And some of them are actually good reasons, or at least reasonable. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s in several years. But I don’t judge the folks who explained why they do it.
- Dietary restrictions.
since becoming a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally, finding food can sometimes be tricky. The thing I love about McDonald’s when traveling (or any major fast food chain), is that I know exactly what I can get
I’m there to learn about the local culinary customs. McDonald’s has long had a history of adapting its menu to better fit in with local sensibilities..These variations are a fantastic window into the local culture, and a fun way to learn about what foods they love the most.
It’s certainly true, McDonald’s tempers its offerings to meet local demand. For instance there’s no beef in Mumbai McDonald’s but they do offer several different fry dips.
In Bangkok Ronald McDonald greets you, sawadee krap:
- Efficiency. It’s quick and cheap. I’m not sure it’s the best thing that’s quick and cheap, but it’s also efficient in terms of not needing to invest in learning about options.
I actually have a reason to visit McDonald’s that doesn’t fit into the categories Johnny uncovers. Of course it doesn’t actually involve eating at McDonald’s. It just involves going to McDonald’s.
The reason is: reasonably clean and available restrooms
If I’m out in Mumbai all day, not everywhere I go is going to have a restroom. Or toilet paper. Toilet paper is getting more common in China than it was when I first visited, especially in major cities. (Although it can be a good idea still to carry your own.)
McDonald’s are easy places to walk in, relatively unnoticed, and use the restrooms.
Now in many parts of South Asia McDonalds delivers. But since they do not deliver clean restrooms I don’t really see the point.
I don’t find the McDonald’s restroom tip especially valuable in Europe, because of the prevalence of first world amenities you’ll find most everywhere you go. And yet on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, one of the most touristy of tourist areas, you have pretty much every fast food to choose from.
There’s plenty of Spanish food there, too. But if you’re going to eat tapas, try to do it somewhere other than Las Ramblas. The food will be better (not to mention less expensive, because of the rents).
Since there are clean restrooms all over Barcelona I cannot offer a justificiation for Western fast food. But I’m grateful that it’s popular in many of the places I travel where I couldn’t otherwise find a place to go.