The Golden Arches

With operations in more than forty countries, an advertising budget unmatched by any other single brand, and more retail outlets than any other merchant, McDonald’s is perhaps the most recognized trademark in the world.

Defined as a world cultural icon by many, McDonald’s has revolutionized the world, bringing about a whole new concept of fast food eating about enjoying the whole eating process with fine dining. With the successful expansion of McDonald’s into many international markets, the company has become a symbol of globalization and the spread of the American way of life.

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McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, has more than 30 000 restaurants over 120 countries. Its annual global sales are fast exceeding US$100 billion and it has been doing very well financially. The world is very supportive of this corporate giant, a global icon that many love.

Its recognizable visual images are the Golden Arches and the happy clown dressed in yellow, Ronald McDonald. The Golden Arches is the famous symbol of McDonald’s, and on the other hand, Ronald McDonald is a clown spokesman for McDonald’s fast-food restaurant chain, who has been promoted as an international star.

Being one of the most successful service company ever built, McDonald’s is run neither by one man nor by an executive committee, but a federation of hundreds of independent entrepreneurs – franchisees, suppliers, and managers – united by a complex web of partnerships and creativity.

This term McDonaldization has been coined to define the impact fast food has had on the society, as fast food was invented by McDonald’s itself. McDonaldization implies the search for maximum efficiency in increasingly numerous and diverse social settings. The fast-food restaurant grew as a result of its greater efficiency in comparison to alternative food industries. The modern fast-food restaurant can be seen as being built on the latest models and as a further step in the direction of more efficient food consumption.

McDonald’s proved to be a leader in using differentiation strategies. When the kids say they want a hamburger, french fries, and Coke – parents make the buying decision as to where to go to fulfill their request, most likely based on price. Therefore, McDonald’s marketing executives placed a $0.50 toy in with the hamburger, French fries, and coke, and called it the Happy Meal, then marketed it to the kids.

“There’s only one place you can buy a Happy Meal. And that’s at McDonald’s.” Said Warren Greshes, one of the world’s most motivational keynote speaker.

Greshes sees this as a very successful way of differentiating McDonald’s from other fast food competitiors. “They’ve taken competing on price right out

of the picture,” says Greshes. “They bring you quality, convenience, service, and value – and they make you feel like you are getting a break in your hectic day.”

Having a global orientation in its strategy, McDonald’s has been able to sell its halal products very successfully to the Muslim consumers in Malaysia and Indonesia. Moreover, it has chosen to position itself against Asian counterparts, where cheap and tasty Asian food is easily available, offering other benefits like courteous service, air-conditioned comfort, hygienic and efficient food preparation.

Raymond Kroc, the founder and builder of McDonald’s, revolutionized the American restaurant industry by imposing discipline on the production of hamburgers, french fries, and milk shakes. He ensured that the french fries customers bought in Topeka would be the same as the ones purchased in New York City. Such consistency made McDonald’s the brand name that defined American fast food.

The widely imitated success of McDonald’s offers an excellent example for today’s managers and executives searching for greater production efficiencies. By putting the humble hamburger on the assembly line, Kroc showed the world how to apply sophisticated process management to the most prosaic endeavors.

To succeed the McDonald’s way, companies must define the basic premise of the service they offer, break the

labor into constituent parts, and then continually reassemble and fine tune the many steps until the system works without a hitch. Today, companies engaged in delivering pizzas, processing insurance claims, or selling toys benefit from the kinds of systems that Ray Kroc pioneered.

Making McDonald’s Corporation a franchising company which relies on franchising as a predominant way of doing business has managed to play a big role on its success as a whole.

By enforcing rigid standards of quality, service and cleanliness among his franchisees and suppliers, Kroc revolutionized the food service industry in the United States. But by also giving his franchisees enormous freedom in marketing, he kept McDonald’s fresh – and at the same time created a franchising model that scores of other chains now emulate.

McDonald’s is indeed a global icon; distinctive, or rather, representative of the Western fast food culture. Though some may argue that it is only a western cultural icon, but one has to admit that McDonald’s has indeed made a great impact on our lifestyle, the world in general. Its creation, has brought fast-food onto a whole new level, making it part of our lifestyle. The Golden Arches is certainly a golden icon.

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