A visit to this unusual branch reveals the mystery behind the burgerless McDonald’s.

As fun as it is to try the local cuisine when travelling abroad, sometimes we can’t resist stepping into a foreign McDonald’s to see what the differences are with the way things are done back home.

One American visitor recently did just that, making a brief stop at the golden arches after arriving in Japan, and what they found on the menu was something you won’t find at a McDonald’s anywhere in the world.

According to this visitor, the McDonald’s they ate at had no burgers on the menu at all. In fact, nothing about it was familiar, as the only thing on the menu was gyudon (beef bowls).

▼ Gyudon is definitely something you wouldn’t expect to find at McDonald’s.

Associate professor and Twitter user Tomoki Ozawa (@oz_tomoki) recently recounted the story on Twitter, saying the American visitor had asked her why Japanese McDonald’s only had beef bowls. The visitor went on to say that they asked the clerk if they had burgers, to which they said they didn’t, so it all became a puzzling experience.

As regular readers of our site will know, McDonald’s does indeed sell burgers, and lots of them, so naturally, Ozawa was confused by what had happened. However, after asking the visitor which McDonald’s they visited, the reason for the confusion became clear.

▼ This is the McDonald’s they visited.

As you can see, there are two restaurants here, and they both bear the same colour scheme. There’s the McDonald’s on the left, with its red sign and yellow “M”, and right next to it is a restaurant with the same red-and-yellow colours across it, and a lot of Japanese writing.

At a quick glance, first-timers might think the cohesive colour scheme signifies that the restaurant on the right is also a part of McDonald’s, especially if you’re not familiar with Japanese chains and don’t understand the language. However, once you’ve been here awhile, you’ll know that this is definitely not the sign for McDonald’s — this is a branch of Sukiya, one of the country’s leading beef bowl chains.

▼ Sukiya

So what had happened was the new-to-Japan visitor had mistakenly walked into Sukiya looking for burgers, thinking it was a McDonald’s. No doubt the staff were just as confused as the customer was in their search for burgers, but many online could sympathise with the situation.

“If I couldn’t read Japanese, it’d be easy to think this was McDonald’s, just in terms of colour.”
“It’s hard to understand the difference at first glance!”
“With a location like this, the Sukiya staff should’ve realised what was happening.”
“The clerk should’ve guessed and told them to go upstairs!”
“If you don’t know Yoshinoya and Sukiya, you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s a gyudon restaurant.”

So next time you see two stores that look alike in Japan, you might want to give them a closer look to check you’re going into the right one. And if all this talk of beef bowls has made you hungry for gyudon, there are not one but three Japanese chains that deserve your attention!

Source: Twitter/@oz_tomoki via Jin
Featured image: Pakutaso
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