The Reverse Globalization Of Fast Food

A tray of food is prepared at a Houston Pollo Campero on Jan. 9, 2003.
A tray of food is prepared at a Houston Pollo Campero on Jan. 9, 2003. Pat Sullivan / Associated Press
A tray of food is prepared at a Houston Pollo Campero on Jan. 9, 2003.
A tray of food is prepared at a Houston Pollo Campero on Jan. 9, 2003. Pat Sullivan / Associated Press

The Reverse Globalization Of Fast Food

America’s most famous export is perhaps its fast food. After the Cold War ended, McDonald’s became a symbol of liberalization in formerly communist countries.

But with American fast food chains represented in almost every country around the world, many are reinventing the genre and sending it back. Jollibee, a Filipino chain, Nando’s Peri Peri, a South African Chain, and Pollo Campero, a Guatemalan chain, all operate locations in the Chicago area. Many more foreign chains hope to expand into the United States. It’s a trend of reverse globalization that captures everything from labor issues to food security to culture and economics.

To discuss, we’re joined by veteran food historian, Andrew F. Smith, the author of Fast Food: The Good, the Bad and the Hungry.