After an announcement that Beijing's second-oldest McDonald's restaurant will shut on March 24, many residents have flocked there to take photos to remember their first experience of foreign fast-food.
The branch, which opened in 1993, is in a shopping mall just outside the Southeast Second Ring Road on Fuxingmenwai Dajie, Xicheng district. An announcement of the closure was posted on its door, which claimed it was because of a reshuffle within Chang'an Market, its landlord.
An anonymous staff member told the Global Times that this restaurant will not be reopened and all the employees will be shifted to other branches.
A 62-year-old retired woman surnamed Wen, who lives nearby, came Thursday afternoon to remember the old days. She said she recollects how excited Beijingers were when the fast-food restaurant first opened.
"Although this was the second McDonald's in Beijing, there were still crowds of people waiting outside on its first day, and when it opened people just flooded inside," Wen said.
At that time, eating McDonald's food was still considered to be a kind of luxury cuisine for ordinary people.
"The price was more expensive compared with ordinary food. I only came here when I decided to give my daughter a treat," said Wen.
Sun Yuan, a 22-year-old student, had her first taste of McDonald's at the branch in 1996. She said at that time, going to a McDonald's was already affordable for the masses.
"I witnessed how MacDonald's menu was gradually enriched and more and more fast-food restaurants opened in Beijing. Now people no longer regard McDonald's as something special anymore," said Sun.
Today Beijing has over 200 McDonald's restaurants. The first branch in Beijing opened in 1992 in Wangfujing, Dongcheng district, according to the New York Times. It was the world's largest McDonald's at that time with 700 seats and 29 cash registers, and served 40,000 customers on its first day.