Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Some Good News, - I hope
McDonald's is to close 25 of its British branches (I won't say restaurant) at a cost of £23million. The fast-food giant announced the move amid signs that customers are coming to their senses and are being put off by health concerns and its dated outlets.
McDonald's will not say when or where the closures will take place, but Britain is widely seen as one of the worst-performing countries in the fast food empire, and the latest sales figures show it is pulling down its European operation.
Richard Watts, from the healthy food campaign group Sustain, said "it is all evidence of changing consumer behaviour because they don't want to eat junk food anymore. We are delighted the public are seeing through the millions spent on marketing and advertising and they are looking for much better quality food options."
However, for me, it has other implications in that it is the first sign of corporate America on the retreat from the British high street. Over my life, I have seen the character of the high street change, and on the whole, seen good British businesses shoved out by corporations for whom money is no object, - and I resent that. There used to be English coffee and tea houses, and locally run and owned cafes, but no more. Now it is McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Subway and Starbucks among many others, and I would dearly love to see a lot less of them, and the re-introduction of British owned shops and services. I'm not for getting rid of them entirely, but a bit of sensitive self-control would mean that these companys could happily co-exist along side more traditional high street fare.
Unfortunately, the mighty dollar is king!