McDonald’s Adopts Blue Signs for Kosher Branches in Israel

McDonald’s has changed its trademark red signs to blue on its kosher restaurants in Tel Aviv.

Photo sraeli customers at a McDonald's restaurant in Tel Aviv March 2, 2006. Under pressure from the city's chief rabbi, two Tel Aviv branches of the fast food firm McDonald's have changed the colour of their trademark signs to assure diners that their burgers and fries are kosher. In a first for McDonald's Corp., the golden arches at the two branches have new blue backgrounds, replacing the trademark red ones. The new signs also display the word 'kosher', both in Hebrew and English. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun Under pressure from the city’s chief rabbi, two Tel Aviv branches of the fast food firm McDonald’s have changed the color of their trademark signs to assure diners that their burgers and fries are kosher. In a first for McDonald’s Corp., the golden arches at the two branches have new blue backgrounds, replacing the trademark red ones. The new signs also display the word “kosher,” both in Hebrew and English.

The changes were made after Tel Aviv’s chief Rabbi, Israel Meir Lau, demanded that a distinction be made. “I was worried people would be confused, especially tourists who do not know Hebrew,” Lau said. “Blue is the sky, blue is the flag of Israel and blue is not red,” Lau said. “There must be a clear and sharp difference.”

All meat served at McDonald’s branches in Israel is already kosher. But most of the more than 111 outlets serve dairy and meat items together and are open on the Jewish Sabbath and religious holidays, which is forbidden under Jewish law. Only 12 branches are considered strictly kosher, where the menu does not include dairy products and the food is prepared to meet religious standards. Those 12 outlets are closed on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.

A shrewd business decision on McDonald’s part. Indeed, they have done a good job of varying their menus and practices to accomodate local customs abroad. For example, franchises in Egypt have a McFalafel and those in India feature mostly vegetarian burgers. And, as fans of “Pulp Fiction” know, they don’t have quarter pounders in France. Because of the Metric system.

Of course, not everyone is happy with the change:

Roi Gerstein was unmoved. “I do not like this change because I am used to the red sign,” he said, adding that kosher burgers without cheese were “just not tasty.”

I’m guessing he’s not the target audience.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.