Where was the first communist McDonalds? I know what’s going through your head, the lines in Moscow, the Deng reforms and all that, but the first communist McDonalds has an even more unique tale to it.
Communism and McDonalds are pretty much what you might call the polar opposites, communism is well communism, while McDonalds is often seen as the ultimate exhibit of the success of western style capitalism.
You can read about what counts as a Socialist country here.
Communism and western goods
While communist always officially provided for their people, western goods held not only cache, but also serious value. This ranged everywhere from chocolates to things like camel cigarettes and all Eastern Bloc countries had foreign currency stores where you could buy western stuff. In China these were called friendship stores.
In essence these were the only places you could get stuff if you had any money, with supplies of local stuff being of a lower quality and limited at best.
But some western goods were also sold openly such as Pepsis, which the Soviet Union purchased with vodka and later war ships. Yes at one point Pepsi had a Navy.
To read about the Navy of Pepsi click here.
McDonalds though for the most part was one step too far, at least until the dying days of communism that is!
Where was the first communist McDonalds?
Where was the first communist McDonalds? The first McDonalds in a communist state opened on March 24th 1988 in Belgrade, capital of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, beating communist Hungary and Budapest by a mere month. Moscow and the USSR had to wait until the 31st January 1990 to get their first Big Mac fix.
Ironically it took me living in former communist country that does not have McDonalds to see what it was like to line up for a new franchise, which I did in Cambodia to get into 7-Eleven. You can read about that here.
McDonalds in the USSR
When McDonalds first opened in Moscow we saw those iconic scene of people lining up, quite how disappointed they were is anyone’s guess, give me borsch, some vodka and salted fish anyway.
McDonalds though stayed, sadly it was the USSR that was to leave the party early.
Communist and McDonalds in the 21st century!
Officially, China, Laos, Vietnam, Cuba and North Korea are the hold out communist countries. McDonalds is a big deal in China, although smaller than KFC. Vietnam love Lotteria, but have a few branches of McDonalds. Laos only has pizza hut and Cuba while having its own El Rapido state run franchise also has McDonalds on the US base at Guantanamo Bay. That leaves North Korea…..
Don’t believe everything you read, North Korea do not claim Kim Jong Il invented the hamburger, but you can now get a decent burger in the country.
To read about burgers in North Korea click here.
McDonalds vs Communism who won?
McDonalds vs Communism and the winner is!!!! As Zhou Enlai famously proclaimed about the French Revolution, it really is too early to tell.