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‘McBoat’: Meet Germany’s McDonald’s Drive-Thru for Boats

Is that seasickness you feel, or is it the double-stacked Filet-o-Fish getting its revenge?

Getting a quick meal on the go is a cornerstone of modern travel, but not all attempts to court hungry travelers work out. Sticking a fast-food franchise in a travel hub is a recipe for success, but cramming one aboard the mode of transport itself? Not as good an idea. Following the McTrain’s failure, McDonald’s Germany presumably went back to the drawing board and asked itself how it could apply the proven model of the drive-thru to new modes of transit. And when someone unrolled a map of Hamburg’s canal network on the conference table, lightbulbs went off.

Indeed, along Hamburg’s Mittelkanal—an offshoot from the Elbe river—floats a jetty emblazoned with the unmistakable Golden Arches. Officially known as the McBoat, this dock features small cleats for mooring watercraft, allowing canal travelers to disembark and order meals via an intercom-equipped kiosk.

McDonald’s “McBoat” waterway drive-thru in Hamburg, Germany, Google Maps | Michael Frimberger

In addition to standbys like the Big Mac, this location offers unusual fare exclusive to McDonald’s Germany, notably a double-stacked Filet-o-Fish and a thousand-calorie, avocado-smeared horror called the Signature Surf’n’Turf. Whatever your order, it’ll be brought down the steps by an employee as soon as they can peel themselves away from the restaurant’s standard drive-thru for cars, which McD’s DE calls a “McDrive.” Guess McFahrt wouldn’t be as appetizing a name.

This apparently common stop on Hamburg canal tours has a slightly murky history, with no documented date of opening, though a photo uploaded to German Wikipedia in September 2009 shows it has been open since at least then. And while many restaurants have struggled throughout a pandemic-rocked 2020, the McBoat hasn’t been one of them; the most recent Instagram post under the #mcboat hashtag depicts a sign reading Geöffnet—open. Hardly a surprise given the McBoat’s business model amounts to curbside pickup. Or rather, dockside.

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h/t Reddit