HONG KONG: McDonald’s has taken rice off its menus in Hong Kong after an experiment in offering Asian-style dishes along with its usual fare of burgers and fries failed to win over diners.
A spokeswoman for the US fast-food chain said the two rice dishes it launched in its Hong Kong restaurants 18 months ago had been removed.
McDonald’s - which first persuaded Hong Kong people to switch from rice dishes to Big Macs in the 1970s - raised eyebrows when it began serving up chicken and rice dishes in 2002.
They were introduced in markets across the region as an attempt to broaden to appeal of McDonald’s to Asian palates at a time when the US fast food chain was seeing sales fall worldwide.
At the time, it said the US$2.80 rice dishes had been introduced because it was “what our customers are asking for”. McDonald’s described initial reaction as “extremely positive”.
However, rice dishes remain on the menu in outlets in Thailand, which launched them before Hong Kong, and in Taiwan.
In Hong Kong, the chain is instead concentrating on the city’s escalating appetite for coffee shops, launching four new-style restaurants serving up espresso coffee, salads and gourmet sandwiches along with the regular McDonald’s range.
“We are giving customers what they desire,” said Patrick Mahoney, managing director of McDonald’s Hong Kong in a statement.
“We are catering to a segment of the existing McDonald’s customers who would like more fine food and coffee choices.”
The new restaurants put McDonald’s in direct competition with Pacific Coffee, Pret A Manger and Starbucks, which have expanded rapidly in Hong Kong in recent years. - dpa