McDonald’s will open an outlet in South Korea this month serving premium hamburgers and—for the first time in Asia—draft beer. The company made the announcement yesterday (Feb. 14), according to the Chosun Ilbo. Located in Seongnam, a satellite city of Seoul, the restaurant will seat 90 and, if successful, serve as inspiration for similar outlets in the trendy Sinchon and Gangnam areas of the nation’s capital.
The fast-food giant has been experimenting with formats of late. Last October, the company introduced all-day breakfast in the US, which drove same-store sales up 5.7% in the fourth quarter, after years of poor performance. The previous month it announced that it would transition its Canadian and American egg supply to cage-free eggs over the next 10 years. This year McDonald’s has given its branding and packaging a radical new look.
In Sydney, it transformed one of its McCafe outlets into The Corner in 2014. The restaurant serves as a testing lab for menus with healthier options, including quinoa, all the while posing as a local hipster cafe, with barely a hint that it’s actually run by McDonald’s.
In South Korea, the company has reasons to refresh its image. About a decade ago, protestors rallied outside a McDonald’s outlet in Seoul, complaining that the company targeted children with advertisements for unhealthy food. Last year, demonstrators held marches in protest at the low wages the restaurant chain pays its workers.