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Monday, July 6, 1998 Published at 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK

World: Europe

McDonald's money angers French chefs

McDonald's is a popular draw in Paris

French chefs, proud of their nation's culinary heritage, are furious that McDonald's has been allowed to sponsor the World Cup.

Kevin Connolly in Paris reports on what may be the clash of the tournament
Claiming that the international restaurant group has used its global weight to become the official food of the tournament, top restaurants are complaining that they are being sidelined.

In France's latest battle against Americanisation, restaurateurs say that they do not have the money to compete with the marketing budgets of big corporations.

Christian David, of the Grand Vefour restaurant in Paris, is one who thinks that local restaurants have been squeezed out.

He said: "Most of the restaurants are owned by families so it's a very small structure. They are strong in France but not compared to such a big company."

McDonald's, who have a highly successful French operation, says that the market is big enough for both kinds of restaurant.

Denis Hennequin, President of McDonald's France, said: "Nobody can say that McDonald's is typically French food and I don't have the intention of replacing the French cuisine.

"I think there will always be room for fast service restaurants as well as the old cafes, wine bars and good French cuisine."

The battle between haute cuisine and the new fast food culture has been running for some time.

French restaurants are already angry that they pay higher rates of VAT than their franchised counterparts.

With all the World Cup sponsors now multinational companies, there may be little scope in future for host cultures to sell their wares on the world stage.

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