When Americans think of McDonald’s, they usually fall into one of two camps. These two groups can be characterized by the following thoughts:

Group A: “Yay, cheap food in 30 seconds!”
Group B: “Um, ew.”

While Group B might avoid McDonald’s at all costs, Group A has no problem with sitting down to grab a quick bite to eat; they might even enjoy it. They’ve grown accustomed to the red and yellow decor, the hard plastic chairs, the food-traffic worn floors. In the United States, McDonald’s isn’t known for its ambience. It’s known for serving up a boatload of calories, fast and on the cheap.

Great Britain, on the other hand, has a somewhat difference perspective on America’s favorite fast food chain. In Europe, locals want a comfortable place to relax — they want clean, they want stylish, and they want nice, dammit. The hard and fast Mickey-D’s as we know it wouldn’t do well in, say, London, so McDonald’s Corp decided to cater to the dominant demographic.

Behold, the stylish London McDonald’s:

European McDonalds
Doesn’t look like the average American fast food joint exterior, does it?

European McDonalds
Several locations have conference-style seating upstairs.

European McDonalds
Some of the seating areas almost look like paintings, with their color selection.

European McDonalds
Even the area around the counters are made to look nice, like a place you’d want to spend time hanging out.

And down the street at Burger King… things aren’t all that different from what you’d find in the US:
European Burger King

It’s worth noting, though, that while the interior decor is an example of European finery, the food is pretty much the same as you’d find in the United States. In fact, I had a medium fries and proceeded to pay for it with a cacophony of gastronomical gurgles for the next 24 hours. Like they say, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover — regardless of how attractive that cover may be.

McDonald’s – A European Oasis of Style? Really? 16 March,2011Stephanie Stiavetti

  • Matt

    I saw a few McDonalds in NYC that looked like the Euro ones pictured above when I was there last November.

  • Jen

    Stephanie, thanks for the photos. Similar stores have been opening in the US, back around 2009. Here’s the info about the Chelsea store in NY if you want to take a look. (might be the one Matt mentioned) The company I work for provided the interior seating and decor, so it’s neat to see what other countries are doing.



  • Marcel

    Here in Germany every mcdonalds looks like or looks at least similiar to the on ein london o.o


Stephanie Stiavetti

Stephanie is a writer and cookbook author recovering from her former tech-startup life. On the side she’s also a media consultant, specializing in all forms of digital goodness: audio, video, print, design, and social media.

After leaving the tech world nearly a decade ago, Stephanie made a career jump to her lifetime love, writing. She currently writes for the Huffington Post, KQED’s Bay Area Bites, NPR, and other select media outlets. Her first cookbook,Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese, is due out in fall 2013 on Little, Brown with coauthor Garrett McCord.

Being a recovering techy leaves an indelible mark, and everything Stephanie does is infused with her deep fascination with digital technology. She has been blogging since 1999, before blog engines even existed and a great readership consisted of a handful of friends who occasionally thought to check out your site. In 2005 she started her first food blog, which she repurposed in 2007 to become The Culinary Life.

Stephanie can be called many things: food writer, essayist, professional recipe developer, cookbook author, social media consultant, videographer, documentary maker, website developer, archivist of life. Despite all of these titles, she most commonly responds to Steph.

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