McDonald's opens first restaurant in Beirut

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CAIRO -- McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Beirut September 25, marking yet another sign that business was returning to normal in Lebanon after years of civil war.

Still, security was heavy around the new restaurant, with government-supplied uniformed guards flanking the entrance, the Lebanese Daily Star reports.

Fast food restaurants already in Lebanon, including Hardees and Kentucky Fried Chicken, will likely be cutting their prices to compete with McDonald's, the paper predicts, drawing parallels to the hamburger restaurant's earlier debut in Jordan.

The fast food giant is expected to open a second restaurant in Lebanon by year end, and possibly eight more over the next few years, the paper says. Earlier, McDonald's announced it would open up to 60 restaurants a year in the Middle East.

McDonald's officials could not be reached September 25, a holiday in most parts of the Middle East.

The Beirut franchise is being operated by Jean Zogzoghy, according to the Star. The Zogzoghy family owns a mineral water company and is the local distributor of Nokia mobile phones.

Copyright September 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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