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McDonald's goes swanky with 'Restaurant M' in Tokyo

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Issei Kato/Reuters/File

(Read caption) Passersby walk past a McDonald's store in Tokyo.

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McDonald’s hopes to boost its image in Japan with a one-day pop-up restaurant. On July 27 in one Tokyo restaurant, the chain will feature its new Fresh Mac LTO line at a white-tablecloth sit-down meal for 20 people. The venue is being called “Restaurant M.”

As reported by Kotaku and ASCII, the elegant five-course meal begins with “Vichyssoise Mac fries” accompanied by a salad: vegetables used on the Fresh Mac (lettuce, tomato, cabbage among them) encased in gelatin. Since you’re likely still hungry, toothpicked wedges of the beef, chicken and fish patties available in the Fresh Mac line follow. These are accompanied by a variety of McDonald’s dipping sauces. Next course is a full-size Fresh Mac burger in any of the three protein varieties. Tea accompanies. Dessert is an Oreo McFlurry with berries, served in an elegant bowl, of course. Coffee will be served.

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The one-day event promotes the new Fresh Macs but also figures into the chain’s efforts to polish a tarnished image. McDonald’s Corp.’s Japanese unit last year posted its first operating loss ($57 million) since it went public in 2001. A series of miscues, including a Chinese supplier of chicken found to have violated food-safety standards and reports of Japanese consumers finding foreign objects (in one case a tooth) in food, has seriously damaged McDonald’s reputation and sales. January 2015 sales were down 39% from the previous year. To combat the negative press, McDonald’s has created the “Mom’s Eye Project,” a focus group for mothers, and series of “open kitchen” tours to reassure consumers about cleanliness and quality.