Burger King is ready to battle McDonald’s for fast food dominance in France.
Shortly after announcing to the world that it intended to open locations throughout India, the fast food chain proclaimed that it was ready to expand in France. According to Bloomberg, the company wants to take over roughly 20 percent of all fast food sales in the country.
“The Burger King brand and the Whopper brand are iconic [in France]. The French quick-service restaurant market is quite lucrative,” Burger King’s Jose Cil said during a recent telephone interview.
While the company obviously views the country’s fast food market as “lucrative,” they only operate three locations throughout France. Burger King intends to open a fourth restaurant in Paris’s Saint-Lazare train station on December 17. More locations should begin to pop up throughout 2014.
The Associated Press reports that the fast food chain intends to open more restaurants in airports and “travel hubs” over the course of next year. Burger King is working alongside Groupe Olivier Bertrand and Naxicap Partners to bring these new locations to life. During the first year, the company hopes to create approximately 1,200 new jobs.
Although the chain intends to sell its iconic Whopper in France — after all, a Whopper is a Whopper regardless of what language you speak — Cil didn’t rule out tailoring the menu towards more French-oriented cuisine. However, BK intends to get things rolling with its basic menu before taking a risk on more localized items.
“We don’t plan to open with macaroons in the restaurants, but you never know,” Cil said.
Burger King certainly has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with the likes of McDonald’s. The world’s most popular fast food peddler currently operates around 1,200 locations in France alone. Recent growth in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East prompted BK to begin expanding into other territories.
According to International News, Burger King bid farewell to France in 1997 after spending 16 years slinging burgers to customers throughout the country. However, falling sales prompted the chain to shutter its 39 locations at the loss of around 550 jobs. However, Burger King insisted the departure wasn’t based on the country’s aversion to burgers.
“It’s simply that we are not making an acceptable profit. We are third in the French market, behind McDonald’s and Quick and we decided we would be better off investing in Britain, Spain and Germany,” a spokesperson for the company said at the time.
Burger King made its triumphant return to France towards the tail end of 2012. The fast food chain celebrated its first new location in Paris in June of 2013.