McDonald's is everywhere, of course. But it's not completely cookie cutter; only about 99.9% so. For example, the McDonald's at the Heidelberg train station I used to frequent when I felt unbearably homesick in Germany had beer on tap - something you don't see in the U.S! Most McDonald's I've ever been in, though, feature incredibly dispiriting physical environments. You aren't really encouraged to linger and enjoy yourself. It's fast food, after all. It's not like it's your quaint neighborhood Starbucks.
But as we knew all along, the very rich are different from you and I, and so is their McDonald's decor. I drove down to Philly's Main Line area today for a garden tour of Carolyn's Shade Gardens. (So incredibly beautiful. Two boxes full of lovely native plants climbed in the car and came home with me...) I was feeling migrainey and stopped at a McDonad's on Lancaster Avenue for some orange juice. This is very much not how the McDonald's in my neighborhood looks.
It's amazing what a different environmental feel the (fake) flower vases on the table and framed art shots on the walls give to virtually the same soulless furniture. In the end, though, it's still the same crappy food.
I think other countries' are better. I was curious, so I searched Flickr....
"it's still the same crappy food."
And, no doubt, the same crappy smell.
We have a couple of McDonnalds in Caracas that have an annex where you can enjoy coffee and cakes like in a Starbucks. And I will add they are more relaxing that the crowded Starbucks I have visited in England or the US. You are rigth. A few touches like flowers and sofas can make a lot. It is the same crappy food. Not good for everyday, but once or twice a month they taste better that gourmet cuisine. I have the theory that too much healthy food is bad for your body and mind, and a good quarterpounder and fries with a full sugar coke restores the crappylibrium of your organism. Plus a good coffee from a expresso machine and a cake, and your are ready to face swine flu, terrorism or stupid latinamerican presidents.