For those who are not familiar with Pollo Campero, it is a popular fast food chain that was initially started in Guatemala and has recently spread internationally from Central America to the United States (in 2002) to Spain, Italy, Indonesia, India and even China. One of the things I associate the most with my childhood visits to El Salvador is the potent (and delicious) smell of Pollo Campero’s fried chicken on the plane rides home—due to the fact that 70% of the passengers would have a box with them to bring back to the United States. Their chicken would be a topic of conversation that would arise whenever my parents or other relatives would discuss things that they missed about El Salvador. And I have many happy memories of more than one occasion where relatives would come by with Pollo Campero chicken that they had brought back from a recent trip to El Salvador. With the spread of its chain to the United States, the plane rides back no longer smell of Pollo Campero, but for many immigrants there is now a little of bit of their old life in their new homes.
These memories immediately came to mind after reading James L. Watson’s McDonald’s in Hong Kong. This is not the first article I have read concerning the appearance of McDonald’s in other countries and its relation to globalization and “Americanization.” However, I have never had to read an article concerning a foreign chain and its international spread to the United States. Watson’s article focused on cultural changes that McDonald’s has brought about as well as the production of a transnational culture. As our world is becoming smaller through global interconnectedness, I am beginning to think about changes that will come about in our country as more and more foreign chains or other influences appear here. Watson’s article demonstrates that although foreign influences can affect certain aspects of culture, many features can/will remain same. It would be interesting to predict any changes that could arise in the future from the spread of foreign chains to the United States.