Surprisingly, France is the fast-food chain’s second-largest market in the world
Above is McDonald’s take on the classic French croque monsieur: the Croque McDO.
If you’ve been to France recently, you may have noticed that McDonald’s à la française is quite different from the familiar outlet that most of us know in the U.S. With McCafé’s serving espresso and croissants, and "Le Petit McBaguette" on the menu, one might wonder if the French outlets are indeed part of the same chain.
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However the brand has chosen to reinvent itself within French borders, the move has been wildly successful. France is actually McDonald’s second-largest market in the world (next to the U.S., of course) and was home to at least 1,200 franchises in early 2012.
The chain is hardly showing any signs of slowing down in the country. If you stop in on your next trip, expect to find a lot of French teenagers and spacious and modern interiors, as well as grass-fed beef and Dijon mustard on the menu.
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10 Fast Food Items Turned Into Fancy Dishes
[image mediaId='4aa0f7ef-afd2-4b28-b326-51b1918e1ce0' loc='L'][/image]While some foodies love to cook, and others go to fine restaurants, NYC-based Erik Trinidad expresses his love of all things edible by taking fast food menu items from restaurants like McDonald's and Taco Bell, turning them into gourmet-looking meals and posting the results on his site FancyFastFood.com. Originally just a joke with friends, his first creation was a McDonald's Big Mac and fries combo meal that he turned into a fancy steak and potatoes dish. But his project got such rave reviews, that he kept at it. Today, his site it full of creative reinventions of fast food items and he's even writing a book, The Fancy Fast Food Cookbook: Mock Recipes with No Bun Intended. WD rounded up our favorites, so take a look at these 10 works of culinary art.
Chicken Cordon Deux (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
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To create each dish, Trinidad says he first thinks up a pun between a gourmet meal and a fast food item, he then scours cookbooks for a recipe he can replace with fast food items, after which he spends three or four hours in the kitchen. In this case, starting with KFC's bun-less, calorie-packed Double Down, Trinidad created something fancier, but actually quite similar: Chicken Cordon Bleu, a French-inspired dish of chicken stuffed with cheese and ham. Taking the Double Down sandwich apart, he de-breaded and carved the patties, melted the bacon and cheese and sandwiched it in the middle of the chicken, adding a sprig of tarragon as garnish.
Chicken Pizza Masala (Pizza Hut)
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At first glance, this dish looks like creamy marinara and meatballs&mdashbut not so fast. It's actually chicken tikka masala, a classic Indian curry dish. Scraping off the toppings of a Pizza Hut pizza with chicken, onion, tomato and extra sauce, Trinidad simmered the ingredients with six buffalo wings, blue cheese dressing and marinara sauce, and garnished it with organic coriander. He then used the scraped-out crust to make naan, a leavened, oven-baked Indian bread.
Baja Bouillabaisse (Baja Fresh)
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A traditional seafood stew served in southern France, Trinidad made his own bouillabaisse with Mexican fare from Baja Fresh. Using one BFF fire-grilled burrito with langostino lobster, three grilled Mahi Mahi tacos, three original shrimp Baja tacos, one garden salad, one chicken tortilla soup, Pico de Gallo and chopped cilantro, Trinidad simmered the soup, tomatoes, onions, chicken, shrimp and lobster to create a stew. He then added the final touch to look like mussels, but beware they're only cut up condiment cups!
Osso BuKko (Burger King)
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It's unclear why Burger King started serving fire-grilled ribs in the first place, but leave it to Trinidad to turn them into a meal fit for a king. To recreate Osso Buco, a traditional Italian dish made with veal shanks, browned and simmered with tomatoes and vegetables, Trinidad made a reduction of Dr Pepper, barbeque sauce and ketchup, before adding in onion rings (stripped of their breading), carrots and chopped greens from a BK garden salad. He then added the ribs and simmered, after which he blended the French fries into a mashed potato consistency before plating everything and drizzling with sauce.
Jack in the Bento (Jack in the Box)
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Bento is a single-portion meal in Japanese cuisine, usually consisting of one protein, rice, vegetables and a sushi roll. To create his Fancy Fast Food version, Trinidad went to Jack in the Box, where he bought one Chipotle Chicken Ciabatta with Spicy Crispy Chicken, one Steak Teriyaki Bowl, one side salad and one large Coke. Dividing the ingredients into plain white rice, a salad, a chicken cutlet (in a Coca-Cola reduction) and "sushi rolls" made from the ciabatta bread filled with sticky rice, he served it all in a genuine bento box.
Boston Krème Brûlée and Fruit Tart (Dunkin' Donuts)
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To make crème brûlée, a classic French dessert with a rich custard base and a thin layer of hard caramelized sugar on top, Trinidad scooped out the filling of eight Boston Kreme donuts into a serving dish and chilled in the refrigerator before sprinkling with sugar and searing the top with a kitchen torch. Then, for the fruit tart, he blended the empty donut halves in a food processor to make dough before molding in a mini tart pan, baking and filling with three strawberry donut fillings. He garnished the tart with the filling of one Vanilla Kreme donut and served it all with one cappuccino in a porcelain mug.
Spicy Chicken Sushi (Popeyes Chicken)
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Chicken sushi? That's a new one! Using a Popeyes Chicken meal with two pieces of Bonafide spicy fried chicken, one biscuit, coleslaw, one large Coke, one loaded chicken wrap, a side each of red beans and rice, Popeyes Louisiana hot sauce and wasabi paste to garnish, Trinidad made the sushi rolls with white rice soaked in a coke reduction and stuffed with red beans and rice, accompanied by chopped chicken atop cut-up biscuits to resemble raw sushi pieces.
Wendy's Napoleon (Wendy's)
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Courtesy of Fancy Fast Food contributor Adrian Fiorino of Insanewiches.com, it's hard to believe what this sweet French treat&mdashtraditionally a layered dessert of vanilla cake, cream and custard&mdashis made from here. Fiorino bought one Wendy's Baconator, one large fry, one small Coke, one bottle of water, two small cups of ketchup and 12 sugar packets. The burgers, buns and fries were all chopped and blended separately in a food processor then layered in a French fry container, before the hard candy garnish, made from sugar and water, was added on top and the whole thing was drizzled with a coke and ketchup reduction.
Seared Pollock Cake with Southwest Ramalan Sauce (McDonald's)
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Founders of CornerstoreRestaurateur.com Devon Knight and Jason Isch submitted this creation to Fancy Fast Food. Using one McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich, one Southwest Salad with Newman's Own Southwest Dressing, one medium soda and a few packets of salt a pepper, the sandwich ingredients were blended together and molded to create faux crab cakes. The salad dressing was then warmed and drizzled over the dish, while the leftover salad pieces were added as decoration.
Tacobellini (Taco Bell)
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Creating his favorite dish to date, Trinidad says he "thought outside the tortilla" when he decided to turn Taco Bell fare into the beloved Italian pasta tortellini. Using two Burrito Supremes, one beef soft taco, one large Sierra Mist soda, packets of hot sauce and parsley, Trinidad carefully extracted the burrito and taco stuffing and mixed it in a bowl before rinsing each tortilla and steaming to soften. After cutting the tortillas into small circles, he refilled with the stuffing before folding into a tortellini shape. He then covered them in sauce and garnished with parsley, pouring the Sierra Mist into a wine glass for a classier look.
The building started as a home of a locally prominent family before housing different restaurants
Historians say the house, built as a farmhouse in 1795, was home to the family of Joseph Denton, a descendent of one of the founders of the town of Hempstead.
The Denton family owned a farm on several thousands of acres of what is now New Hyde Park, one of Hempstead's villages.
Denton's family lived in the house for generations, but much of the property left the family's hands around World War II.
The home was then transformed into a few different restaurants — most recently one called Dallas Ribs — until McDonald's bought it in 1986.
On the same day, many Twitter users replied to the @McDonalds tweet remarking that the mascot appeared creepy and disturbing.
. @McDonalds this looks like the monster that killed my uncle
— steev (@Naive_Steve) May 19, 2014
Also on May 19th, NeoGAF Forums  member LiK submitted a thread with a picture of Happy, to which many users replied with photoshopped and captioned versions of the image (shown below).
On May 20th, Redditor TurboBr0 submitted a picture of the mascot to the /r/CrappyDesign  subreddit, where it gained over 180 upvotes and 20 comments within the first three hours. In the coming days, several news sites reported on the social media backlash to the new Happy Meal character, including The Verge,  Time,  Industry Leaders Magazine,  E! Online,  USA Today,  The Daily Mail,  Bloomberg  and Mashable. 
10 Previously Unpublished Photos Of The REAL Colonel Sanders
KFC's Colonel Sanders has been resurrected in comedic new ads fronted by "Saturday Night Live" funnyman Darrell Hammond. It's a fresh PR move for a fast-food chain that began as a small cafe in 1930, and comes on the heels of McDonald's new Hamburglar ad campaign.
KFC unveiled the new Sanders as a grinning, overly patriotic caricature who shares some obvious personality traits with George W. Bush.
But there was a real Colonel Sanders, a stylish businessman who owned more than 200 custom canes and really did wear that iconic white suit everywhere he went for the last few decades of his life.
"There’s no way to replace Colonel Sanders, so we wanted to bring back his entrepreneurial spirit," Kevin Hochman, CMO of KFC U.S., told The Huffington Post. "He was feisty, original but still pragmatic and would call things as he saw them. In the tapes, video and writings we saw a real sense of humor."
Hochman said there's a "treasure trove" of Sanders memorabilia in an underground facility in Louisville, Kentucky, and shared some old photos of the real Sanders exclusively with The Huffington Post. They prove that Hammond really nails the look in the new commercials.
BONUS: Here's footage of Sanders when he made an appearance on the TV game show "What's My Line?" in 1963. In it, a panel tries to guess what Sanders does for a living, and Sanders belts out that his chicken is "finger lickin' good!"
The 1950s are widely known as the golden age of air travel.
Despite being known as the golden age of air travel, flying in the '50s was not cheap. In fact, a roundtrip flight from Chicago to Phoenix could cost today's equivalent of $1,168 when adjusted for inflation. A one-way flight to Europe could cost more than $3,000 in today's dollars.
Passengers got what they paid for, though. Flying was extremely glamorous: people dressed up, booze was served in fancy glassware, and meals consisted of dishes like roast beef, lobster, and prime rib.
However, while plane cabins were mostly integrated, some US airports were segregated until as late as 1963, Air & Space Magazine reports, despite desegregation efforts having begun in 1948.
Tight Labor Market Forces McDonald's To Raise Wages In Company-Owned Stores
McDonald’s is raising pay at 650 company-owned stores in the U.S. as part of its push to hire thousands of new workers in a tight labor market.
The fast-food giant is also encouraging its franchisees — which make up 95% of its restaurant base — to boost pay.
McDonald’s follows other chains including Chipotle, which said Monday that it will raise workers’ pay to an average of $15 per hour by the end of June. Darden Restaurants, the owner of Olive Garden and other chains, said it March that it will guarantee workers $12 per hour including tips by 2023.
Amazon, Costco and other big companies have all announced pay raises in recent weeks.
Wages and benefits for U.S. workers have been rising quickly as vaccinations increase and employers try to meet growing demand at restaurants and other businesses. U.S. workers’ total compensation rose 0.9% in the first three months of this year, the largest gain in more than 13 years, according to the Labor Department.
McDonald’s, based in Chicago, said Thursday that its hourly wages will increase an average of 10% over the next few months to $13 per hour, rising to $15 per hour by 2024. Entry-level workers will make at least $11 per hour shift managers will make at least $15 per hour.
Fight for $15 and a Union, a labor group which is trying to unionize fast food workers, said the increases aren’t enough and it will continue to demand a starting wage of $15 per hour for all McDonald’s workers.
“Clearly, McDonald’s understands that in order to hire and retain talented workers, something needs to change,” union organizer and McDonald’s employee and union organizer Doneshia Babbitt said in a statement. “Now, they’re raising pay for some of us and using fancy math tricks to gloss over the fact that they’re selling most of us short.”
Fight for $15 is planning strikes in 15 cities next Wednesday ahead of McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting.
However, the vast majority of McDonald’s nearly 14,000 U.S. stores are owned by franchisees who set pay in their own restaurants.
McDonald’s said it didn’t have data on wages at franchised restaurants but said that it’s asking them to follow suit.
Andorra: The Ugliest Country in Europe?
If there had been a day long ago when the powers that be divided up the land and handed out the properties that would become Europe, I can imagine how the various recipients might have reacted. When the French saw their rolling hills and river valleys, they’d have knelt and handled the soil and declared that good wine would come of this land. And when the Italians saw their forests, they’d have anticipated the truffles and porcini and other wild fungi that would grow there. And when the Norwegians saw their proximity to the North Pole, they’d have known they would lead the world in Arctic exploration. And when the Greeks saw their many islands, they’d have foreseen their role in literature and lore as seafarers.
And when the Andorrans saw the mountainous lands that would be theirs, just upslope of Spain and south of France, I think I know what they’d have said:
“Crummy. It’s going to be tough to build shopping malls up there.”
Because building shopping malls seems to be the primary goal of the people of Andorra, that little landlocked nation smack in the rocky, craggy heart of the Pyrenees. Their secondary objective is apparently to deface their naturally beautiful land in whatever way is most convenient. Credit must be given, for they’ve succeeded in both enterprises. Entering Andorra via France, one encounters the ugliest town in Europe—Pas de la Casa, essentially a shopping complex and ski resort, with huge warehouse-like hotels and supermarkets stacked artlessly like shipping containers along narrow streets, where people eye the identical offerings of a hundred tax free junk stores. Other cement buildings seem abandoned, making them fair game for graffiti enthusiasts. The elevation here is 6,600 feet, and to reach the heart of Andorra, one must either take a highway tunnel south through the mountain or climb another 1300 feet over Col d’Envalira, the highest paved pass in the Pyrenees. I rode over the pass, arriving near sundown. On top was more astonishing ugliness—a handful of gas stations and the would-be spectacular view of the southern mountains nearly eclipsed by a McDonald’s sign posted beside the pass marker. Down the steep highway into the valley, I passed several towns consisting of cheap liquor and clothing outlets with a few hotels and restaurants.
On the highest paved pass in the Pyrenees, Andorra has planted a McDonald's sign---an indication of the country's lenience toward commerce. Photo by Alastair Bland.
The French had warned me that Andorra wasn’t pretty, but I didn’t believe them. How, I wondered, could a mountainous country, located smack between two of the most handsome countries in the world, be dead ugly? But Andorra is, and I would guess that Andorrans, should they read this, will bristle with a sort of pride—because clearly they haven’t sought to make their country pretty to the eye, though they had every chance. They had green mountains, with chamois and trout streams and wildflowers they had cliffs and meadows and waterfalls shoot, they even had the prettiest name in Europe, and they squandered it all. For one thing, Andorra has abandoned almost all endeavors agrarian (just 9,000 sheep live here 100,000 live in the French Pyrenees). And so they grow a little tobacco, import nearly all their food and dedicate themselves to the shopping and services industries. With every slab of concrete they lay and every faux cobblestone they set and every neon light they plug in, they appear to have the goal of marring their landscape. They’ve succeeded grandly.
In France, a traveler may say to himself 30 times a day the following four words: “What a charming village.” In Andorra, such words are not spoken, at least not in that order. Instead, people say, “Cheap cigarettes!” and “Ten pairs of tube socks for 3 Euros!” and “Hooray, they’ve just opened a new perfume outlet in Canillo!”
Mountains, blue sky and sunshine cannot bring redemption to the artificial scenery of Andorra. Here, in the capital city of Andorra la Vella, the chief river of the valley flows over a bed of concrete. Photo by Alastair Bland.
One might say that Andorrans have done the best with what they have—a river canyon cut into a steep and largely rocky mountainside. I’ve seen official documents that call Andorra’s terrain percent of it, to be exact—unsuitable for agriculture, but let’s keep things in context: That land is also unsuitable for perfume outlets and duty free liquor and jewelry shops. And so the Andorrans have crammed all that they hold dear into the available land that flanks their one major highway, which careens at a 10-percent gradient in places from the high pass all the way to Spain. Along the road’s shoulder are chain-link fences and concrete barriers. There are several picnic pullouts which have been carpeted with plastic turf. Billboards and name brands scream at travelers from every direction—McDonald’s, Pepsi and all the rest. But besides commerce, there are resident people here. About 90,000 people enjoy the privilege of calling themselves Andorran. They live in scab-ugly apartment buildings, smog-gray and five stories tall and which permanently block the sunlight from the streets below—which are remarkably noisy for such a small country. Here, Andorrans walk about briskly, attractive and slim as Italians, people who dress sharply, carry glitzy shopping bags and always, it seems, have somewhere to go. There is virtually no unemployment in Andorra. It’s a country both blessed and blistered by prosperity—and they can have it. I had a glance, I had the glory of climbing 6,000 vertical feet to see it, and now I’ve had all I wanted. I am sitting in an Andorran coffee shop now, looking at my map of Spain.
For those of you who don’t care to ever visit Andorra, who could blame you—but here are a few facts and figures on this funny little landlocked nation:
Size: 180 square miles (about four times the size of San Francisco).
Population: 84,300 in 2010.
Capital city: Andorra La Vella, population 22,000—and the highest capital city in Europe, at 3,356 feet.
Main agricultural crop: Tobacco.
Highest point: Coma Pedrosa, 9,665 feet.
Average altitude: 6,000-plus feet.
Wildlife: Includes trout, bears, eagles, chamois, foxes and ducks.
Armed forces: None. (Andorra’s only expense on weaponry is reportedly for ammunition used in ceremonial salutes.)
Main industry: Tourism.
Main tourist draw: Shopping.
Tourists per year: About 10 million.
Employment: One percent in agriculture, 21 percent in industry, 78 percent in services.
Sheep population: 9,000 (compare to 30 million in New Zealand).
Cow population: 1,100.
Horse population: 200.
From France, one sees Pas de la Casa ahead. Rather than turn and run, French shoppers flock to Andorra for the prospect of saving a few Euros on cigarettes, liquor, shampoo and glitzy clothing. Photo by Alastair Bland.
Huge Line Of Cars Queue For McDonald's After Drive Thru Reopens
You would think that with more time to reflect, the ongoing global pandemic would put certain things into perspective. Well, a video has been shared online showing an enormous line of cars queuing up to a McDonald's in France after some branches reopen.
It's good to see people haven't lost their sense of what's important.
The scrummage for a Big Mac and fries comes as the fast food chain decided to reopen a number of restaurants, despite the international crisis.
The bizarre clip was taken by Valentine Pelous, who was passing by when he spotted the massive trail of cars waiting to get to the drive thru in Moissy-Cramayel, in the department of Seine-et-Marne.
He said the gridlock lasted for a mammoth three hours and it is the first restaurant to reopen in the area, with 15 stores set to open across western France.
Another resident Joshua told local media: "I had to use another road to go home because it was so gridlocked."
The 24-year-old said news of the reopening spread quickly among the residents of Moissy-Cramayel and the surrounding towns.
The queue stretched some way. Credit: Newsflash
He said: "I thought I'd stop there on my way home, but there were already so many cars. I couldn't.
"In the evening when I went to play sports, there were even more people. Some friends waited up to three hours to get their McDonald's!"
Sebastien, another local resident, said: "I went shopping around 5pm and the queue was already snail-paced. It must have lasted until 10pm."
This comes a few weeks after customers in the UK queued for miles to get their final McDonald's meal after the chain announced it would be closing up shop during lockdown.
Not knowing when they were going to be able to get their next fix of McDonald's, people flocked out in their dozens for one last taste.
Taking to Twitter, someone wrote: " I had to take the backroads to get to Sainsbury's to buy sushi for our lunch. Thought there was a massive queue to get in to the car park but the road into the supermarket was clear. The queue was a panic-buying queue for. #McDonalds . "
Another added: "Ju st went past a McDonald's and the queue for the drive thru is proper out onto a main road like no joke a 50 car queue !!"
A Look Back At The Evolution Of Dairy Queen In Photos
Whether you're from small town America or a big city, you can find Dairy Queen just about anywhere. And good thing, too, because you never know when a craving for a chocolate-dipped cone will strike. But it was a long road to fast food domination. Take a look back at how DQ became one of the most successful franchises of all time.
The idea for Dairy Queen started in a small dairy town in Illinois, many years before the eatery was actually established. It all began with John Fremont McCullough and his son Alex in 1937.
You see, in the '40s and '50s, ice cream parlors and soda shoppes were all the rage. But the McColloughs wanted to mix things up. Enter: Their invention of soft serve ice cream.
To test their formula, the father-son duo sold soft serve at a local shop owned by Sheb Noble on August 4, 1938. They ended up selling over 1,600 servings for 10 cents each in just two hours.
Although their treat was well-received, John and Alex weren't done yet. They spent the next two years creating a soft serve freezer that would distribute their ice cream at the ideal temperature.
In 1940, the first restaurant opened in Joliet, IL. Soon after, investors began operating on a franchise model and Dairy Queen expanded across the country, growing from just 10 stores in 1940 to 1,446 stores by the end of 1950. The original Dairy Queen isn't in operation today, but the building is still a landmark in Joliet.
Dairy Queen's soft serve became wildly popular. In the late '50s, the chain began expanding its menu to include hot dogs, burgers, and other hot foods.
This second iteration of the Dairy Queen logo was launched in 1958 and was used until 2001. You'll still see it on some signs today, including Brazier locations (AKA stores that sell hot food items).
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson delighted Topsham, ME, residents when he stopped his motorcade on his way to an event in nearby Lewiston to grab an ice cream for himself and Mrs. Johnson.
By the 1970s, Dairy Queen was an established fixture across the country and the chain's red logo was nationally and internationally known. Here, a branded moment is filmed for an episode of Let's Make a Deal in 1973.
A Dairy Queen customer shares his cone with his six-month-old puppy, who is a Pyrenees-Labrador mix.
One of Dairy Queen's many franchise locations in Colorado caught fire in 1978, and the local fire chief suspected arson.
The ice creamery became a popular hangout for teenagers in the '80s, especially after the introduction of the Blizzard. The soft serve treat made with mix-in toppings sparked a national craze and the chain sold over 175 million of them that year.