VIDEO OF THE WEEK: Watch scenes from the opening of the first McDonald’s in Czechoslovakia

This week marks 31 years since the Golden Arches first appeared in Prague.

Ioana Caloianu

Written by Ioana Caloianu Published on 22.03.2023 14:23:00 (updated on 22.03.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

What a time to be alive! On March 20, 1992, the gates of the first McDonald’s restaurant in then-Czechoslovakia opened to welcome eager customers to its location on Vodičkova street, which is still in operation to this day.

Video footage from the era shows a crowd of people walking in, while others stand by the door and examine the picture-filled menu posted on its doors, and a smiling hostess gives flags with the McDonald’s logo to passing children.

The indoor scene looks similar to what you can see nowadays in any McDonald’s restaurant around lunchtime when groups of people sit down for a quick burger and catch up with friends. Behind the counters, fast food workers make the fast food giant’s signature dishes at a hectic pace, under the watchful eye of supervisors.

Sadly, Ronald McDonald is missing from the footage.

A staple of international fast food changes with the times

Despite the influx of international fast-food chains in Prague in the last 31 years, and the emergence of a foodie culture that values gourmet burgers, locals and tourists alike still hold a soft spot in their hearts for McDonald’s.

This is in part because the chain tried to be more inclusive with its menu that recently added vegan-friendly offerings. The decision earned it a high score on a survey done last year by Proveg, an international non-profit organization that promotes plant-based alternatives to animal products in multiple countries across the world.

Other attempts to cater to the local audience, such as introducing a McMuffin Lučina, made with a type of tvaroh (quark) based cheese spread that traditionally has low-fat levels, were less successful.

Ultimately, the popularity of McDonald’s is best measured through its sales figures, which in 2021 earned CZK 6.9 billion, 19 percent more than in 2020.

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