About seven months ago, I met an American guy who had arrived at New Zealand just a few days before. While exchanging our sentiments (I am from Japan) on New Zealand and its culture, the guy told me how he was surprised to see the country is so Americanised, mentioning McDonald's as one of the examples. Now, in a different sense, this was surprising to me, too. I had never had the idea that having McDonald's is being Americanised. In fact, McDonald's is nearly everywhere in the world so that many people think it has already become part of their own cultures. But then the question arises: How did this come to be the case? Here is a brief outline of its history (based on Hebert, 1997; McDonald's Corp., 1997; Mclennan, 1996).
In 1937, McDonald's was founded as a small local restaurant by two brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald in Pasadena, California. In 1948, the brothers then converted their barbecue drive-in with car hops into limited-menu, self-service drive-in, in San Bernardino, California - the first advent of quick service restaurant industry. It is in April 1955, however, that the real McDonald's Corporation' launched, by a salesman called Ray Kroc, who gained exclusive US franchising rights from the brothers. Starting with Des Plaines, Illinois, McDonald's rapidly extended its outlets first over the Chicago area, then the US and eventually all over the world, including two largest restaurants in Moscow (1990) and Beijing (1992), both with 700 seats. There are currently over 21,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries (and about 100 in New Zealand), and the 1996 year-end systemwide sales reached 31.812 billion dollars, 59 percent of which came from the outside of the US.
The worldwide business of McDonald's is not just a globalisation of its economy. In his book, The McDonaldization of Society,' the American sociologist Dr....
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