McDonalds opens its first ever store in Vietnam

Love them or hate them, there’s no denying McDonalds’ global influence. The golden arches are the most recognised symbol in the world. One of the last bastions it had not yet broken into was Vietnam – at least until today!

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I braved the crowds to swing by and check it out myself. I was expecting absolute chaos, but surprisingly, it was anything but.

Of course the city’s residents had turned out en-masse to get what for most was their first taste of what in Australia we call “Maccas”.

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Despite the numbers, the opening had been very well coordinated. Crowds were guided through a roped walkway that formed a maze that would challenge the most capable lab rat, but it flowed smoothly. I give credit to the Vietnamese people for that – you’d never be able to organise so many people in some other countries I’ve lived in without it breaking into a stampede or at least a pushing match. People here are vastly different from the folk just over one of the borders…

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Anyway, back to the opening…

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(Wouldn’t be McDonalds if they didn’t try to rope people in while they’re nice and young)

Once people neared the end of the queue, they were given a menu to order from, and their desired dishes were filled out on a form which was then handed to them.

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Once they reached the entrance, people were allowed in group by group. Somehow the pace of people entering was in almost perfect balance with the people leaving (nobody had to be “encouraged” to get out once their meal was finished – also different across the border).

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Inside, the restaurant was pretty much like any other McDonalds. I didn’t pay much attention to the menu, but the only regional dish so far that I spotted was the “McPork”, which looked pretty much like a glorified Sausage McMuffin but on a regular hamburger bun.

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(Above: shoes outside the children’s play area)

But there was one difference…

This is Vietnam, so the drivethrough was used mostly by folk on their scooters and motorbikes.

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There were plenty of cars as well, as the more affluent middle and upper class Vietnamese rushed to partake of a meal from one of the most famous symbols of Western capitalism.

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I was quite impressed by just how smoothly the event ran, and all staff seemed to be in high spirits. I wish I could get smiles like these from the staff at Maccas back in Australia (and I couldn’t even dream of asking for that from Chinese McDonalds). It was smiles all ’round.

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OK those guys weren’t so happy-looking, but they weren’t working in the restaurant – not sure who they were, actually. I really wish I could speak the language!

Outside the restaurant, the big wigs from corporate McDonalds basked in the success of the opening, and discussed their plan of attack as the doors are now open to invade the nation.

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I won’t use this post to get on the soapbox and expound my thoughts on global mega-corporations like McDonalds, but I will post one last image, which is my favourite from today…

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No explanation needed, I think.

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