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Importance of Understanding the Correlation of McDonald's and Globalization

By: Henrique Bertulino

Importance of Understanding the Correlation of McDonald's and Globalization

What Is Globalization?

What drives globalization, benefits of globalization, what is negative about it, mcdonald's before, mcdonald's now, 💼 case study of mcdonald's' globalization, 🔑 impacts of mcdonald's' globalization, ✔️ conclusion.

The world has integrated into globalization, and it's an irreversible phenomenon. There's no way we can go back after all the things globalization has done since many businesses have gone global and influenced consumers in various ways. We can only understand and learn about it.

A great example of this is McDonald's. McDonald's isn't just famous. It’s now on top, with a   brand value of over 100 million  US dollars , with Starbucks coming in second.

❓ How Is the World Affected and Influenced by McDonald's and Globalization?

Through globalization, Mcdonald's went from being a local fast-food restaurant in the US to a global sensation in the fast-food industry. There are now McDonald's restaurants in almost every country. People from different countries with different cultures are greatly influenced and exposed to some of American's local cultures - hamburgers and french fries.

There are   many types of  globalization . However, when we talk about globalization, it's mainly about economic globalization. Globalization is the connection and relation of different places globally and is a product of many types of expansion. Economically speaking, it's the integration of trades, markets, and investments of countries with low barriers, allowing the products and services to be shared and flow between nations.

Globalization is the circulation of products and services, and it's been speeding up over the years. One main driving force is the advancement of technology, like the internet. It has made connections and communication more accessible and convenient.

The invention of various tools and vehicles has contributed to fast-paced globalization. There are now more container ships and faster modes of transportation that made it easy to bring products from one country to another.

Globalization has provided many benefits, such as combating poverty and more. Additionally, it has impacted many businesses in various ways. Benefits of globalization include:

Access to Other Cultures

It's easier to access cultures from other nations, like food, music, and even art. One good example is how famous American snacks, hamburgers and fries, are available and can be delivered to anyone’s doorstep through McDonald’s without them having to live in the US.

Access to More Talents

It's now more convenient for businesses to find more talent or people overseas that they deem fitting to their company. Restaurants that aspire to go worldwide as McDonald’s can now hire people of different races and skills that can help their business grow.

Lower Costs of Products

Businesses have more access to lower-cost ways to manufacture their products. And this causes global competition, resulting in prices going down and increasing the variety of options for consumers. This allows people in many countries to live better for fewer expenses. There are more other fast food restaurants like McDo that compete for the attention of customers. And the best way to do it is to lower the prices of their food.

Provides Employment

Since more businesses are built in different places, more local people are hired. This increases employment percentages and helps people earn for their families. In the fast food industry, and with McDonald’s alone, many people are given jobs to provide manpower in a branch and deliver good service to customers.

Although globalization has many benefits, it also comes with various challenges. The disadvantages of globalization include.

Homogenous Cultures

Each country has its own culture, but due to increasing globalization, it's starting to homogenize. Specific and distinct cultures are disappearing and starting to become one. If the uniqueness of each culture isn't protected carefully, it can disappear or be forgotten completely. 

Take hamburger and fries, for example, the best McDonald’s combo. It’s now part of almost everyone’s culture. There are not many places where you can’t find them, even if they’re just locally made.

Tariffs and Fees

Businesses can't escape incurring tariffs and export fees when going global. Getting products and services overseas is a challenge since it can be costly.


When some business grows, some start to wilt and have no choice to move elsewhere or even completely shut down. For example, a local restaurant in the United Kingdom was once thriving and was providing jobs to many people. 

But then, another restaurant, McDonald’s, opens up there and offers foods that cost less, forcing the local businesses to close down since consumers prefer cheaper products. This causes employed people to be unemployed.

Global Warming

Globalization imposes significant negative effects on the environment. Massive development of transports and industrial infrastructures causes serious environmental problems - especially global warming. With globalization, resources are needed. You need resources and space for you to build a McDonald's franchise. So, the depletion of natural resources, destruction of many ecosystems, and even deforestation are evident. The consequences of these processes result in more pollution and global warming, which in turn mainly affects humans.

Economic Crisis

Unstable and unbalanced globalization can cause severe financial and economic crises in major countries, especially China and India. The   global financial system is at risk   because of the integrated and interconnected nature of the global economy.

🌍 McDonald's' Globalization

McDonald's is the most prominent representation and symbol of globalization. Of all the fast-food chains in the fast-food industry, Mcdonald's is the largest one and is on the top of all global markets. Currently, its headquarters are located in Illinois, with many branches worldwide. But how did McDonald's globalization happen? This can be answered by looking at the two phases of its success - the before and now.

McDonald started with the McDonald brothers in California. They opened their first restaurant with appliances they bought from Ray Kroc. Ray Kroc was then intrigued about why they would need eight milkshake mixers and was impressed how the brothers' business was doing so well.

After some time, upon realizing the promising future of the business, Ray Kroc started franchising. He opened the first franchise of fast food and later on launched the McDonald's Corporation. This is the beginning of the many golden arches of McDonald's' globalization.

The public face of the McDonald's products and business is the clown Ronald McDonald with an arch symbol of the letter "m" for its golden arches logo. Additionally, more products became the symbol of McDonald's restaurants, such as happy meals, chicken McNuggets, Big Mac, and even ice cream.

From then on, the McDonald's franchise continued to increase and expand into different places. It has even made its way into big and rich places like Japan and New York.

McDonald's is currently the   biggest contributor to the  market share   in the fast-food industry. Since its opening, the restaurant chain has more than 30,000 franchises in more than 120 countries and has a turnover of approximately 10.5 billion US dollars. And it's still developing at a rapid rate and through different aspects: culture, charities, and franchises.

Expanding Cultures

McDonald's signifies some of the American local cultures in many countries. It also allied with the Coca-Cola company to generate profitable marketing strategies for the benefit of both companies. Every fast food in various locations also performs required adjustments to meet the interest of the local people in the area, such as the Hindu people or those in Hong Kong, and many more. For example, the McDonald's menu in Japan includes a teriyaki burger. And even some franchises in locations outside the US and UK offer   Halal .

Almost 80% of McDonald's restaurants all over the world are franchised. This makes the company the leading global foodservice retailer. Moreover, the corporation regulates other restaurant brands such as Donatos Pizza, Boston Market, and Chipotle Mexican Grill in the US and Aroma Cafe in the UK.

Charitable Deeds

Aside from these big wins in the industry, McDonald's has also made some significant contributions to the community, especially for children and community development. In 1984, Ronald McDonald's Children Charity Groundwork was founded, and since then, it has donated over 5 million USD to help children worldwide.

Worldwide Franchise

One of McDonald's marketing strategies is to expand overseas. And true enough, more than half of the total restaurants are located abroad. To support this, just in China, over 100 new restaurants were opened in a year, allowing Mcdonald's to achieve its 1,000 new restaurants' goal by opening the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This shows the certification of McDonald's globalization. Currently, there are over   2,500 franchises of  McDonald's  in  Brazil .

The founders of this fast-food restaurant didn't expect their business to be this big and significantly influence the world in various aspects. It has impacted not only the industry but also the lifestyle of people around the world.

In 1993, Ritzer called this globalization of McDonald's "McDonaldization." McDonaldization is now a term used to refer to the increasing number of fast-food business models in common social institutions. In Ritzer's book about his concept of the   McDonaldization of the society , he analyzed how the fast-food chain's success has impacted society. According to him, the four alluring dimensions in the corporation's business model caused the revolutionizing effect and impact of McDonald's.

Aside from this analysis, more case studies have been made and are still being created to analyze the different aspects of the globalization of McDonald's.

People have recognized Ronald McDonald, a good brand ambassador for the fast-food restaurant. It's said that it imposes a happy family culture on society. But, aside from this insight, there are more impacts of McDonald's globalization to its consumers, especially regarding these people's lifestyle and diet plan. Positive and negative impacts.

Three characteristics mainly describe McDonald's. It's broadly accepted, cheap, and is fast. It also has become more of a representation of the American culture instead of just a symbol of fast food with people recognizing it.

Still, Mcdonald's has been taking measures to meet the interests and cultures of the society they're brand is located. They also consider the demographics of their consumers, like how they dress up during specific dates to facilitate young people and make them enjoy their stay in the restaurant.

Positive Impacts

Of course, the positive impacts of this globalization include employment and enjoyment. It provides jobs for people, and they work hard to make customers enjoy their experience in Mcdonald's.

Negative Impacts

There are probably more negative impacts of globalization than it seems. Focusing more on its impact on its consumer, the negative impacts include loss of local culture, unpleasing lifestyle, and unhealthy diet plans. People, especially young ones, tend to patronize McDonald's and even describe it as a sign of fashion or a trend and choose to eat the menu daily. This also results in them not recognizing their own local food cuisine.

Additionally, since there are junk foods served at a McDonald's, the diet and health of consumers are greatly affected and are ruined. At the same time, when their health is influenced, their lifestyle is also affected.

Globalization has both positive and negative impacts on society. And these impacts can be seen through McDonald's globalization. It’s still very important to find balance when thinking of globalization. Finding ways to maintain the positive aspects while trying to eliminate the negative ones should be a priority.

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globalization case study mcdonald's

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Global Business: A Case Study Of Mcdonalds

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1.2 Facts and Figures

1.3 target market, 1.4 aims and purpose of study, 1.5 approach/ methodology/ theoretical framework, 1.5.1 research approach, 1.5.2 a qualitative research, 1.5.3 literature review, question no. 1, discuss the environmental factors affecting upon mcdonald’s placing emphases on the key drivers, 2. internal and external factors, 2.1 globalization, 2.2 diversity, 3. pest analysis, 3.1 political factors, 3.2 economic factors, 3.3 social factors, 3.4 technological factors, 4. swot analysis, 4.1 strength, 4.2 weaknesses, 4.3 opportunities, 4.4 threats, question no.2, based on the given internal and external data about mcdonald’s critically evaluate the current strategies in use.

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5. Marketing Mix

Mcdonald’s marketing mix (5 p’s), 5.1 product, 5.4 promotion., mcdonald’s in china, how the strategy influence by external environment, social problem -healthy issue, cite this work.

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globalization case study mcdonald's

Mcdonalds And Globalization Case Study

1,The McDonald’s impact in Globalization Globalization has influenced almost each aspect of life in almost every nation. From economic to social to culture, this widespread exchange of goods, services and ideas have affected changes around the world. Even though the cultural influence in globalization is of slight significance to policy makers, its power has tremendous consequences to the nations involved and its people. Food is the oldest global carrier of culture.” Any changes in the foods that we eat, in its preparation, the way it is served and consumed diminishes the traditional beliefs of the people. McDonald’s was the first company to try to export America’s fast food and changes in eating habits to other nations. McDonald’s has over …show more content…

In this essay, the author

In order to open the Indian market, McDonald has to follow the local culture to make some improvements to the menu. Of course, McDonald also adds curry dishes and other local specialties in the menu.  In Saudi Arabia Especially in some countries with religious, McDonald 's development is particularly careful and they try to avoid religious trouble, like never using pork on the …show more content…

Today, McDonald 's advertisements have begun to trend family-oriented. And in McDonald 's ad, McDonald was good at expressing the beautiful and warm family images by adverting strategy to reflect the importance of the family. However, most of the humorous content and passion are appeared in advertisements. According to the statistics, McDonald spends more than 700 million dollars on advertising expenses, for the reason to strengthen imagery of social relations and try to keep the meaning of communities and families back to the golden arches. (8,Helmer, 1992) For example:“Olympic effort" is McDonald 's bid to build a closer relationship with mothers. The 30-second ad first ran to coincide with Mother 's Day in the US and has been repurposed for the Olympics. Women at various stages of pregnancy are featured in a celebration of motherhood. The endline reads: "The original Olympian effort." with the birth of a child, we can know how great a mother is. And also it is a method for McDonald to get an approach of family-oriented. McDonald highlights the human emotions, and family pattern, giving the family a new symbol meaning in order to make McDonald become a comfortable place for people.(9,Campaignlive

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Designed and built to make a difference.

About the Website Globalization Project

GPI provided website globalization services in Simplified Chinese, French (France), German, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish for McDonald’s high profile, interactive website (GoActive.com). The site was developed in partnership with the International Olympic Committee and the American College of Sports Medicine. GoActive.com encourages and provides specific steps to help people around the world incorporate physical fitness into their daily lives.

GPI worked closely with McDonald’s Interactive Agency, Marsteller, who designed the English site. McDonald’s was using a proprietary web content management system (CMS) to publish their English content and needed to utilize the CMS to handle multiple languages. After reviewing the CMS’s functionality, GPI designed a simple 5-step custom website localization workflow in order to interface with the proprietary CMS and provide website globalization services.

Pictured: Photo copyright 2017 McDonald’s Corporation

“GPI’s understanding of web content management systems and their ability to work as part of a global web team contributed to the completion of our GoActive site under very tight deadlines as was needed in order to launch the site in time for the 2004 Olympic Games,” said Jonathan Tauber, McDonald’s Marketing Manager, Sports Alliances. “GPI had a very innovative, documented and comprehensive website globalization process which was required on such a high-profile and high-traffic web property,” said Erin Byrne, Managing Director, Marsteller.”

About McDonald’s

McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s leading food service retailer with more than 30,000 restaurants in 119 countries, serving 47 million customers each day. McDonald’s is one of the world’s most well-known and valuable brands and holds a leading share in the globally branded quick service restaurant segment of the informal dining-out market in virtually every country which it operates.

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globalization case study mcdonald's

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McDonald's: A Case Study in Glocalization


McDonald’s Style of Globalization

McSpicy Burger

Our globalization story starts and ends in Russia.

Before a Moscow opening in 1990, McDonald’s had to solve the potato problem. Just two inches long, Russian potatoes were far too short to become a McDonald’s french fry. Because their goal was local sourcing, the solution was to import the seeds from Holland so they could grow on Russian soil.

The potato was one of many problems.

McDonald’s Globalization

Truckloads of potato, lettuce, and cucumber seeds had to be transported to local suppliers who were willing to meet McDonald’s specifications. To process it all, McDonald’s had to build a processing plant that could produce one million buns a week, 127,470 cheese slices, and equally large amounts of its other ingredients. They also needed a quality control laboratory and a distribution unit. Russia did not even have the necessary phone lines.

At the restaurant, 27,000 people applied for 630 jobs. Unlike typical Soviet sales personnel, employees were supposed to smile, to work efficiently, and treat customers with respect. The new managers attended Hamburger University in Illinois.

On that first day, January 31, 1990, they served a whopping 30,567 curious and excited people. In two kitchens, they prepared burgers, cheeseburgers, Big Macs, fries, shakes, drinks, and ice cream. A Big Mac cost 3 rubles and 75 kopeks–approximately one third of an average daily Soviet wage.

119 Countries

In an end-of-the-year 2020 SEC filing, McDonald’s said it operated in 119 countries. Either operated by them or a franchisee, the total was 39,198 restaurants. (Now we can subtract Russia and Ukraine from the total.)

Looking at the cost of a Big Mac from 2000 to January 2022, we can get a taste of of McDonald’s global spread:

Like Russia, every country has a story. McDonald’s tells us that it needed a vegetarian product for India. They knew it had to be two slices of paneer but were not sure what to place between them. While chutney was a possibility, they wound up with spices and the breading for the McSpicy Paneer Burger in our featured image. Meanwhile, in Thailand, the menu has more heat and Sweden offers the McFalafel.

Our Bottom Line: Globalization

It’s easy to say globalization and know we are referring to a worldwide corporate presence. As always, though, it’s not quite that simple. As McDonald’s reveals, globalization is a series of stories. In each country we have a two-sided process. The restaurants need to meet McDonald’s specifications and branding. But also, McDonald’s had to absorb the identity of its location.

In Russia, that single McDonald’s multiplied to 847 locations. Now, with McDonald’s departure, Russia has a similar “Ketchup and Mustard” logo (reputedly) for a replacement chain called Uncle Vanya’s:

McDonald's globalization retreat

My sources and more:  For a dry but firsthand image of McDonald’s their 10-K is a handy source of facts while the ideal complement was Insider’s tour of McDonald’s global menus. Also, this McDonald’s blog told the story of India’s McSpicy Paneer .and the Washington Post introduced Uncle Vanya’s.

Please note that my McDonald’s facts and some text came from my (favorite) book, Understanding Our Economy (available through econlife). Also, our featured image is McDonald’s McSpicy Paneer  and several sections from today were in a previous econlife post.

globalization case study mcdonald's

Elaine Schwartz

Elaine Schwartz has spent her career sharing the interesting side of economics. At the Kent Place School in Summit, NJ, she has been honored through an Endowed Chair in Economics and the History Department chairmanship. At the same time, she developed curricula and wrote several books including Understanding Our Economy (originally published by Addison Wesley as Economics Our American Economy) and Econ 101 ½  (Avon Books/Harper Collins). Elaine has also written in the Encyclopedia of New Jersey (Rutgers University Press) and was a featured teacher in the Annenberg/CPB video project “The Economics Classroom.” Beyond the classroom, she has presented Econ 101 ½ talks and led workshops for the Foundation for Teaching Economics, the National Council on Economic Education and for the Concord Coalition.

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Fast and Pluribus: Impacts of a Globalizing McDonald’s

The expansion of McDonald’s in the twentieth century brought the fast food chain to more than 100 countries. But how well did it integrate into its new home(s)?

McDonald's Japan Swing Manager Miwa Suzuki presents a box of McChoco Potato on January 25, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan

The connection between globalization and McDonald’s is a tale of scholarly metonymy. There’s no textual shortage of evidence that references the now-global fast food chain’s success in other countries , often linking it to themes of self-sufficiency, post-industrial stability, and democracy-formed capitalism.

Among these chunks of research is a more endogenous angle that examines the impact McDonald’s has had within offshore cultures; namely, how the American fast food model has been diffused across different countries. Such case studies, which look at individual cultural phenomena and their direct applications to globalization activity, refines not only the framework of McDonald’s in theories, but overall globalization processes and strategies as well.

Japan’s stylish renditions of fast food practices, for one, existed long before McDonald’s came to the country. Given the existing popularity of convenient and on-the-go meals—including conveyor belt sushi and street vendor meals—American fast food chains were bound to succeed. Scholars John W. Traphagan and L. Keith Brown investigate this supposition by employing an ethnographic model of research, building the argument that Japan not only assimilated—but basically swallowed whole—the McDonald’s dining model , to the point that younger people especially believe McDonald’s is a Japanese company.

Traphagan and Brown emphasize that, rather than “styles of preparation or ingredients,” fast food is defined by “a style of selling food.” Essentially, McDonald’s brought no real paradigm shifts to Japan—but rather constructed a space in which already-formed Japanese cultural practices could continue.

Their case study contrasts with that of geographers Ray Oldakowski and John McEwen, who similarly investigate McDonald’s and its cultural assimilation—but in Ecuador. Their evidence shows that the integration of American fast food dining followed a different path , and McDonald’s remains an obviously foreign establishment in the cityscape. McDonald’s didn’t attempt to adapt to Japanese or Ecuadorian culture (for McDonald’s, “the strategy has been one of consistency, i.e. McDonald’s prefers not to change its way of doing business to adapt to foreign cultures, rather, it changes local cultures to meet its own needs,” they note), but Ecuadorians clearly viewed the fast food chain as a deviation from local tastes, unlike Japanese consumers.

“[A] comparison of exterior designs revealed that the McDonald’s in Guayaquil [Ecuador] were very similar to the typical McDonald’s restaurants in the United States,” write the authors. Moreover, the menus were also similar. Only 2 percent of those polled considered the food served at McDonald’s similar to Ecuadorian food. In contrast, very few interviewees considered Kentucky Fried Chicken—another American fast food establishment—different from Ecuadorian food. Eighty-four percent reported that KFC was the most similar to Ecuadorian food, and 68 percent said it was actually where they dined regularly.

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“Those results suggest that McDonald’s might gain new customers, and more visits from existing customers, if they also offered menu items more typical of Ecuadorian food,” conclude the authors.

In neither Japan nor Ecuador did McDonald’s actively work to adapt itself to the tastes of the host countries, but the depth of integration into local dining customs differed between the two nations. Such observations could prompt additional nation-specific analyses and possibly reveal additional adaptations to the “strategy of consistency” associated with McDonald’s. However, the study of the globalization of fast food from a micro-cultural angle requires challenging assumptive attitudes around American businesses and classical theories, with one of the most popular—and infamously controvertible—examples being the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention , built on tropes of democratic peace through development. Globalization and its effects could also be examined in light of McDonald’s cultural impacts on its origin country of America, opening a conversation on socio-economics and class .

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