Hooters and Globalization
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds, this hilarious McSchwarma commercial from Israel has made the blogosphere rounds, even prompting Josh Chafetz to highlight James L. Watson’s writings on how McDonald’s adapts to local culture. Interestingly, the Christian Science Monitor discusses this very topic today as it relates to China:
McDonald’s has managed to bridge the cultural divide not only with Big Macs and double cheeseburgers, but also with a triangle-shaped tortilla wrap holding sliced beef, teriyaki sauce, and hash browns, as well as with a new pork-patty sandwich smothered in black pepper sauce (the sauce has been a Western-style favorite in Shanghai since the mid-19th century).
But the best part of the article is on the redefinition of another American institution:
Thanks to an American restaurant chain, savvy Shanghai residents now have one more English word to add to their fast-developing international lexicon: Hooters. But here, unlike in the US, the refrain is more along the lines of “Hey, let’s take Grandmom and the kid to Hooters tonight!”
Shanghai, China’s largest and most commercial city, was chosen as the country’s launching pad for the company, even though Hooters gals in Shanghai differ from their American counterparts. As local branch manager Cameron Jiang notes, “The servers here are not so busty and curvy,” a fact that matters not one hoot to the Chinese.
Instead, Hooters Shanghai succeeds in a completely different way: by emphasizing welcoming friendliness, not sex appeal. In a country where overworked and underpaid wait staff are not known for their sweetness, Hooters offers something new: courteous, attentive service with a smile. And local patrons love it.
I bet they do!