Over the last couple of years, voices have come out inviting Egyptians to boycott US restaurant franchises. Fast-food restaurants are seen as symbols of the global American culture. So they’re an obvious target – easy to reject whenever the United States acts in a way that the consumer doesn’t like. In happier times, people found eating at or hanging around the same places an easy way to envelop themselves in a more “American” way of life.
All over the Middle East outlets of fast food which are independently owned by local franchisees have suffered an impact on image and sales. To the rescue came public relation campaigns to draw attention to these companies’ involvement in local communities. Others have launched products like McDonald’s new sandwich McArabia to emphasis localism.
But was boycotting really an issue in the first place ? A TNS research study on the fast food habits of Egyptian consumers in Cairo shows that across nearly all social classes there is now a high dependency on fast food. The study shows that 32% of Cairo’s population buy foreign branded fast food at least twice a week. It has indeed become part of everyday life.
Some of the other key findings of this study were:
• The main consumers of foreign fast food brands are SEC AB teens and adult males, while locally branded fast food is mainly consumed by SEC C2.
• Most fast food purchases are made through home or office delivery.
• No concerns of high saturated fats or unhealthy high calorie intake associated with fast food were mentioned as barriers to consumption .
• Rise in prices, a low perception of value for money and decreasing entertainment budgets were the main barriers to an increase in fast food consumption.
• KFC leads the foreign branded fast food in frequency of consumption followed by McDonalds.
• In rating attributes related to the quality of food and service, both foreign and local brands scored almost the same. This may be considered as a ‘thumbs up‘ for local brands as franchise know-how does not seem to have added value versus locally branded fast food outlets. ( Foreign brands surveyed were : KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s and Domino’s Pizza. Local brands surveyed were: Moo’men, Cook Door,Wessaya, Bon Appetite ,Tikka, and Simily’s Grill.)
When respondents were asked about the expected level of fast food consumption in the next 12 months, 60% said it would probably stay the same and 20% thought it would probably increase. That comes as no surprise. As the fast paced on-the-go type of life takes over most families today, a group family meal – whether lunch or dinner – may be happening less and less in homes in Cairo.
Thursday, August 26- 2004 @ 12:38 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.