November 11, 2019 – Following on from the recent look at how Croatia is the non-Starbucks capital of the EU, how prevalent is McDonalds in Croatia? And KFC?
During my time here, I have found that there are two ways to start a heated debate in Croatia if the conversation is at a lull. You can ask the following two questions, then leave the room and come back an hour later.
1. Who are the best 5 Hajduk players of all time? (Works best in Split)
2. How do you feel about Starbucks coming to Croatia?
During a very stimulating Crikvenica International Health Tourism conference in Selce this week, leading tourism guru Doug Lansky gave a powerful presentation on successful tourism. He pointed out that while tourists wanted something amazing and unique, paradoxically, the tourism world was becoming more of the same, with global franchises such as Pizza Hut and Starbucks more prevalent in many cases on foreign shores more so than origin countries like the United States.
A few days ago, we took a look at how Croatia is doing with regard to the Starbucks invasion. Rather well, it appears, and as we discussed back then, despite some 20 million tourists a year, it is the biggest country in the EU (both in terms of its own population and tourist numbers) with no Starbucks at all. And long may it continue was the general conclusion of almost all of the lively commentary on our various social media channels. Read more in Staying Authentic: Croatia the Non-Starbucks Capital of the EU.
But what about the other big global franchises? How does McDonalds in Croatia compare with the rest of the EU? Or KFC?
Information about McDonalds in Croatia in a format to compare with the rest of Europe was surprisingly hard to find. Even on the official McDonalds website, the data is from 2015 for global outlets, when there were 25 McDonalds in Croatia. According to the country-specific site, there are 30 today (see the lead photo for locations).
And those numbers for McDonalds in Croatia are broadly in line with this 2016 map of Big Mac stores per million inhabitants in Europe. And, the small Baltic states aside, Croatia once more leads the EU in the lowest number of McDonalds per million inhabitants. All the more impressive given the strong tourism demand in the country, where familiar convenience food and recognisable brands are a comfort for the less adventurous tourist.
Croatia is not number one when it comes to KFC, but it is still very resistant to the Colonel’s chicken revolution. While Poland has embraced KFC like almost nowhere else in Europe, Croatia has so far resisted largely – just 8 outlets at the moment in Croatia, six of which are in Zagreb.
Croatia prides itself – quite rightly – on its authentic food and wine. In an increasingly globalised world, the resistance to the Starbucks and the McDonalds in Croatia can be turned into a positive promotional tool for those looking for more authentic and discerning tourism. Speaking of which, where else in the world would you find such an incredible selection of niche food festivals as you can find in Natural Food Festivals: 25 Things to Know about Croatian Gourmet Goodness.