The announcement that US fast food chain Burger King is set to make a return to France after a 15-year hiatus has caused huge excitement, even if only two franchises are planned for 2013.
Burger King is making a return to France after a 15-year hiatus, in news that has set mouths watering in a country better known for its haute cuisine, fine wine and cheeses.
The US fast food chain’s imminent return after it quit the country in 1997, citing the brand’s poor commercial performance, has been the subject of intense and repeated rumours for years.
And the confirmation on Thursday that the iconic Whopper sandwich was on its way back immediately triggered an avalanche of enthusiasm on the Internet.
By lunchtime on Thursday the hashtag #BurgerKing was “trending” as second most popular on Twitter France.
Some Twitter users were disappointed, however, that the chain will only be opening two restaurants – one at Marseille’s Provence Airport and the other at a motorway service station near Reims in the Champagne region - at least initially.
“It is absolutely essential that Burger King opens a restaurant at the Gare de Lyon [in Paris],” tweeted @alyssaw. “The commuters there are always miserable and could do with some cheering up.”
A Burger King spokesperson on Thursday told FRANCE 24 that the restaurant at London’s St Pancras station was consistently packed with “French visitors coming off the Eurostar.”
FRANCE 24 contacted French fast food news and reviews website www.snacking.fr to find out why Burger King had generated such mystique in France, and why the fast food giant’s return was causing so much excitement.
“Those that remember it, miss it, while a younger generation has grown up never having tasted a Whopper,” said site editor Paul Fedèle.
Fedèle explained that since Burger King had left the country, its main competitor McDonalds had successfully re-branded itself to suit French tastes and had become, along with European chain Quick, the “only burger restaurants of reference in France.”
“What’s creating so much buzz at today’s news is that Burger King represents something different, less ‘Frenchified’, more exotic, more American. There is definitely room on the French market for a new reference in burger culture," he said.
“The French want greater burger diversity and they are nostalgic for the return of a brand that was taken away from them, somewhat brutally, 15 years ago.”
Date created : 2012-11-29