The menus at the restaurants bring an air of familiarity because the food is basically the same. We have the standards like the Big Mac, Whopper, cheeseburgers, and chicken nuggets. To make it even better, the fries at both restaurants are exactly the same. One particular thing I enjoy is that McDonald's has seasonal Swiss sandwiches. Earlier this year they had an excellent raclette sandwich.
While there are many similarities there are a few HUGE differences. I'll start with the beverages. Fast food restaurants only have one size for pop and they don't like to put ice in the cup. If your room temperature beverage didn't quench your thirst then you have to trek it back up the counter and order another because there are no free refills. Also, if you aren't in the mood for pop or water then you can enjoy a nice cold beer with your value meal. In my 4 years here I have never taken that option and I don't know if I ever will.
In America we enjoy ketchup with our fries and take the free ketchup pumps for granted. Here in Lugano they charge 20 cents per ketchup packet and 20 cents for mayonnaise packets. It blew my mind the first time I had to pay for ketchup. Not seeing a dollar menu in McDonald's also blew my mind. Since 2001, a dollar menu has been a familiar sight for me. I could enjoy a great meal for 5 bucks. No such thing exists here. If they have anything, they have a 2.50 menu. Right now the franc (swiss currency) and the dollar are almost the same so it is very easy to compare. A cheeseburger will cost you 2.50 and a Big Mac value meal will set you back around 12 bucks. This is not good for me because when I go out to eat I just don't get a value meal. I have to get some extra nuggets or a cheeseburger or some type of dessert. Over here that will cost around 23 bucks. For that type of money at home I can take Liz out to Chili's and eat a really good meal with free refills and all the ketchup we want.
Take Sunday night for example. We just beat a surging Lausanne team at home and are one step closer to making the playoffs. My teammates and I went out for a drink to celebrate. When the night was winding down we were all pretty hungry so Ross, Kam, Liz and I decided to listen to our stomachs and head over to McDonald's. We went through the drive through and our order was taken. I don't remember what everyone else got but I remember getting a Big Mac meal, a cheeseburger and a 6 piece nugget. I assume Kam and Ross ordered something similar. Our total was $85! We could have fed an army if we would have been in the states. It probably would have been more but we took it to go so we didn't have to pay for ketchup.
I have to say it was well worth it though. Best meal I have had in a long time. Thank god for all the McDonald's all over the world!