BUS 475: Thurs. March 29, 2012

On Thursday, we discussed a case on McDonald’s. We learned about the evolution of the fast food restaurant under Ray Kroc, who promoted uniformity and simplicity in training and operational efficiency, to Fred Turner, who began advertising with Ronald McDonald and created a detailed training manual for employees, to Jack Greenberg, who has simply been known as a corporate mistake for his attempts at horizontal diversification. It was really interesting to learn more about the company’s history and growth under different leadership.

Today, McDonald’s is faced with a lot of problems in the wake of society’s rekindled interest in health and nutrition, as the restaurant has never been acclaimed for its healthy food options. Critics have also been very vocal about McDonald’s targeting advertising at young children and promoting unhealthy food options to children at a young age. What can McDonald’s do in the long-term to continue to sustain business and success? In class, we came up with 4 solutions: (1) Perform a stakeholder impact analysis and anticipate complaints, to proactively address them rather than passively react to them, (2) Develop nutritious food alternatives to satisfy critics, (3) Use their power and influence to educate people about the need to eat healthy, and (4) Hold meeting with critics.

I don’t know the future of the fast food industry, and I don’t know if McDonald’s will be able to ever overcome its reputation as THE fast food maverick, but it won’t hurt for them to take some proactive steps towards healthier food options, since that is where society is trending towards these days, as demonstrated by the popularity of organic food markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

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