I was at West Mall (arguably the best mall in Trinidad) the other day..when some friends decided that they were craving McDonald’s. Little did I know that it meant waiting in a 30-40 minute line!! (Well, I shouldn’t be so hypocritical..I’ve done that before..but in my car, at the drive thru..after a long night out in Miami..waiting for 4:00am to roll around and breakfast to start..but never like the below, in plain sight!!!)
The McDonald’s franchise recently reopened after pulling out of Trinidad 8 years ago. Apparently they did a poor job of “catering to local tastes” and didn’t account for “Trini’s love for chicken” the first time around. This time though, under the helm of Arcos Dorado – the world’s largest McDonald’s franchisee, and the exclusive owner, operator and grantor of McDonald’s in Latin America and the Caribbean – they are back with a vengeance. Just check out their menu. It’s clear that chicken is center stage (in what other country can you buy buckets of chicken at McDonald’s?):
According to an article that appeared in the Express,
“Trinidadians should be happy to find the menu will carry a distinctive local flavour.
In an interview with the Business Express at advertising agency Lonsdale Saatchi & Saatchi, St Clair last Wednesday, Trinidad marketing manager for Arcos Dorados, the franchise owner and operator for the Trinidad restaurant, Milagros Bermudez, said the menu will feature products adapted specifically to local tastes, available only in Trinidad.
Arcos Dorados takes the taste issue very seriously. We conducted product tests here with locals to identify what is going to be the key to our success here and we are going to cater especially to local tastes. For example, our research has shown that the people here love sauces- just love them. So we are going to have a variety of sauces available for our clients.” source
According to another article in Newsday,
For their menu McDonalds has acquired Halal Certification which is a recognition that their products are permissible under Islamic law. They have also assured that their products would be served the “TT way” which offers customers the ketchup option with their meals. One noticeably new item on the menu is the McCrispy Chicken which offers customers several chicken combos as well as the family pack which includes ten pieces of chicken, two large fries, two large drinks and two Happy Meals.” source
Chicken? and SAUCES!! Damn! Who woulda thunk? Sounds like a recipe for success!
(Not everyone seems to be pleased though. Health Minister Fuad Khan banned McDonalds from making a $64,000 donation to the Wendy Fitzwilliam Pediatric Hospital because “of the link between the fast food industry and childhood obesity and a number of chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.” He said he would not allow the fast food giant to practice “subliminal advertising” inside the pediatric ward.) source
While I applaud McDonald’s for doing their homework the second time around, I have mixed feelings about seeing so many Trinis willing to line up for fast food! Especially when there are so many cheaper, local options available. Not only that, but Trinidad has the highest case of diabetes in the Caribbean! source Surely McDonald’s isn’t helping this statistic.
Everywhere I turn there is an American fast food chain – Wendy’s, Papa John’s, Domino’s, Subway, Churches, Popeyes, Pollo Tropical, KFC.
Trinidad never used to be like this..
What do you think about the recent proliferation of American fast food chains in Trinidad?