McDonald’s Restaurant Experiments With Regionally-Appropriate Decorating Themes

No matter where you go in the world, there is a relatively strong chance a McDonald’s restaurant will be somewhere nearby. The chain has done an admirable job at expanding into new territories after first showing dominance in the United States. However, there’s one thing that’s changing, and it’s related to how at least one of the McDonald’s stores in China is decorated.

For some people, the uniform look of many McDonald’s restaurants may be a comforting factor. If you’re in a strange place and just want something that’s at least slightly familiar to your taste buds, the sight of those famous golden arches, tile floors and plastic booths might be just the thing to help you feel like you’ve found a temporary home away from home.

In China, however, a McDonald’s restaurant in Guangzhou has been equipped with furniture and design elements that align with the country’s culture, rather being styled after what’s used in McDonald’s restaurants elsewhere.

Although the McDonald’s Corporation has been very successful in China, and is just about to open its 2,000th restaurant there, the restaurants have seen dwindling sales numbers in some locations. The same struggles have been experienced by competitors like KFC.

Some of the tables in the specially designed McDonald’s restaurant can seat as many as 10 people. That reflects a cultural value that emphasizes togetherness, and it also supports the restaurant’s new Chinese slogan, “It’s good to get together.”

There’s even a huge abacus that acts as a room divider. Tabletops are characterized by an artistic red and white pattern, offering a look that’s much more sophisticated than what you’d likely find in most McDonald’s locations.

Beginning this past weekend, McDonald’s began promoting its message of togetherness in a major way by purchasing three back-to-back minutes of airtime that followed an evening news broadcast shown throughout the country. In the United States, many people grab their grub on the go by zipping through a McDonald’s drive-through, but in China, there is a much greater importance given to eating meals together with loved ones, and taking time to mingle.

With that cultural norm in mind, it seems appropriate that more than one McDonald’s restaurant in China may soon offer the stylish decor and atmosphere that helps encourage people to stick around and have conversations with other diners. Much like people in America gather at Starbucks coffee shops to socialize, the same may be true in Chinese McDonald’s locations within a few years. That’s provided this new move goes according to plan, of course.

[Photo Credit: Ad Age]