University of California, Los Angeles
Meknes, Morocco Fall 1 2009
Before leaving Marrakesh, I couldn’t resist eating at the McDonalds in the train station. Before you hate me, realize that in the States I avoid McDonalds at all costs and might eat there once a year if I’m unlucky enough. However, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see how an American corporation successfully integrates into a foreign culture. First of all, the McDonalds’ in Morocco are much nicer restaurants than those in the States. A meal with a burger, fries and coke is around 53 DH, which is the equivalent of about 7 USD. While that’s only a little bit more expensive than what you would pay for the same meal in the States, you must remember that Morocco is a much poorer country than the U.S. and that for 7 American dollars, you can eat at a nice sit-down restaurant. Those who eat at McDonalds are generally part of the emerging Moroccan middle class and they embrace western culture, wearing designer jeans and name brand sunglasses while talking on flashy new cell phones.
On the menu McDonalds has some similar items, such as happy meals, the Big Mac, and the Big Tasty. However they also have some new inventions such as the McArabia and the Gamba Burger, which has a shrimp patty.
In addition, their “large” meal is the size of what would be considered a “medium” in America. After a prolonged debate with myself, I decided to order the Gamba burger, whose patty is made with shrimp rather than beef. It was actually really good, and if they served it in America, I might eat at McDonalds more. Although McDonalds is called “fast food” it takes much longer to receive your order here than in the United States. But on the upside, the quality of the food is higher and better prepared. All the meat is killed according to Halal, the Islamic religious doctrine that outlines how food must be killed and prepared.
All in all, I think that the McDonalds’ in Morocco serve much higher quality food. The employees are better groomed and a little classier than the average McDonalds employee. I would imagine that workers here are paid relatively well, unlike in America, where working at McDonalds is at the bottom of the barrel as far as well-paying jobs go.