Facing fierce competition from casual dining and gourmet burger restaurants, McDonald’s Corp., the world’s largest restaurant chain, will begin serving alcohol in South Korea for the first time in Asia.
In Korea, the number of people enjoying burgers with beer has been rising recently and McDonald’s move to serve alcoholic beverages in the country is to jump on the bandwagon, industry experts said. Also the number of teenager customers visiting the international fast-food chain has sharply dropped in Korea and now more than 90 percent of its customers are in their twenties to fifties, allowing it to consider opening an eatery serving alcohol in the country.
Selling beer at fast-food restaurants has become a trend across the globe as the fast-food industry is trying to fend off growing competition from casual dining and gourmet burger restaurants and boost sales.
McDonald’s is already selling alcoholic beverages in some of its outlets in the U.S. and Europe. It successfully won consumers in Germany, the so-called homeland of beer, by starting offering beer together with burgers in 1971. In France, McDonald’s serves beer and wine while alcohol is added to beverage menu in its restaurants in Spain and Italy. The company also began “McBrew” service last summer in its drive-thru outlets in the U.S.
According to the sources, if McDonald’s finds its first beer-serving restaurant in Korea successful, it would consider opening more similar stores in other areas in Seoul like Gangnam and Sinchon, the busy streets where young and hip Koreans in their twenties and thirties flock into.
By Chun Ji-hyun, Seo Jin-woo
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