With the growing meat scare in Europe turning people off beef and cutting into profits, executives at McDonald's are searching for new ways to sustain their deep-fried global domination.
The brains behind the world's biggest restaurant chain have come up with two ideas, both of which sound as ghastly as some people think those famous burgers taste.
The first is a return to the Fifties' diner, complete with Fifties' music, chrome fittings and red-topped bar stools. The new four-page menu features such supposed delights as sliced turkey and stuffing, and Belgian waffles topped with whipped cream. Orders are placed by using a red telephone placed on each table.
People flee a McDonald's restaurant after protestors tossed a smoke bomb inside during a march of leftist organisations in Santiago, March 15, 2001. The protestors oppose an annual meeting of the Washington based Inter-American Development-Bank wich will take place in Santiago March 19-21. REUTERS/Martin Thomas
Alan Feldman, president of McDonald's USA, said the new diner, currently being tested in Kokomo, Indiana, was designed to be more family-friendly. "We want our customers to stay with us as they age," he said.
Those customers tempted by such plans may also wish to stay in the first McDonald's hotel, the Golden Arch, which has just opened in the Swiss town of Rumlang, near Zurich airport.
The hotel features disposable matresses, McMuesli for breakfast and the offer of keeping in touch over the internet by using McMails. "There is nothing to remind you that you are in Switzerland," a spokesman said, perhaps missing the point that most people who travel to Switzerland might do so for that very reason.
A Swiss newspaper has described the hotel's rooms as being as "charming as a freshly scrubbed intensive care ward". With unmistakable disdain, it added that the hotel was aimed at those "who prefer to eat with their fingers".
McDonald's operates over 4,000 restaurants in Europe but is cutting back on new openings in over 100 new locations on the continent this year.
© 2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.