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mcdonalds throughout the world

Friday 10 October, 2008

I read with interest this article by Mike Hughlett of the Chicago Tribune on McDonalds Strong amid slowdown worries Sitting pretty What I like most is they recognize how important it is to localize, & they do it with gusto.  Food is a particularly sticky cultural establishment, but they seem to transfer very well from country-to-country by adapting local menus to local tastes. However given their thrust into technology, offering wifi hotspots, etc. , I’m a little surprised that their local websites are so localized.  Many are radically different & there appears to be little consistency.  Right or wrong, their restaurants are recognized as cultural American icons, & are thus hotspots for youth all over the world.  I remember being able to sip on a nice cold beer with my FischMac while living/working in Germany.  I even enjoyed the mayonniase on my pommes frits.

Although I wish big corporations would give Americans more opportunities to live & work abroad, I understand the strategy of local ownership & employment.  It gives owners & employees more investment than if they are sending off everything to headquarters.

I agree that China is a great opportunity of them.  I must confess, I popped into 1 when I visited there a few years ago simply because I couldn’t find any other restaurants where I could trust what they were serving was safe to eat.  I remember when I was in Poland after the wall came down & recognized that KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Huts were everywhere & Micky D’s seemed slow to follow.  I believe the same is happening in China.  What’s not mentioned is MCDonald’s local supply chain policy, which makes it more difficult & hence expensive to grow the business, but ultimately more profitable over the long term because they have greater control over their supply chains in each country.  That they have to find & cultivate local potato growers, etc. who have to meet strict specifications takes time, but results in better product everywhere.

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