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Fast Food Geography

November 2012

How McDonald’s has learned to embrace globalisation and glocalisation

Fast food geography

Vegetarian McDonald’s outlets are being developed in Amritsar, home to the Golden Temple, the holiest site of India’s minority Sikh faith, and in the town of Katra, the base for Hindus visiting the mountain shrine of Vaishno Devi, the second busiest pilgrimage spot in India.

Abandoning meat altogether is a significant step for this transnational corporation (TNC) to take, given that its brand is intimately linked with beefy ‘hamburger’ sales. In addition, as part of a joint venture within India, McDonald’s has also agreed to share its profits in India with local firms.

This article explores the lengths TNCs are prepared to go to in order to access new markets and how they adapt and change their business in order to achieve this. These localised changes – sometimes called ‘glocalisation’ – can result in quite radical changes being made in the way goods and products are provided for local markets. We also investigate some places where McDonald’s has closed down its stores, rather than opening new ones. All of which leads us to ask: does globalisation really lead to a loss of local cultural diversity, as some critics suggest, if interesting and complex changes in the geography of consumption are taking place at the local scale?

Relevance

  • KS3 teacher-led exploration of interdependence between people and places – and thinking critically about what makes a product ‘global’ and what makes it properly ‘local’
  • GCSE teaching of transnational corporations
  • A Level / IB teaching of globalisation, transnational corporations and global interactions

In the Members' Area:

  • Globalisation, glocalisation and cultural diversity
  • McDonald’s India
  • Investigating De-McDonaldisation

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