Thursday, September 30, 2010

McDonalds to enter Ghana? I won't be welcoming them

I love Twitter. That's where I get my news these days, alongside Facebook. Times have changed my people. My friend @Freegeneration tweeted of McDonalds opening up in Ghana and I was like.... in a nutshell. Hell, no! You can stop reading here but that was really the impulsive reaction. Well, here's my reaction to this news and my calculated response.

McDonalds, the world’s largest chain of restaurants serving more than 58 million customers daily is considering opening up branches in Ghana by early 2011. Seth El, a US-based Ghanaian businessman, who disclosed this to the Business Guide newspaper in an interview, stated that McDonalds would open its restaurant initially at some popular places in Accra such as the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Osu, Spintex road and the Accra Mall.

Of course, where else them go open other than Accra? I bet more people will move to Accra so they can partake in the McDonalds' experience. Can the government redraw its infrastructure improvement to meet the traffic needs? :-) I mean, we already have Mr. Bigs and other type companies. There are also local Ghanaian McDonalds. When McDonalds opens their Accra store, the urge of Ghanaians flying abroad so they can partake in the McDees experience will dissipate a bit. Which is not necessarily a bad thing when you think of it. Ghana must be seen in a very good light for McDonalds to be considering entering the country. That's the bright side, as I just discussed with my Nigerian friend. Ghana got someone's attention? It must be Asamoah Gyan's World Cup goal. #VIM! Just kidding, Ghana has making a lot of good things happen to merit international business.

Am I the only one who realises that McDonalds is cheap food in the US but will be expensive food in Ghana? In fact, the 'places' in Ghana serving their type food are in the expensive food business. It is an event to go to such places in Ghana but in the US, it is not. Of course, the idea of burgers, etc are exotic in Ghana, just how waakye and fufu injera & yebeg tibs are exotic in the US. I am not a fan of McDonalds, I buy from there when there is nothing else to buy. It will be cool to say we have a McDonalds in Ghana but I won't be buying from there. And no one better ask me to take them there either lol.

And now we are going to replace our tantalizing and tatalalicious organic food with processed food eh? Agya wadwo. I've already have about genetically modified foods entering the market. We are not starving in Ghana, and even if you think we are, we don't need processed food to solve that problem. We don't need processed food to ensure everyone eats because like we've seen, these fast-food types are higher priced than my favorite neighbourhood waakye joint.

McDonalds primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken products, French fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, shakes and desserts. In response to obesity trends in Western nations and in the face of criticism over its products, the company has modified its menu to include alternatives considered healthier such as salads, wraps and fruits.

Now, this is all good but at what to the average Ghanaian? Me, give me Auntie Muni waakye all day. If you call McDonalds entering Ghana globalization, let's revisit that when you have Auntie Muni Waakye in Alaska. Yes, let's push our own. We matter as well. If we have issues with the Auntie Amalia waakye selling kiosk because it's in a bad location, we can start similar ones in better locations and under better conditions. Kumasi's Abusua and Accra's Asanka have shown it can be done. Heck, they don't have Facebook parties at Chicken Inn, they have it at Auntie Muni Waakye. Yes, go find out about "Auntie Muni Waakye", you probably won't be reading about them in your newspapers, but some blogger somewhere like me is praising it left, right, center. They are on facebook. Yes boss! #VIM!

How about the favorite argument - it will be creating jobs. I guess we don't know how to create jobs in Ghana. Actually we do, but not well-paying jobs. McDonalds will pay well, they ain't like the Chinese. No, I didn't just say that. There is demand for McDonalds in Ghana. Surely, the middle-class is growing, the returnees are craving the McDonalds they missed so bad in America. Won't it be interesting to see if our 'bogas' will gladly take the McDonalds jobs they had abroad in Ghana? How about a reality show while we are at it?

I am not a fan of this move, especially with the money going back into the Richard and Maurice McDonald brothers' pockets. Let's support our own. Is Ghana's being counted as a country with a McDonalds restaurant the best we can do? Surely not.
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