McDonald’s Corp. is enlisting the orcs and elves of the World of Warcraft in its fight to win over Chinese consumers scared away by food safety scandals.
To entice younger customers, McDonald’s designed Warcraft- themed outlets and gave away virtual items such as magic turtles tied to the popular online role-playing game, its first cooperation in China with a computer game.
The effort comes as the world’s largest restaurant chain seeks to recover from a food scandal in July, when its main supplier in Shanghai was accused of selling expired meat, leading China sales to plunge 23 percent. The crisis embroiled Yum Brands’ KFC and other eateries, forcing the chains to pull items off menus as they rushed to find alternative suppliers.
“I know of McDonald’s supplier issues, but I wanted to try out the latest Warcraft game before its release,” said 21-year- old Li Jialiang, a Warcraft fanatic who endured a 12-hour train ride from central Henan province to visit one of the themed restaurants in Shanghai.