GCC consumers spending $2m a day at McDonald’s

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Yousif Abdulghani, Managing Director, McDonald's Middle East and Africa.

Yousif Abdulghani, Managing Director, McDonald's Middle East and Africa.

Consumers in the GCC are spending US$2m a day eating at fast food giant McDonald’s, as the company experiences record growth in the region.

According to Yousif Abdulghani, managing director at McDonald’s Middle East Development Company, which oversees its Middle East and Africa franchises, the six GCC countries are now seeing 900,000 customers a day at its 369 outlets.

“A record year in terms of sales. In general, we have been growing at the rate of 15 to 20 percent on revenues year-on-year,” he said, in an interview to be published in Arabian Business on Sunday.

The company, which operates seven-fully owned franchises in the GCC, saw revenues of US$750m last year, and is now undertaking a huge expansion plan that will see 585 outlets by 2015.

“Saudi Arabia is another big market for us so we look at both, the eastern and central region, as well as western region and combined we ended 2012 with 136 restaurants across Saudi Arabia and we intend to reach as high as 240, so we really are doubling up in Saudi Arabia,” Adbulghani added.

The UAE  - which currently has 108 McDonald's outlets - will also see huge growth with 150 outlets by 2015.

Speaking at the Gulfood conference in Dubai on Tuesday, Abdulghani also highlighted the growing use of social media platforms by customers. Abdulghani was discussing major trends affecting the Middle East food industry in a lively panel debate session entitled 'Who is Shaping the Future of Food? Big Business, Consumer or Public Policy?'

“What is exciting and also challenging to see is how lifestyle shifts, technology and social media are changing the way that people interact with brands in our industry. Customers no longer want just to be broadcast to, they expect to be able to have personalised conversations and interact one-on-one with brands," Abdulghani said.

"For example, consumers are more active in seeking nutritional information of the food they consume – whether this means checking the packaging for the ingredients or nutritional content. McDonald’s are leaders in making sure nutritional information of our products is conveniently available on our website, tray mats and flyers and will continue to innovate here to make sure our consumers make informed choices of the food they eat.”

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Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Qatari, ironically I was going to the gym but I decided to offer you a goodwill gift
You may find this interesting:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15951877
I will quote from the summary:
"This study is a community-based national epidemiological health survey, conducted by examining Saudi subjects"
And...
"Obesity and overweight are increasing in KSA with an overall obesity prevalence of 35.5%. Reduction in overweight and obesity are of considerable importance to public health."

I will draw your attention to the "Saudi subjects" part

Have fun

Posted by: Hisham

No one will ever die from eating a Big Mac every once in a while (unless they choke on it), honestly said, no other burger tastes better. But people who take their kids to fastfood places daily or even weekly are the same kinds of people who shouldn't have any kids. Learn to cook and feed your kids (and yourself for that matter) some real food with real nutrients (instead of believing those preposterous "information", or better said marketing, labels on fastfood).

Posted by: Thomas

McDonalds is fast and convenient, something food consumers love; plus, McDonalds engineers their food to be quite tasty and something consumers crave, so this growth is not unexpected. As economies grow, especially in the Middle East, McDonalds is perfectly positioned to grow along with them.

Posted by: Red Snappa

Let's say an average spend of $6 per person, that's 333,000 diners per day @ 1,000 calories each = 333 million calories.

3,500 calories = 1 pound (0.45 kilos) gain in weight

Potential daily mass weight gain = 95,143 pounds (42,814 kilos)

Excuse me while I avoid a coronary!

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Qatari, given that the highest percentage of inhabitants in the UAE is Indians, and given that most of them are laborers I am fairly comfortable with the assumption that they contribute very little to the epidemic of obesity. Even for non laborers you have to explain the difference with the same population at home

Did I mention that obesity rates in KSA (where in fact Saudis are a substantial majority) are not so low either

I am also surprised to know that all these talk about the rise in diabetes is just "racists pre-judgmental claims" but I am sure the health authorities here will be happy to hear that
Same about child obesity (you could check those racist organizations like WHO and the Arab Health Forum)

It seems hiding the head under the sand is a favorite past time in the region, I would have thought that the increasing waist lines made that harder. The only ignorance here is trying to hide behind averages, but that is your privilege, it will not be up to me to clean this mess

Posted by: Telcoguy

@realiste you can find research specific to nationals. It takes some 2 minutes. Unfortunately AB does not seem to like references to NIH, and in terms of racism in Qatar it also does not like links to its own articles. How amusing

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Qatari, ask AB to publish any of my (failed) attempts to reply you.

Posted by: realiste

@qatari
it also shows just how intolerant you are if you cannot understand ironic humour.
please open your mind and dont close it to the beauty of the language in full flow.

Posted by: Qatari

@Telcoguy,
About your last point, "Maybe they will hire expats to exercise here"
Who do you mean by they? I assume you mean McDonalds consumers. The fact that the population of expats in GCC is higher than the nationals tells us that McDonalds consumers in GCC are mostly expats. Don't bring your racists pre-judgmental claims here, this shows how ignorant you "Expat Commentators" have become when reading any random article related to the GCC.

Posted by: Irfan Khan

And they wonder why Diabetes and Obesity is on the rise in the GCC....!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

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