Baguettes rule burgers in French fast food wars

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Sophie Inge - [email protected]
Baguettes rule burgers in French fast food wars
The French prefer to scoff a baguette from Paul rather than a Big Mac from McDonalds, according to the survey. Photo: Matt@PEK/Flickr

Despite the buzz around the return of Burger King and the continued popularity of McDonalds, France is not actually addicted to US burger joints. When it comes to fast-food French boulangeries still rule the roost, a new survey has revealed.


The return of Burger King to Paris on Monday after an absence 15 years was greeted with huge hype in Paris and has prompted a few questions to be asked over the relationship of the French to that guilty pleasure called fast food.

Earlier this year, The Local reported how sales of fast food had overtaken those of traditional restaurant meals for the first time, suggesting the masses were turning their backs on brasseries in favour of a quick bite.

The fast-food industry in France was worth a reported €34 billion in 2012.

With McDonalds ever popular and Burger King about to open 400 new outlets you would be forgiven for thinking that when it comes to fast food, the French are becoming more and more attached to US fast food joints.

But that is not the case at all, according to a new survey carried out for France's Huffington Post on Tuesday.

According to the poll, French people rate Burger King in 16th place out of a total of 17 major fast food chains in France and McDonalds – known as McDo in France – was ranked 7th. The position of McDonalds might come as a a surprise given that the burger chain reportedly feeds around 2 million French people each day in its 1200 restaurants across the country.

Compatriot Subway finished even even further down in 9th place.

So what are the French wolfing down if it's not burgers? Well baguettes of course and other more Gallic quick treats.

French bakery-pâtisserie chain Paul was ranked the most popular fast food chain and in second place was Brioche Dorée, another "Made-in-France" company. 

Paul, which, according to the company website serves “light ‘French-style’ meals, including sandwiches as well as savory flans, pancakes and simple dishes and mixed salads” now has a presence in 20 countries.

The company took off in the 1950s when Francis Holder, a Frenchman from a long line of bakers, took over his parents’ firm.

His son Maxime has since turned the family business into a global brand.

But as Burger King returns to the French capital how long is this French brand loyalty set to last?

One thing is for certain, though. The French are very much in love with fast food.


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