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The Golden Arch Supremacy

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Despite the Big Mac attack in Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary, McDonald’s continues its dominance in the fast food industry. In a society that stresses healthy habits and healthy lifestyles, it is shocking that Americans are unable to resist the temptation from the golden arches that capture their eyes from a mile away. McDonald’s has become a symbol in the American society and the brilliant marketing and advertising techniques have allowed it to rise to the top of the food chain.

The prevailing fast food restaurant that we now see in the midst of every food court began as small restaurant in San Bernadino, California in 1937. The founders of this original burger shack, Maurice and Richard McDonald, were inspired to try out the restaurant business after their unsatisfying careers in the movie sets of Hollywood. It did not take long for the brothers to utilize their ideas and pioneer the fast food industry. The popularity for this convenient eating style spread like juicy high school gossip; they had made a smart move to this new business opportunity.

The McDonald brothers operated the restaurant using techniques of the assembly line. Employees were manufacturing burgers left and right as though they were dedicated workers for Henry Ford. The efficiency of the business attracted families for quick, low-priced meals. This efficiency also spurred the curiosity of Multimixer salesman Ray Kroc, the man who made the McDonalds dream a reality.

Ray Kroc franchised the McDonalds business into a whole new setting, Des Plaines, Illinois. My grandfather Dr. James Kane was a surgeon in the Chicagoland area at the time, and he operated on Mr. Kroc before he had become a well-known business man. After all of the treatment was complete, Mr. Kroc actually offered him the third McDonald’s franchise in Rolling Meadows. My grandfather kindly turned it down because of his other professional commitments and goals. After witnessing McDonald’s boom globally and establish itself as the icon for fast food, he has always wondered what may have happened had he decided to take Mr. Kroc up on the offer.
It did not take long for the corporation to explode. All it needed were a few tweaks in the menu and some time for the news of the famous burger to spread. McDonald’s developed its identification with the golden arches and the friendly clown called Ronald McDonald. It was family friendly, convenient, and tasty: all of the makings for success.
As the industry grew and competition became intense, the marketing and advertising for McDonald’s became even more crucial. The restaurants focused on speed, service, and cleanliness. McDonalds stuck to the tradition of burgers and fries as the reliable symbols for the restaurant. Although these items were able to feed the initial growth of the company, the unhealthy characteristics of the food became a concern of the American people.

In the 1990s, the quality service that McDonald’s strove for was falling short. Customer satisfaction was not up to par as health concerns grew. The company saw the need for change following the loss of $343.8 million in 2002. Further destruction came from the documentary Supersize Me which was introduced in 2004. In this film, Morgan Spurlock demonstrated the negative effects that McDonald’s fast food had on his health after eating the products every meal of every day for a month. Jim Cantalupo was appointed CEO in 2003. His leadership, combined with that of president and COO Charlie Bell, led to a revival of the American legend with the “Plan to Win”, which introduced some more appealing options to the McDonald’s menu and boosted an emphasis on exercising.

Ever since the competitive fast food industry grew, McDonald’s has been a target for destruction. McDonald’s was able to master the tactics before other companies had a chance to even establish. There are so many qualities that contribute to the successful image that McDonald’s has developed. The main success with the corporation is the way that it has locked in its customers. McDonalds has become a comfort to some. A recent commercial portrays the way the happy meal brightens the mood of a young soccer team that just lost their game. As soon as the parent saves the day by handing out the McDonald’s happy meals, the children are all smiles.

I believe that there is a sense of comfort with the friendly depiction of McDonald’s. Americans feel a sense of pride for the symbol that has had a universal effect. McDonald’s is always a reliable companion. If these restaurants were gas stations then people would most likely never face the problem of running out of gas before making it to the next location. McDonald’s are conveniently located to quench hunger before it lasts more than five minutes.

Whether people love McDonald’s for their crispy fries, the juicy Big Mac, or a sausage egg and cheese McGriddle, one thing is for sure: McDonald’s knows how to keep the business strong. Overcoming the direct critiques on healthiness, the corporation has proven its strength against one of the biggest controversies of this time period. The Golden Arches will not fall, McDonalds is an American icon that has loyalty and trust from the American people.





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missTaco said...
Jan. 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm
McDonald's is a great restaurant, and I always enjoy a good BigMac and fries.  Other wannabe fast food chains (that means you, Burger King!) just cannot compare.
 
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