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McDonald's Returns to Bolivia after 13 Years


Golden Arches Open Up in Santa Cruz in April

McDonald's is set to return to Bolivia in April after 13 years of absence, having thrown in the towel in 2002 due to a lack of local interest — something virtually unique in the history of the US fast-food franchise.

To begin with, a McDonald's restaurant will be opened in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, said Ramón Freixa, communications director for the city's Chamber of Industry, Commerce, Services and Trade (Cainco).

"There's a huge company that left 13 years ago, and it's coming back to the country. In a month, there'll be McDonald's hamburgers available to eat in Bolivia. This is great news for people who like these hamburgers," he added.

McDonald's shut down in Bolivia in 2002 after barely eight years of operations. The eight outlets that opened in the Andean nation failed to make a splash, despite trying to adapt to Bolivian tastes and use local products. Cuba and Bolivia are alone in Latin America and the Caribbean in not hosting the golden arches, which can be seen above over 34,000 restaurants in 114 countries.

A 2011 documentary entitled Why Did McDonald's Fail in Bolivia? posited economic reasons, chiefly the fact that a McDonald's meal cost some US$3, while a full meal elsewhere in La Paz could be had for a third of the price.

In 2014, the transnational chain suffered its worst losses since 2002, mainly to do with concerns with the quality of its outlets in Asia. Sales were down some 3.7 percent, although McDonald's share prices remain relatively stable at around US$100 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sources: Página Siete, BBC.