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Commentary Email

Why McDonald's failed

IT IS SAD to hear that McDonald's will be leaving Jamaica. After being here for about a decade or so, the fast-food chain was unable to make a significant enough impact on locals. What this means is that more Jamaicans will lose jobs and more families will be without additional or any income at all and that can't be good.

Fast food chain closes, more people go hungry.

McDonald's though, must take most of the blame for their failure here, because for a fast-food franchise that boasts of selling billions of hamburgers worldwide, they should have done more research on the Jamaican approach to food.

The first and most important thing they would have discovered is that no matter how many hamburgers you've sold, if it not big or 'nuff' Jamaicans aren't interested.

There is a reason why Burger King has managed to take root in Jamaica. Do you see the size of their hamburgers? A Burger King hamburger can hold you for a little while. I have seen people wrap up half of their Burger King lunch to snack on later.

You can't do that with a McDonald's burger! Let's just say that if you walked from your workplace to lunch at McDonald's by the time you walked back it would have felt like you were just going to lunch.

It's almost like eating one of those cocktail patties; you have to eat a few to get the desired effect. When eating one of their burgers, just as you start to warm to the process, it's all over, quite prematurely.

Many of us Jamaicans still like to feel full when we pay for lunch, full of meat and carbohydrates, something that makes you pull your pants or skirt waist, rub your tummy and burp when you're done eating.

Put a Jamaican in a buffet line and more often than not you will see them with two plates. We just love our food.

It's for that same reason why Taco Bell didn't do so well. You eat a taco with all those vegetables and beans it's not filling; all it gives you is gas. We don't like that. Being full of gas is not as comforting a feeling as being full of beef and fries and bread. No sir. Being full of gas is not comforting at all. While passing gas may be a sign of good health, nobody wants to be that healthy.

The thing is this, when most of these companies come here, people will flock to it because we are very foreign minded. We see these franchises on television and when we travel abroad, so when we see them coming to our shores, of course we're going to flock to them.

But once we get used to them and realise that they do not meet our needs, if the food or service does not live up to the hype, then it's on to the next newest thing. That's how life is.

So when McDonald's goes back home, they need to rethink their approach to Jamaica. They need to understand that the 'fenke fenke' food does not work. We like food piled high on our plates; we like to take some with us. We like to know that when we eat at lunchtime we can wait until dinner time to eat again.

So, next time guys, that is if you're thinking of coming back, if the food not plentiful and cheap, don't bother coming.

October 7, 2005

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