This may not be news to locals, but I don’t think they understand the true import of the event. TGIFriday’s has arrived in Prague. Sure, McDonald’s has been here for a while now, as has KFC, and I assume there’s a Hard Rock Café around here somewhere. (Note to self: If there isn’t, make a deal with a bootlegger at a flea market to buy up a bunch of fake Hard Rock Prague t-shirts and flog them in Old Town Square.)
If McD’s and The Colonel are the cavalry, the vanguard of capitalism sent to root out the native businesses and push them into the locations no one wants, TGIFriday’s and the others sure to follow represent the next wave. They are the settlers. Moving into areas firmly established by those that came before, they will gradually push the boundaries, creating expanding zones of Urban Interchangeable, where local businesses will have the choice to play the game or move out.
TGIFriday’s will succeed here, no doubt about it. A few other restaurants in town have good burgers, but they don’t have a continent-leaping marketing machine. Now there is a place in town that every American will associate with a higher grade of burger than the fast-food places. They will go. The locals will follow. Why? Because burgers are good. Better burgers are better. I have no idea what the replaced business was selling. That in itself is telling, because I walked past the place regularly. Oh, the power of a name.
I may not know what the previous establishment sold, but it wasn’t burgers. It was different. Maybe not better, but different.