McDonald’s Korea announced yesterday that it will invest 500 billion won ($449 million) in the local market and double its number of restaurants here over the next five years.
The plan includes opening 243 new restaurants in Korea by 2015, most of which will be franchised locations, Sean Newton, the chief executive officer of McDonald’s local unit, said yesterday during at press conference in Myeong-dong, central Seoul. About 80 percent of the new restaurants will also feature drive-through windows, Newton added.
The move comes as the local unit of U.S.-based McDonald’s shifts from streamlining internal systems and services to expanding its footprint in Korea.
In outlining the goal of having a total of 500 restaurants in Korea by 2015, Newton stressed the importance of the local market to McDonald’s overall growth.
The article says the chain's presence in Korea is still far behind Lotteria, which has 890 stores. McDonald's Korea's CEO closes the article with
“[O]ur goal is not to be bigger than Lotteria but to develop a successful McDonald’s market . . . We will grow not by stealing market share, but by growing the market.”
The Chosun Ilbo and Korea Times have articles on this as well. In a post last week on fast food restaurants in Seoul we looked at the geographical distribution of several Western chains and the idea that more expensive menu options are favored in the city's trendier areas.
Also in the news today is the "McDonald's Grandmother" (맥도날드 할머니), a woman spending her days at a Seoul McDonald's, and the subject of a recent SBS documentary. From 깜뉴스:
맥도날드 할머니는 매일 밤 9시만 되면 패스트푸드점 맥도날드에 나타나 새벽 4시까지 새우잠을 자다 사라졌다. 마땅한 거처도 없이 하루의 대부분을 맥도날드와 교회, 스타벅스를 오가며 불편하게 보내고 있었다.
더 충격적인 사실은 할머니가 24시간 동안 한 번도 눕지 않고 커피 한 잔으로만 끼니를 때우며 10년 째 생활하고 있다는 점. 특히 그녀가 유명대학교 불문과를 졸업했으며, 외무부에서 근무한 엘리트였다는 사실이 알려져 충격과 호기심을 불러 일으켰다.
And more 신기해 still, she reads an English newspaper every day! *cough* See also this post on McRefugees in Korea.