McDonald’s shuts down in Bolivia

Adriene Hill Dec 29, 2011

CORRECTION: The original version of this story misstated when McDonald’s closed its restaurants in Bolivia. The chain closed its stores in 2002. A new documentary retells the story of the closing. The text has been corrected.

Adriene Hill: We’ve got a some juicy bits of fast food news this morning. First in Japan, where Wendy’s has returned to the country after a two year absence. They’re planning to offer a premium menu, including a burger topped with foie gras that’ll set you back $16.

Not appealing? Or maybe you’re not a fast food person? If that’s the case, you may want to consider Bolivia, where McDonald’s shut all of its locations back in 2002. A new documentary chronicles the closings.

For more we go to Monica Machicao. She’s a journalist with Reuters living in Bolivia. Good morning Monica.

Monica Machicao: Good morning, how are you?

Hill: I’m well. Tell me, why did these McDonald’s in Bolivia close?

Machicao: There are a number of hypotheses. One of those — people prefer local food rather than McDonald’s. It’s the fact that it’s more cheap; and in fact, it’s really more tasty.

Hill: So the local food is actually cheaper than McDonald’s fast food?

Machicao: Absolutely. Local food can even cost a third of McDonald’s.

Hill: And why do you think Bolivia is so different from the rest of the world, where McDonald’s seem to pop up everywhere?

Machicao: We have the Andes, we have the Amazon. And we can really mix things from the Amazon and the Andes in one dish — which makes it very different, very tasty, and it’s part of our tradition for certain.

Hill: Before I let you go, let me ask you one more question — and that is: when is the last time you went to McDonald’s?

Machicao: The last time that I went to McDonald’s was in the United States.

Hill: Monica Machicao from Reuters, thank you so much.

Machicao: You’re welcome, bye bye.

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