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Old 07-10-2016, 02:47 PM
 
662 posts, read 940,937 times
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My wife and I have started traveling abroad now that we have the time and can finally afford it. In all places-Rome, Barcelona, Edinburg,, Rio, Nice, London- I see McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, etc., and I feel like these American fast food places are polluting the local environment. I admit, here at home I frequent these places (well, not KFC). However, when I came to an intersection in one of these cities and there was an American fast food joint on all four corners I was sickened by how trashy they seemed . Perhaps it's just the garish signage and logos that they have, mixed in with the local architecture, but it really seems to cheapen the image of what America has to offer. I have no problem with American clothing retailers, etc (although some are, themselves, derived from foreign business or names like Armani or Cardin, or even Polo or Macy's). Is our US image largely based on fast food? Or is this just an idiosyncratic reaction by one person?
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:50 PM
 
735 posts, read 432,149 times
Reputation: 597
Fast food is actually a great invention, though it's not the coolest thing. They do exist for a reason. Fast food industry is just business, nothing more nothing less.

US image is good in so many ways that you can't see by walking down the street. For example, big names like Stanford and MIT are respected worldwide, the U.S is still the frontrunner in research community.
Also, Microsoft Windows, Apple and Android are ubiquitous. The US is leading the rest of the world in technology. They are fancier than fast food, don't they?
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:59 PM
 
Location: On the road
5,959 posts, read 2,900,287 times
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What Bayesian said. Those restaurants wouldn't be there if locals didn't vote with their feet by going in to order food.

I don't judge Swedes by the obnoxious blue IKEA sign either.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:28 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
38,022 posts, read 55,817,679 times
Reputation: 89804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bayesian View Post

US image is good in so many ways that you can't see by walking down the street. For example, big names like Stanford and MIT are respected worldwide, the U.S is still the frontrunner in research community.
Also, Microsoft Windows, Apple and Android are ubiquitous. The US is leading the rest of the world in technology. They are fancier than fast food, don't they?
Most studies say - not anymore!
Seemingly everywhere you look, one or another pundit is predicting the imminent decline of the United States and the end of the American Century.

- Economic output countries devote to R&D investment - The U.S. ranks sixth. Israel is in first place, followed by Sweden, Finland, Japan, and Switzerland, which make up the top five.
- Scientific and engineering researchers per capita - ranks seventh. Finland takes the top spot, followed by Sweden, Japan, Singapore, and Denmark. Norway, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand round out the top ten.
- Innovations, measured as patents per capita - first place, followed by Japan, Switzerland, Finland, and Israel. Sweden, Germany, Canada, Denmark, and Hong Kong round out the top ten.
- Combined all - The United States ranks third.

Others put Japan on the first place. (US is third)
Top 10 Countries with Highest Technology in the World
12 Most Technologically Advanced Countries 2015

Blomberg rates US on #6.
The Bloomberg Innovation Index - Bloomberg Business

Most High-Tech exports - China, then Germany, and US #3
Countries with the Most High-Tech Exports - WorldAtlas.com

... etc...
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Old 07-10-2016, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,685 posts, read 16,112,809 times
Reputation: 7710
The fast food chains that go global all adapt to local market conditions and it's actually pretty interesting to see how different variations on the restaurant's theme pop up. In India, a Big Mac doesn't have beef, in Israel, they have McFalaffel, in some New England outposts, they sell a lobster roll... KFC was the first fast food outlet into mainland China and their early presence involved table service and the new middle class taking each other there for date night as a sign they were making it in the brave new world of capitalism.

Remember that at worst, you can generally have access to a clean restroom for the price of a small soda at one, something not easy to find in some locales, and really they're no more tacky than the local fast food options like Costa coffee or Quick burger.
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Old 07-10-2016, 09:00 PM
 
Location: NYC, CHI, UK
466 posts, read 431,084 times
Reputation: 744
I get what you mean, but it doesn't bother me. I've frequented fast food restaurants around the world and if you look, they're all filled with locals. If it really mattered to them, the places wouldn't exist.

As mentioned above, global chains adapt their menus to the local market. Here's a blog written by someone who travels around the world (I assume for business) and reports on the things McDonald's offers in each country they have visited. McDonald's Around the World
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:42 AM
 
9,262 posts, read 10,918,044 times
Reputation: 9918
Quote:
Originally Posted by sky1949 View Post
My wife and I have started traveling abroad now that we have the time and can finally afford it. In all places-Rome, Barcelona, Edinburg,, Rio, Nice, London- I see McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, etc., and I feel like these American fast food places are polluting the local environment. I admit, here at home I frequent these places (well, not KFC). However, when I came to an intersection in one of these cities and there was an American fast food joint on all four corners I was sickened by how trashy they seemed . Perhaps it's just the garish signage and logos that they have, mixed in with the local architecture, but it really seems to cheapen the image of what America has to offer. I have no problem with American clothing retailers, etc (although some are, themselves, derived from foreign business or names like Armani or Cardin, or even Polo or Macy's). Is our US image largely based on fast food? Or is this just an idiosyncratic reaction by one person?

I totally get where you are coming from, and I used to feel the same way when I started traveling, but try not to take it on personally. If a city outside of the USA wants a Starbucks, McDonalds, or whatever...then it's what they want. It's THEIR country and it's not our responsibility to keep these brand names out in order to keep the locations charming for us. If locals want a KFC (common years ago when I was travelling the Caribbean, not sure about now), then that's their prerogative. Did I sigh upon seeing a KFC sign and wonder about the appeal considering the wonderful local food? Yes. Garish signs? Yes! But if the people who live there like KFC then they like KFC.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:46 AM
 
Location: On the road
5,959 posts, read 2,900,287 times
Reputation: 11407
Quote:
Originally Posted by elnina View Post
Most studies say - not anymore!
Seemingly everywhere you look, one or another pundit is predicting the imminent decline of the United States and the end of the American Century.

- Economic output countries devote to R&D investment - The U.S. ranks sixth. Israel is in first place, followed by Sweden, Finland, Japan, and Switzerland, which make up the top five.
- Scientific and engineering researchers per capita - ranks seventh. Finland takes the top spot, followed by Sweden, Japan, Singapore, and Denmark. Norway, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand round out the top ten.
- Innovations, measured as patents per capita - first place, followed by Japan, Switzerland, Finland, and Israel. Sweden, Germany, Canada, Denmark, and Hong Kong round out the top ten.
- Combined all - The United States ranks third.

Others put Japan on the first place. (US is third)
Top 10 Countries with Highest Technology in the World
12 Most Technologically Advanced Countries 2015

Blomberg rates US on #6.
The Bloomberg Innovation Index - Bloomberg Business

Most High-Tech exports - China, then Germany, and US #3
Countries with the Most High-Tech Exports - WorldAtlas.com

... etc...
I'm not sure per capita measures make someone a leader, otherwise Luxembourg leads the world economies and North Korea is by far the strongest military. China exporting things designed in the US by companies like Apple hardly make them a world leader in technology either.

If you look at who leads the world in total spending on scientific research, who employs the most Nobel Prize winners, the world's top universities the US dominates sometimes with 8 or 9 of the top 10, largest technology companies include Apple/Google/Microsoft/Facebook/Amazon with China's Alibaba and Korea's Samsung the big foreign companies.

There is no right or wrong since there is no agreement on how the leader is defined.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:26 AM
 
3,431 posts, read 3,051,616 times
Reputation: 4133
To put a positive spin on it, U.S. brands often have an image of being basically popular, accessible, affordable, and a reflection of "democratic" tastes. They have a casual vibe. Levi's, Coca Cola, and even fast food places... those are recognized around the world.

It's true that they're not high-end like the classic product brands associated with Switzerland, France, Germany, or Italy. But that's kind of the appeal U.S. brands have for a lot of people worldwide. They like the "wild west" rebel image.
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Old 07-11-2016, 05:28 AM
 
735 posts, read 432,149 times
Reputation: 597
KFC and McDonald's are among the worst food available in the U.S. Better restaurant chains are rarely exported to other countries, such as Rudy's BBQ, Taco Cabana, Chick Fil A, Buffalo wild wings and Schlotzsky's.

Maybe Europeans believe American food are always as awful as KFC. This is definitely quite embarrassing.
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