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A Doddsson with cheese and a side of fries

As anyone will know who has been following the news out of Iceland this past week, the owners of the McDonald’s franchise have decided to drop it and open a new place, called Metro.

As many of you will also know, it was old Davíð Oddsson, then-PM of Iceland, who scarfed down the very first McD hamburger in Iceland, back in 1993.

Some of us have waxed lyrical about the McDonald’s departure symbolizing the end of the Doddsson era, with its runaway free-market capitalism that now has nosedived so spectacularly.

In a full-page advertisement today, the new Metro burgerjoint proves that it has its finger firmly on the national pulse by proclaiming that anyone named Davíð will get a free burger on its first day of operations – which will be tomorrow.

No news yet as to old Doddsson plans to take advantage of this stellar offer – although it would certainly be much to his credit if he did.

Their next step is surely to give Doddsson his own personal burger, named after him. I’m sure they’d make a killing.

OVERCAST AND RAINY
Fairly unexciting weather today, frankly. The same mild temps – 7°C [43F]. Sunrise was at 9.06, sunset due for 5.14 [gulp!].

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  • ReallyEvilCanine October 31, 2009, 3:03 pm

    Not so much “runaway free-market capitalism” as “wasteful consumption”. By having McDonald’s instead of something local much money was siphoned off with 0-return purely for the “glamour” of the name brand, more money disappeared through purchases of foreign goods rather than local, and even more money for the jobs lost from those foreign purchases. It’s a small version of what’s to come for the big players — a loss of the manufacturing/production base and unsustainable one-way foreign trade.

  • Lissa October 31, 2009, 3:27 pm

    It would have to be a very thick and greasy burger, no?

  • James October 31, 2009, 3:52 pm

    Warning: Big Doddsson burgers contain psychotropic substances that alter brain function. Reported side effects include exaggerated consumerist tendencies and accumulation of excessive debt. Big Doddson burgers are highly addictive, but election therapy and new government support can help break the cycle of dependency. Note that the ethics and legality of Big Doddsson burgers are the subjects of continuing debate.

  • Jessica October 31, 2009, 5:19 pm

    I’m sure a lot of people (especially children & teenagers without ID) will claim to be named David tomorrow. And is this only limited to first names? Are you excluded if your last name is Davidsson or Davidsdottir? While we’re at it, isn’t this promotion sexist? Only men can get free burgers this way! Ladies, let’s get our pots and pans and riot!

  • hildigunnur October 31, 2009, 7:23 pm

    Einn Dabba takk! and Lissa, yeah, greasy, you bet…

  • Dean October 31, 2009, 7:34 pm

    Luckily you didn’t import the insane litigation culture of the US. Otherwise, in a few years time people will be suing Metro for selling greasy David hamburgers which cause indigestion and addition.

  • Kris October 31, 2009, 8:28 pm

    How many Davids in the phone book? As far as I recall, not too many. Nice publicity stunt, though.
    How about burgers for everyone named Jon or Jona? Or, even better, Kris!
    PS – I’d have to fly across the pond for the burger, so anyway…

  • paulstpancras October 31, 2009, 8:51 pm

    Surely ‘Doddsson’ should be the name of the insubstantial, flaky, somewhat tired, side salad that usually accompany burgers?

  • Joerg October 31, 2009, 9:36 pm

    I would expect a Big Doddsson to be some virtual meal, where you pay upfront and wait an hour, before they tell you that they can’t afford to bring you a real burger. At least, it’s zero calories and not greasy at all 😉

      

  • Sigvaldi Eggertsson November 1, 2009, 10:29 am

    Kris, there are, according to the registry (www.statice.is), 999 Icelanders that have Davíð as their first name and 213 that use it as a second name.
    I do not know what percentage of them showed up but that is a lot of free burgers.

  • jim November 1, 2009, 11:18 am

    Great spin…love it. Keep it going.

  • alda November 1, 2009, 12:23 pm

    James – hehehe!

    Jessica – actually burgers are free for anyone named Davíð, Davíðsson and presumably Davíðsdóttir. As long as there is a Davíð in the name. And you have to show ID to claim your burger. 🙂

  • geo8rge November 2, 2009, 6:43 pm

    While I can understand why you view this as an Icelandic story, in many ways it is an American one. Using the old cliche “The sun is setting on the American Empire.” While it is probably true that the costs of doing things the McDonalds way, not to mention the franchise payments(not mentioned for some reason), made the restaurants un economic, in the past I can imagine the very profitable McDonald’s Corp, and indirectly America, would have subsidized Icelander McDonald’s just to keep the flag flying. Like all empires eventually they acquire too many unprofitable outposts for the profitable ones to subsidize, then they need to cut back. To an American the question should not be why Iceland lost its McDonald’s, it is why McDonald’s could not keep them open?

  • Bromley86 November 3, 2009, 1:10 am

    >in many ways it is an American one

    Nope. Its a story of exchange rates and McD corporate doctrine preventing the use of local supplies. Nothing about the end of empire there – the McD empire is doing just fine, I believe.

  • geo8rge November 3, 2009, 5:39 pm

    local supplies. – I have not checked but I doubt Iceland produces much in terms of restaurant equipment and food stuffs that go into most western restaurant meals. The restaurants seem to be still open sreving similar food, how?

    Again the question in my mind is why Mcdonald’s could not keep 3 stores open to fly the flag in Iceland.

  • alda November 3, 2009, 5:46 pm

    This is getting tiresome, but I’ll say it AGAIN:

    This has nothing to do with McDonald’s keeping restaurants open in Iceland. It’s the franchise owners that are dropping the name.

  • Bromley86 November 3, 2009, 11:09 pm

    George.

    1. McDs is a franchise.

    2. The income streams for McD Corp are (AFAIK) franchise fees and supply costs.

    3. I’ve no idea how the franchise fees are structured. However, none of the articles have mentioned them as a problem, so it might be reasonable to assume that they are in ISK, or at least not a problem.

    4. Restaurant equipment, as a fixed asset item, isn’t really a problem. It’s all in place. Servicing a debt incurred to purchase it might be a problem (and having seen the debt position of a number of Icelandic companies, it really might be), but again that’s not been mentioned.

    5. Whatever the debt situation, the franchise owners think that they can make a go of it changing their name to Metro and selling BigMets (okay, that name is unlikely for copyright reasons, but it would be cool).

    6. The problem, per the franchise owners, was that McDs require them to import their beef etc. from the McProduction plant in Germany (as Iceland is too small to set up a McProduction plant in). They require euros. The ISK is worth dick. Therefore, costs have gone through the roof.

    6. That wouldn’t be an insurmountable problem, but the other fast food places apparently *are* sourcing their meat locally. Therefore, their costs have remained roughly the same, whereas the McDs people were facing a doubling of supply costs.

    7. Therefore, the franchise owners have dropped the franchise/branding/signs, retained the restauarants/equipment/staff, and started buying what they can (which is probably everything they need) locally. That’s not to say that the burgers will be cheaper than in the US or UK; they won’t. But they will be cheaper than imported burgers.

    So as Alda said, it’s not the McD corporation that has quit Iceland. They’ve put in place a supply system that, with the ISK worth less than half of what it was last year, is unfeasible. There’s nothing stopping Alda, for example, applying for and getting a McDs franchise, but because of the exchange rate she’ll have to sell those McDs burgers at the highest price in the world.

  • alda November 3, 2009, 11:19 pm

    There’s nothing stopping Alda, for example, applying for and getting a McDs franchise

    GAH! Perish the thought!!!

  • jim November 4, 2009, 1:39 am

    Should Metro find the brand BigMets, be already taken I offer the following as an alternative.
    Why not go to the doctor on this one and register the name Debtco both as a company and a trademark. That is if the government hasn’t already grabbed it. As we say in the marketing world calling the product BigDEBT has legs going down the track, as it targets the sociographic and psychographic market segment. The BigDEBT would be packaged in used IKR100 notes which will have an enviroment spin off where small boys may collect the discarded wrappers. Benefits are an early education on environmental correctness and a chance the wrapper may be collected to garner value until the time when Iceland is floated on the Shanghai exchange. There may also be a need to encourage some elements in the community to save and plan. Going forward the bottom line at the end of the day is for BigDEBT to sign Mike Moore as the image of corporate failure and a healthy lifestyle. Tag line to be ” A BigDEBTOR for a big debtor please”.

  • geo8rge November 5, 2009, 12:03 am

    I agree with everything said but, McDonald’s could have kept the restaurants open if it wanted to, and in the past it would have come up with an accommodation with local business persons, who would be willing sacrifice on short term returns in exchange for the possibility of long term gains, to keep a presence in Iceland. The economic crisis means that such an accommodation is no longer possible.

    In the past the US government (and perhaps Germany and even Iceland) would have been in a better position to subsidize McDonald’s in the form of export and agricultural subsidies.

  • Hanna November 6, 2009, 9:45 am

    Good riddance I say to Mcdonald. Icelanders are better without this junkfood. We can make our own chain and don´t need or want USA chains over here with their hormons and fat!