The whole world watched and the whole of Iceland cheered when McDonalds left the country—a lovely showcase of the nation’s nature: “Our country is so screwed that even the biggest fast food chain in the world leaves, let’s friggin’ celebrate!”
McDonalds left since it was not viable to keep importing everything to the country, while the competitors were using local ingredients. The ex-franchise holders, though, decided to open shop anew, this time under a new local brand, “Metro” (it should be noted that the word is not Icelandic and has no meaning in the language, lending it an air of international sophistication). This is surely clever for business and the environment —local ingredients, less shipping, boosting the troubled economy. With some saying that the true reason for the Mac fleeing the rock was not kreppa but the brilliance of the local burgers—see Búllan—surely tastebuds benefit too?
As it turns out, going local does not necessarily mean better burgers.
At Metro, the metal brackets for the late arches and the yellow stripes on the wall still remain—the new nametag has simply been bolted on top. Inside, the decoration and set up continue the theme of minimalistic change—even the headset wearing staff’s manic behaviour (“Two cheeseburgers left!”) screams McDonalds. Now, however, the menu has been translated to Icelandic.
I ordered the Metro Meal (999 ISK), including a burger, fries and a soda of choice. My companion chose the bacon burger with fries and coke (999 ISK) plus a vanilla shake (300 ISK).
My burger was bland and the fries tasted of bitter oil—has the global company taken standards regarding cleaning and filtering the oil with it?
The bacon burger was no better, neither the salty richness of good junk, nor the goodness of a real quality local burger. The shake went in the bin half finished.
According to Sky News, “The withdrawal of the golden arches symbolises a sharp fall from economic grace for a nation.” As far as taste at least, the new burger shaped logo of Metro isn’t making things any better.
It takes more than shredding the local iceberg to get the burger right.