Those golden arches of capitalism, the symbol of the McDonald's hamburger empire, have gone up in communist Yugoslavia on the second try.
Four years ago the U.S. company formed a joint venture project with a Yugoslav firm and hoped to open a McDonald's in Belgrade by 1984. The project failed because of bureaucratic delays.Now, working with another Yugoslav firm, an old building on Slavija Square in downtown Belgrade has been renovated completely and turned into a three-floor restaurant, its windows advertising Big Macs, fries and colas in Serbo-Croatian.
McDonald's plans to move farther east and into the Soviet bloc with a restaurant in Hungary later this year and another in the Soviet Union in 1989.
Yugoslavia, a communist-ruled country with a unique decentralized economy, is not member of the Soviet bloc.
The American hamburgers will be served up by the 50-50 partnership between McDonald's and the state-owned Generalexksport Company, whose activities include running the Belgrade Inter-Continental Hotel.
They will have to compete with traditional Yugoslav hamburger-like "pleskavicas" and many sorts of burgers sold in snack bars and privately owned kiosks all over the capital and throughout Yugoslavia.
"We are not afraid of competition," said Predrag Dostanic, 37, manager of the new Genex-McDonald's venture.
"Our people eat that sort of food. We are confident they will easily accept McDonald's hamburgers."