(Originally written January 4, 2013)
Here in Toronto, people line up for lunch at gourmet burger joints, taco shacks in Parkdale and all kinds of fancy restaurants in the financial district. But in Marseille, the second-largest city in France, the new hot spot that has people waiting in line for over an hour… is Burger King. I kid you not. According to Europe 1, « le restaurant Burger King, le premier de la chaîne américaine de fast-food à rouvrir ses portes en France, attire jusqu’à 2.000 clients par jour. » (Translation: “The Burger King restaurant, the first reopening of the American chain in France, attracts up to 2,000 clients per day.”) At that pace, they’ll have fed the entire city in less than 12 years!
In fact, les Marseillais are hitting the King so hard that the restaurant’s running outta Whoppers. A manager told Europe 1 “Nous sommes victimes du succès, il n’y a plus de Whoppers dans les stocks ! Le camion est là mais il faut le temps de monter la marchandise.” (Translation: “We’re victims of our own success; there are no more Whoppers in stock! The truck is here but it takes time to unload the merchandise.”) But hey, the BK chicken sandwich is not too bad, either…
And here’s the craziest thing: the Burger King in question is located in the Marseille-Provence airport. People are actually driving all the way out to the airport to eat at BK! As one client admitted to Europe 1, « c’est “complètement bizarre” de venir manger un hamburger dans un aéroport. “Mais comme il venait d’ouvrir et que les amis ont dit qu’il fallait au moins goûter…” » (Translation: “It’s completely bizzare to go eat a hamburger at an airport. But since it just opened, my friends said I at least had to try it…”)
I guess this is what it feels like to be reunited with a loved one. Burger King used to have 39 restaurants in France, but they pulled out of the country in ’97. And while French Women Don’t Get Fat, it seems the French do enjoy eating fast food. According to a 2010 survey of 10,000 Frenchmen and women, seven out of 10 meals served outside the home were purchased at burger barns, pizza places, Halal huts and other fast-food joints. I guess you can’t have coq au vin every night, eh?