McDonald’s has previously left the country for specific geopolitical or economic reasons. But it is a town where the fast food giant lost the fight with gastronomic tradition and had to close all its freedoms because of the disapproval of the inhabitants.
This happened in Bolivia, where the government’s famous Big Mac did not find a place in the stomach of the citizens, as published by El Economista. This is reflected in the tables Why McDonald’s decommissioning?, by Fernando Martínez, and a recent publication by the consultant and adviser to companies, Laureano Turienzo.
In 1997, McDonald held the grand opening of his tallest building in the world — at 3,625 meters high — in La Paz. He was also the first to win in the country, which was the only one left in Latin America. The agents then set off from Chicago with great success.
According to Turienzo, in addition, not only the top executives of the chain were expected at that time, but also “Bolivian upper and middle class”. “The residents of New York, Buenos Aires, Madrid or Moscow were going to do it,” he pointed out. It was a very social event, which was also threatened by left-wing movements that “did not sympathize with the symbol of North American imperialism”.
rise and fall
McDonald’s was an immediate success. “People had to wait hours and hours to be able to enter the restaurant. The Bolivian upper class traveled from other parts of Bolivia to eat at that McDonald’s, to eat, to be seen and to tell about it,” describes Turienzo. This success has allowed seven more franchises to be opened in Bolivia: two in La Paz, three in Santa Cruz and two in Cochabamba.
But this situation did not last long. “Soon that food was despised by those palates accustomed to exuberant food, with the voice of the forest, indigenous, natural, totemic, coming out of Pachamama. They did not want the distant, plastic, bland, disgusting taste.” retail expert
After a good reception, McDonald’s franchise owners decided to introduce a new option on the menu, the Mc Salteña. But the chain refused, because “they were what they (experienced) were, and because of that they triumphed around the world. Bolivia was the one that had to adapt”, details that were told from Chicago Turienzo.
And Bolivia refused to adapt. This, together with the fact that the chain experienced losses between 2001 and 2002 forced the closure of all its unprofitable units both in the United States and in other countries, including all of its operations in Bolivia.