McDonald’s France—called MacDo by the locals—is the highest-grossing McDonald’s market outside of the United States (despite the fact that worker pay, a recent source of controversy in the United States, starts around $12 an hour—France’s minimum wage). It’s a fun story to tell: the low-brow American chain that won over the fastidious French. Something about it makes Americans feel like a warm apple pie inside.
The reason, writes Matt Goulding in Why the French Secretly Love the Golden Arches, isn't because the restaurant exports U.S. fast-food culture. Instead, it's because the fast-food chain respects local cuisine. For instance, there's "the Bulgogi Burger in Seoul, a tray of Currywurst in Berlin, or a grilled chicken pita in the Middle East."
More and more, the key to McDonald’s future appears to be found in the DNA of the places it inhabits. And with it, suddenly the fast-food giant that to many represents the globalization of taste suddenly finds itself in a very unlikely position: as a defender of local cuisine.