You’ve got to hand it to American businesses and their executives. They know how to market their products at home and abroad, but not only that. The best of them, at least, are ingenious about adapting what they’re selling to the culture of the foreign country they expand into. National fast food corporations of every kind have long had outlets throughout France: Subway, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, KFC. Even Chipotle is trying to make a go of it—which might be tough because of the spiciness. As for the others, there’s a reason that they’ve caught on among the French.
The whole idea for this post came to me the day a Domino’s Pizza flyer appeared in our mailbox. I don’t believe I’ve ever crossed the threshold of or ordered anything from this chain in my life. But I was intrigued by the name of the pizza pictured: Sweet Chèvre. The featured pie on the front of the ad includes smoked lardons (something like small pieces of bacon), onions, and honey. I can imagine making something similar in my own kitchen—sans honey most likely. What I have trouble picturing is this precise combination of ingredients being promoted in the U.S. The reverse side of the handout showed a long list of pizzas, many with tomato sauce, but nearly an equal amount a white pizzas with crème fraîche as the base. Naturally, you find some typical toppings such as ham, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. One even offered saucisson pepperoni. Besides those, though, there’s merguez (a spicy North African sausage), roast chicken pieces, and potato slices. Cheeses—in this land of cheese—include Emmenthal (a lot like gruyère), Fourme d’Ambert (a blue cheese), and Reblochon (a semi-soft cheese from the Alps) as well as mozzarella. You can even get one with four of the cheeses on top. Something to appeal to a wide-variety of French people’s tastes, I guess. Down the right side of the flyer, too, there are several all-American coupons to sweeten the deal.
The adaptation to the culture is also true at McDonald’s. We were surprised years ago that this icon of Americana had beer on its list of beverages. Not wine, mind you, beer. Of course, you can still order un Big Mac avec frites (I mean, les deluxe potatoes—moyenne ou grande portion). But there are other burgers, too, which come with camembert, comté, or chèvre cheese. A new offering for petite faim (if you're just a little hungry) is le Petit McBaguette, made of Charolais beef, with Emmenthal and a béarnaise sauce served on a small baguette-type roll. Macdo France has also created their version of a French classic the croque-monsieur called le croque McDo. Not too appetizing to my eyes at least.
Obesity is becoming more of a problem in France. Very often, no doubt the result of government intervention, a warning is posted at the bottom of a fast food menu encouraging exercise and a healthy lifestyle. I wish them the best with that.