The Slow Food Movement and Concluding Thoughts

The Slow Food movement began in 1986 on the historical Spanish Steps in Rome as a protest against a McDonald’s. The founders were not concerned that McDonald’s would be competitive with the upscale restaurants frequented by the upper/middle-class, but they feared the safety of little places serving local delicacies. The mission of Slow Food was to spread a new attitude of taste guided by the attitude that people should have the right to taste. Other objectives included spreading knowledge of “material culture” (every product reflects its place of origin and production technology), preserving the craft-based food production, and protecting the historical and artistic heritage of traditional foods. (Miele, 2006) In efforts to do so, they have created an “Ark of Taste” along with awards for biodiversity of cuisine. (Pilcher, 2008: 405) Continue reading

McDonald’s in Beijing

The story of McDonald’s in Beijing is a little different than in Japan or Hong Kong. For starters, the first restaurant did not come for another twenty years after the McDonald’s in Japan opened. Also, the conversation turns into one concerning social space. Even truer than in Japan, Beijing consumers do not admire fast food for its taste or for the speed in which it is consumed.  Yunxiang Yan (2008) studied on the one hand, how spatial context shapes consumers’ behaviors and social relations, and how, on the other hand, consumers appropriate fast-food restaurants into their own space. Continue reading

McDonald’s in Hong Kong

McDonald’s arrived in Hong Kong in 1975. Due to strong cultural views about food, similar to those of the Japanese, the success was surprising. People questioned whether the triumph of the fast food industry meant the local culture was under siege. Anthropologist James Watson set out to find if the food chains were helping to create a homogeneous “global” culture better suited to the demands of a capitalist world.

The conception of fast food was already present in Hong Kong before the entrance of McDonald’s. Time is money and consequently, an entire industry had already been built to deliver mid-day meals directly to workplaces in Hong Kong. The rise of McDonald’s during the 1970’s paralleled the conversion of the nation-state from a modest industrial economy to a booming financial and technological market. A new class of educated, affluent consumers subsequently followed. Before the public accepted McDonald’s as an ordinary meal, the organization fought to compete with the local restaurants by offering American culture in a package. (Watson, 1997) Continue reading

Cultural Differences: McDonald’s in Japan

When Ray Kroc established McDonald’s in 1955 he founded the restaurant on the basis of providing customers quality, service, cleanliness, and value. The McDonald’s website still boasts these values as part of its core as well as giving back to the communities in which they do business, celebrating achievements while striving to achieve new heights, approaching all aspects of the business with honesty and integrity, and giving back to the system that provides them their success. Along with the core values, McDonald’s includes its guiding principles on the website– a commitment to exceeding customer’s expectations, belief in success from the ‘three-legged stool’ (corporate, franchisee partners, and supplier partners), a passion and responsibility for enhancing and protecting the McDonald’s brand, a belief in collaborative management approach, and a commitment to franchising and seizing every opportunity to innovate and lead the industry. These values and principles make up the organizational culture of McDonald’s. Continue reading

Organizational Culture vs. National Culture: The Globalization of McDonald’s

In organizational theory, culture is a commonly researched subject matter. A link is often drawn between a strong organizational culture and dominance in the market place. Culture is shaped by an organization’s unique history and situational growth. It can be defined as the values, beliefs, and expectations more or less shared by the organization’s members. It affects the way a company does business and makes known relevant employees, customers, suppliers, and competitors. Managers and upper level executives are responsible for instilling the values and norms into employees so they not only know what is expected of them, but are eager to perform in such a way as to benefit the company. A top-rate administrator is able to create sources of meaning and identification by providing an atmosphere that is rewarding for its employees and customers. (Scott and Davis, 2007) Continue reading