McDonald’s drives through China

Jocelyn Ford Jun 20, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The country famed for its lavish banquets and delicacies like Peking duck is now getting drive-through dining. Today, McDonald’s signed a deal with China’s largest service station network, Sinopec, to create a burger and gas combo for China’s up-and-coming middle class. Jocelyn Ford has more.

JOCELYN FORD: In China, drive-through dining is brand new. So it’s not just about convenience. It’s also about status.

Burgers are pricey compared to a bowl of noodles, and it’s a mark of middle-class prestige to be able to afford McDonald’s.

DAVID WOLF:“But it’s even more prestigious if you can use a drive through, because what does that say? Not only can you afford McDonald’s but you can afford a car to eat it in.”

Business consultant David Wolf says for the drive-throughs to be a success China’s car culture still needs to gather a little more speed.

WOLF:“You gotta have people who spend lots and lots of time in their cars, where it’s easier to stay in the car than it is to get out. And we are just reaching the point now where we’re starting to see signs of that.

China’s the fastest growing major market for cars in the world. So far this year sales are up more than 40 percent.

In Beijing, I’m Jocelyn Ford for Marketplace.

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