Burger joints are not just clowning around

Fast food chains are similar to football teams, writes Gordon Watts.

Fast food chains are similar to football teams.

In a league of varying quality, you get the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

Hovering close to the top of the table is McDonald's. To many, the American icon is the Manchester United of the burger bars.

With its distinctive red and yellow colours and Toy Town-designed restaurants, Mac munch generates instant recognition in the same way as the world's biggest football brand.

Just like United supporters, Big Mac seems to be everywhere for everyman. But then it is.

When you unwrap your cheeseburger, you will be just one of 61 million customers a day in about 119 countries, helping to fuel profit figures of more than US$4 billion (Dh14.69bn) a year.

Last month, the darling of Wall Street reported a better-than-expected 5.1 per cent rise in global sales, burning off its major rivals.

"These guys are distancing themselves each and every day from the competition," says Jack Russo, a fast food industry analyst at the financial adviser Edward Jones. Impossible to disagree.

"McDonald's is outperforming its peer group and it's outperforming the market," says Matt DiFrisco, an analyst at the investment house Lazard Capital Markets.

At this rate, Ronald McDonald will be the richest clown on the planet. And that's the problem.

Supersize really does matter, as no one really likes global giants.

McDonald's might tickle your palate, but the company also eats away at your conscious with its deep-fried treats and sugar-drenched drinks.

Even when it doesn't, McDonald's is not everyone's idea of burger utopia, despite being big, flashy and incredibly successful.

Macs and Manchester United? I'd rather have Wimpy and West Ham.


Published: August 18, 2011 04:00 AM


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