McDonald's Beefs Up Its Operations

Omri Padan has seen the future and the future, evidently, is hamburgers. "We'll be opening 10 new restaurants this year, reaching deployment of more than 120 outlets," vows the manager of McDonald's Israel.

But that's just the start of his vision. "We mean to keep opening new restaurants at a pace of 10 a year. Within a decade, we should reach 200 outlets," he told Haaretz in an interview.

For all the troubles suffered by Burger King in the Holy Land, Padan is confident that the Israeli market is anything but saturated.

The United States has no less than 14,000 McDonald's outlets for 300 million people, which means every 21,000 Americans have their own store, he explains. By the same gauge, Israel has room for 300 McDonald's restaurants.

McDonald's Israel brought in NIS 355 million sales in 2004, Padan revealed, and is expected to reach NIS 385 million this year. It nets 4 percent of its turnover.

In the last year, McDonald's Israel underwent a strategy change, choosing to promote healthier food - fruit and vegetable salads, for instance. "In the last 10 years, the talk has been about hygiene, service, the manner of serving, portion size, food quality and microbiology," says Padan.