Makin’ the people McHappy


McDonalds these days is almost as common in China as historic pagodas and pavilions. In fact, if you’re walking around the average city, you’ll likely see more of the iconic golden arches than those beautiful angled roof’s so synonymous with the great far eastern country.

The other thing you’ll note should you go inside these McDonalds (which you will, as they are a guaranteed toilet option for the unfamiliar) is that they are always flat out busy. Myself, I am not what I would call a fan of McDonalds, but I don’t mind the odd burger here and there. In China the busy restaurants became a convenient way to eat anything that was not Chinese. While I will happily eat my weight in dumplings, and enjoy a huge range of delicious Chinese food – when you are forced to eat nothing but – the hamburger and pizza options become vastly more attractive.

One thing that always amused me about the Chinese in McDonalds was that they didn’t seem too fond of actually eating hamburgers. More often they would be sitting there wolfing down fries and ice-cream; that’s right, ice-cream. The Chinese seem somewhat obsessed with the stuff – and unlike us western folk, often eat it before their main meal – or at the same time. I don’t know about you, but for me, ice-cream strictly comes after the whatever I am eating at any given time.

So that all being said – McDonalds is booming in China, seeing growth at a rate of 10 percent annually, as opposed to 2-3 percent in the USA. The Chinese love these foreign restaurants – perhaps more for the fact it’s a western icon than the actual food. McDonalds know it too – so much so that they are opening a Hamburger university in Shanghai – yeah you read it right, a Hamburger university…

Named Hamburger U, it’s actually the seventh of its kind in the world and surprisingly, will not teach you how to actually make hamburgers but aims to improve one’s business knowledge and know-how.  McDonalds aims to have more than 5,000 graduates over the next five years – likely to feed back into the massive country-wide food domination where some 1,100 restaurants alreadyemploy approximately 20,000 staff.

Ultimately, McDonalds is looking for ways to encourage staff to stay working for them longer – where all that investment in staff development begins to pay for itself. In Australia at least, a large number of people have worked in McDonalds in their teen years – and that’s about where it ends. I can’t personally think of anyone who worked there long term as an adult – and if they did, would they really admit it?

The Chinese are a different story – young, impressionable and somewhat enthusiastic. To them it is likely considered a good job simply because it is a foreign owned company – aka opportunity. Who knows, maybe in 10-20 years from now, they too will snub their noses at these bright new career directions trumpeted to them from that scary looking clown – who also happens to feature as a large new statue outside Hamburger U.


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One Response to “Makin’ the people McHappy”

  1. Chinese website Says:

    Flipping burgers at 麦当劳 màidāngláo or McDonalds is the best job in the world.
    Flip one, eat one, flip one, eat one, fli…….

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