McDonald´s: aims for bigger bit of Europe

Berlin / DE. (ftd) McDonald´s Corporation, the world´s biggest fast food chain will invest up to 600 million Euro in Europe this year. «We are an American brand but we have to be more European», said President and Chief Operating Officer Ralph Alvarez to Financial Times Deutschland: «At the moment Europe is the most exciting region for us. We will invest as much money there as we will invest in the US market, despite the fact that there are only half as many restaurants in Europe». For example in 2005 the company headquartered in Oak Brook (Illinois / USA) invested 96 million Euro in Germany and 170 million Euro in 2006. In this year McDonald´s will invest 250 million Euro only in Germany. One of the reasons is that the company´s sales have slowed in recent years, especially in Europe where it has felt the impact of the trend towards healthier eating and lost market share to its rivals. Design is a reason too and so the appearance of the European restaurants in future could be more European. Also dishes could get a more regional taste. As part of its effort, McDonald´s plans to reduce the share of restaurants that are directly owned by the company to between 20 to 25 percent from 35 percent, Alvarez said. Franchise restaurants generally achieve better profit margins than directly owned restaurants, he said to FTD. «We believe that we are strong as a franchise business».