cities.

What surprised me was that, unlike Russia, in the USA McDonald's is an unpopular fast food.

Walking around Los Angeles and visiting its different areas, I hardly found two such places. In Las Vegas on The Strip's main street, there are McDonald's restaurants, and also close to one of the bus stations. But I was surprised that all the cafes and restaurants were crowded in the evening, there were queues everywhere, but there was practically no one at McDonald's.

Most of the poorest, homeless, sometimes newly arrived immigrants visit McDonald's in the US. And if there are no other establishments, or in their turn, then travelers can also visit. The middle class completely ignores them. And for three weeks I have never seen parents with children in such a restaurant, which after Russia was very surprising.

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When compared with Russia, the service and condition of the restaurants are a solid C grade. Compared to our Macs, in the USA they are a bit dirty; it seems that the toilet rooms are not cleaned every hour, as is done here. Often, to get to the toilet, you have to ask the staff to open it. In some restaurants they give you a code for the lock, somewhere you press a button and the door opens, there are restaurants where the code for entering the toilet is stamped on the receipt. This is to ensure that the homeless do not abuse it.

A special feature of the McDonald's restaurants that I visited was that after paying once for a soft drink and receiving a glass, you can go to the machine an infinite number of times and refill the drink. In addition to the drinks that you can buy at our Mac, there is also Dr. Pepper in the USA. For some reason Americans love him.

In the capital of California, the city of Sacramento, the same contingent of African Americans, apparently homeless, sat in one of the McDonald's all day. We drank soda all day. Homeless people would periodically come in to visit the toilet.

In Russia, I’m already accustomed to the fact that you can always order various sauces for nuggets, french fries, shrimp, etc. - usually there are about eight of them. I was disappointed in American McDonald's. The only sauce there was was ketchup. That's all. It was either given out at the checkout in small bags, or it was in the same bags on a special table where there were disposable caps, tubes, forks, stirring sticks, etc.

Some restaurants had large special dispensers, and you could squeeze yourself any amount of ketchup out of them. And where they stood there was a disgusting picture. Since they rarely clean there, it is splattered around, dirty, in general, everything in this ketchup. McDonald's Russian restaurants after this picture were remembered for me as premium establishments.

Some kind of Big Mac, of course, you can buy separately with coffee. But basically they offer various combo menus. And where I was, the offers were just combos with prices, not individual burgers.

The staff who work in the McDonald's American network generally have a low social status, and these may also be newly arrived migrants with official status. Often Latinos and African Americans. The interesting thing is that in a shift where Latinos work, African Americans are not allowed to work, and vice versa. For some reason, they do not tolerate each other's society very well, and when working together, serious conflicts arise. In Sacramento, I visited McDonald's for four days near the MOTEL 6 SACRAMENTO WEST 2 * motel. Either a shift, consisting entirely of Latinos, or mixed of African-Americans and whites, worked. Our immigrants have confirmed this problem in other businesses.

In Russian McDonald's restaurants, along with the usual cash register, there are often self-service kiosks where you can make an order yourself and pay with a card. In American restaurants, McDonald's is a rarity. Also, none of those that I visited had a terminal with the ability to pay in a contactless way, simply by attaching a bank card.

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On the bus ride to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, we made a hygienic stop for half an hour at a place where, among other things, there was a McDonald's. Just for fun and to change money, I tried to pay with a $100 bill. This caused a very big commotion among the restaurant staff: they were stuck, not knowing what to do. When I explained in broken English that I was a traveler from Europe, they called the restaurant manager and, with his permission, accepted my bill, checking it with a special marker. Usually I paid with a ruble credit card. If you are in the USA, try not to take 100 dollar bills, at least fifty dollars. A hundred draws undue attention to you. In addition, it may not be accepted as payment, since there may not be change or a special marker for verification.

Original column published on the blog. “Doodles in the margins” on Yandex.Zen

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