The McDonaldization of banh mi may be happening sooner than later and leading the charge is Yum! Brands, which owns fast food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. Back in April, the Los Angeles Times reported that Yum! (yes, they include the exclamation point in their name) was testing a new banh mi concept in Dallas. The global company said that it was merely in development, that they often try out new ideas. It’s their business. I wondered whether or not they were just fishing for public and social media reaction to gauge the potential for a national chain of banh mi shops.
The company’s banh mi concept played a low key role in Jenn Harris’s April 8 story, which was mainly about Super Chix, a fledgling fancy concept by Yum!. People love chicken because it’s a friendly protein, and the company was developing a high-endish chicken sandwich with three kinds of pickle toppings. I read that as echoing Vietnamese banh mi, which conveniently was the focus of the other idea called Banh Shop. Double dipping of culinary concepts. Yum! is obviously not dumb.