McDonald’sThe Circuit of Culture COMU3005 Research Presentation Nguyen Thu Trang s42683999
Identity of McDonald’s One of the most internationally recognized and controversial icons of America popular culture 1998: 24,500 restaurants in 114 countries, a new opening every 5hrs, 38 million customers are served per day, 20 million of them in US Prefix ―Mc-‖ has been used informally in English to describe any person or situation whose essential qualities are in terms of homogenization, predictability or banality. (Galley, Briavel, 321) Appeared and play symbolic roles in many US TV programs and movies as a first-came-in-mind image of America. (Ritzer, 6-7) Hundreds of letter poured into McDonald‘s headquarters when plans were made to raze Ray Kroc‘s first McDonald‘s restaurant, including: Please don‘t tear it down!... Your company‘s name is a household word, not only in the United States of America, but all over the world. To destroy this major artifact of contemporary culture would, indeed, destroy part of the faith the people of the world have in your company. The restaurant was then rebuilt according to the original blueprints and turned into a museum. ―McDonald‘s…is really a part of Americana‖. The first McDonalds restaurant (Ritzer, 7) in San Bernardino, California, 1955.
McDonald’s Production McDonaldizationMcDonald brothers‘ concept (1948): emphasis on efficiency, low prices, 4 success elements as Ritzer (2010) suggested: efficiency –big volume, speedy self-service and jettisoning of anything would slow calculability – predictability - controldown the transaction such as carhops, plates, forks, knives, glassware,dishwashers, tipping and less menu items. ―…workers in McDonaldized systems function efficciently. They are trained to work this way by managers, who watch overRay Kroc‘s strategy (1955): Ray Kroc did not invent McDonald‘s but he them closely to make sure they do. Organizational rules andtransformed and developed it into a leading institutions that has regulations also help ensure highly efficient work‖revolutionized the food service industry and altered traditional eatinghabits throughout the world Offer calculability – ‗bigger is better‘ (Big Mac, Large Fries, Quarter Powder) – quantity has become equivalent to quality Cleanliness, friendly service, and predictability – hallmark. Workers also tend to emphasize the quantitative rather than qualitative aspects of their work => expected to do a lot of work, very quickly for low pay Called for a heavy investment and advertising and public relations. (Galley, Briavel ed, al., 321) Products and workers are predictable in tastes and their words. Control: customers are likely ―forced‖ to eat fast and leave or ―In business for yourself, but not by yourself‖: even leave before they eat (drive-in model), workers are McDonald‘s – franchisees – suppliers are all invited trained and controlled to work to a high degrees into the worldwide system => enlarge the production system and also product innovation(The Ray Kroc‘s Story) “If I had a brick for every time I’ve repeated the phrase Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value, I think I’d probably be able to bridge the Atlantic Ocean with them.” – Ray Kroc (1902- 1984)
McDonald’s Culture Space ConsumptionFor most customers outside the United States,McDonalds offers an altered cultural and socialexperience that starts when the threshold is crossed.Consumers have used the space for different purposesfrom culinary: "East Asian consumers have quietly, and in some cases stubbornly, transformed their neighborhood McDonalds restaurant into local institutions….‖ Beijing, Seoul and Taipei,Singapore… treated (it) as leisure centers, where people can retreat from the stresses of urban life, students often sit in McDonalds for hours—studying, gossiping, and picking over snacks… Sanctuaries for women who wish to escape male- dominated settings France: afternoon meeting places for elderly women who enjoy chatting while drinking a coffee and eating an apple pie => fast-food no longer needs to be fast in eating](Galley, Briavel et. al., 323)McDonald @ Singapore Changi Airport case could be a―con‖ in the transformation of McDonald‘s into a culturespace when students consume too much spaces whichare primarily preserved for tourists for study. Source: reclaimland.sg
McDonald’s Culture Space RegulationAs a consequence, McDonald‘s has twisted itself into the local culture: ―local cultures and identities have constrainedMcDonalds to adapt to place and reveal local idiosyncrasies‖How McDonald‘s regulated Culture diversity: Spaces: Products: provision beer with meal and large Teriyaki McBurger in Japan, smoking sections in Belgium, France and Germany McLacks in Norway, Kiwi Burgers in NZ, comfortable, individual chairs and real plants had to replace the original fixed No beef ingredients in Indian chairs and plastic foliage. McDonald, there was curry sauce and flavor instead; Some McDonalds restaurants in Europe supply free daily newspapers at Rice burgers in Japan and Taiwan breakfast-time and dress their tables stores, with cotton tablecloths and small vases Red Bean pie in HongKong… of dried flowers. (Galley, Briavel, ed. al. 323) Free wifi and air-conditioned space Party room and party packages for event celebrations Source: internet
McDonald’s Culture Space Design The symbolic Golden Arches in Architect has always been significant But even McDonald‘s interior design also blends itself into local style, varies depending on the city, designed to conform to the local architecture Design quality compensates for the lack of space and higher densities of European McDonalds restaurants. (Galley, Briavel et. al. 323) Art Déco in Paris Art Nouveau in BrusselsModernism in Barcelona McCafe
McDonald’s the Taste of BoredomAn interesting argument by Finkelstein J. (2003): She has argued that the industrialization in food industries, of which McDonald‘s is an significant evidence and example: has created the circumstances in which the opportunities for being innovative and playful with food are being reduced has changed many foods into less interesting objects that in some senses become impregnable, closed products (190) => industrial food has killed our anxieties about food, playful engagement individual can have with food (198) She also presented the way McDonaldization has affected eating habits in Australian and they way it stole the majority in cooking at home and passed it to the dining-out sector. But then, the stronger McDonald grows, the more bland and boring it gets because of being standardized, neologized brand name, unwelcome trivialization and debasement brought about by rationalization, and their food has been somehow boring in taste, too. (198)
Reference Primary Secondary Galley, Catherine C., and Briavel Du Gay, Paul, et al. Doing Holcomb. "McDonalds." St. James cultural studies: the story of the Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Sony Walkman. London: Pendergast. Vol. 3. Detroit: St. James Thousand Oaks, 1997. Print. Press, 2000. 321-324. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 23 May 2012. Finkelstein J., ―The Taste of Boredom: McDonaldization ―McDonald‘s History‖ and Australian Food Culture‖, AboutMcDonalds.com, n.d. Web. 25 American Behavioral Scientist. May 2012. Vol. 42 No.2. Sage Publication, ―The Ray Kroc Story‖ McDonalds.com, October 2003. 187-200. Web. n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. 23 May 2012. ―Reclaiming Changi Airport‖. Reclaim Ritzer G., The McDonaldization Land The Fight For Space In of Society 6, Fine Forge Press, Singapore, 21 Jul 2010. Web. 23 May 2010. Print. 2012. Thank you!