Written By Diya Barmecha (Grade 8)
No matter where we live around the world, the one constant we know even in our travels is the fact that there is going to be a McDonald’s store. They have opened shops in over 100 countries and continue to be the largest retail store in terms of revenue. A small burger restaurant started in 1940 has now become every child’s nostalgic restaurant, remembering the Happy Meal and the action figures that every child gets it. The success story of McDonald’s inspired a sociologist George Ritzer to write a book called the “The Medialization of Society”. He talks about how society should and is adapting to the qualities of the famous fast-food restaurant. He recognises some characteristics that are found in these fast foods, which include efficiency, calculability, predictability, standardization, and control. Whether it is while on a road trip or even a dine-in, McDonalds is reliable. However, how did one small shop turn into such an international sensation?
Predictability. No matter where in the world you are, you can always count on McDonald’s having the same wrapper to pack your burgers, or the same spoon used to eBay your Flurry or even the look of the store. From the trays to the food to the ambience, it is all predictable. This predictability gives a certain comfort. Not knowing what to expect is a major concern especially during travels. However, you know that McDonald’s can give you an entire meal that tastes the same as you would have had it anywhere else. You can rely on the comfort, taste and speed of the food and experience because whenever you go it is the same.
Even though they are predictable, the McDonalds franchise is also known for its adaptability. They have tailored menus for each specific region. Other than helping them gain more revenue it also adds comfort to the locals in that country, to eat something familiar. They have all the spicy and more vegetarian options in India whereas in Hong Kong, most of their burgers are made with seafood. Catering to the tastebuds of the locals has shown that they are not only open to change but also open to listening to the concerns of the customers. One of the most famous types of McDonald’s restaurants is the drive-thru which started after a customer review. In 1975 a group of soldiers had a problem. They were not permitted to walk out of the car while wearing their uniforms but they still wanted the McDonalds. After hearing their concern, the company decided to open their first drive-thru near the military base Fort Huachuca in Arizona to serve the soldiers. Slowly, the idea was spread across to Georgia and Oklahoma City as well. In the early 2000s, their fast and convenient way wasn’t good enough as people wanted more healthy things. The company heard the demand and quickly added upon it to release more salads, carrot sticks and fruits to the menu.
Adding to the experience of fast food is their way to serve food fast and efficiently. McDonald’s invented the term fast food with their speedy system. Their employees and workspace are made in a way that their actions are synchronized in a harmony that comes together looking like synchronized choreography. McDonald’s didn’t perfect the best burger, instead, they perfected the best system. From this, they were able to serve a burger in 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes. The company sells itself as a franchise that sells an experience and not a burger. The taste of the burger is constant with always having two pickles and the same amount of ketchup or mustard no matter where in the world the store is because of the way the store started and just expanded. It was a small restaurant for the McDonald brothers but Ray Kroc expanded it with his business strategy to an international home away from home. The small store started only as a way to earn their living and provide a safe space but with Ray Kroc, they were able to expand into what they are today. In the early years of the restaurant, they advertised it as a family-friendly restaurant but soon since it was on every few roads their advertisement played on the availability and frequency of the stores in a city. Their advertisements also follow the selling point of their experience, reliability, convenience and effectiveness.
From a small restaurant in a small city to an entire international sensation, McDonald’s created its own name by realising its strengths and playing on them. All their advertisements and marketing strategies play on the idea of being fast and efficient. There are many reasons like the ones mentioned above for McDonald’s being as famous as it is. Next time you stop at a McDonald’s, think to yourself why you stopped here, is it because of the comfort and convenience or because of the taste of the burger?
Featured Image Courtesy – EazyDiner