It was early evening and one of the 25 McDonald's outlets in India was bustling with activity with hungry souls trooping in all the time. No matter what one ordered - a hot Maharaja Mac or an apple pie - the very best was served every time. But did anyone ever wonder as to how this US giant managed the show so perfectly? The answer seemed to lie in a brilliantly articulated food chain, which extended from these outlets right up to farms all across India. US-based fast food giant, McDonald's success in India had been built on four pillars: limited menu, fresh food, fast service and affordable price. Intense competition and demands for a wider menu drive-through and sit-down meals - encouraged the fast food giant to customize product variety without hampering the efficacy of its supply chain. Around the world (including India), approximately 85% of McDonald's restaurants were owned and operated by independent franchisees. Yet, McDonald's was able to run the show seamlessly by outsourcing nine different ingredients used in making a burger from over 35 suppliers spread all over India through a massive value chain. Between 1992 and 1996, when McDonald's opened its first outlet in India, it worked frenetically to put the perfect supply chain in place. It trained the local farmers to produce lettuces or potatoes to specifications and worked with a vendor to get the perfect cold chain in place. And explained to the suppliers precisely why only one particular size of peas was acceptable (if they were too large, they would pop out of the patty and get burnt). These efforts paid off in the form of joint ventures between McDonald's India (a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of McDonald's USA) and Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd, (Mumbai) and Connaught Plaza Restaurant (New Delhi). Few companies appreciate the value of supply chain management and logistics as much as McDonald's does. From its experience in other countries (Refer Exhibit II & III), McDonald's was aware that supply chain management was undoubtedly the most important factor for running its restaurants successfully. Amit Jatia, Managing Director, Hardcastle Restaurants Private Limited said, "A McDonald's restaurant is just the window of a much larger system comprising an extensive food-chain, running right up to the farms". McDonald's worked on the supply chain
management well ahead of its formal entry to India. "We spent seven years to develop the supply chain. The first McDonald's team came to India way back in 1989," said S. D. Saravanan (Saravanan), Product Manager, National Supply Chain, McDonald's India. Note A cold chain refers to the warehousing, transportation and retailing of products under controlled temperatures. Such a chain is necessary for ice creams, frozen vegetables, processed meats, dairy and bakery products. While frozen foods need sub-zero temperatures up to -20°C, products like butter, which require chilling, need about 0-4°C.
McDonald's was started as a drive-in restaurant by two brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald in California, US in the year 1937. The business, which was generating $200,000 per annum in the 1940s, got a further boost with the emergence of a revolutionary concept called 'self-service.' The brothers used assembly line procedures in their kitchen for mass production. Prices were kept low. Speed, service and cleanliness became the critical success factors of the business. By mid-1950s, the restaurant's revenues had reached $350,000. As word of their success spread, franchisees started showing interest. However, the franchising system failed because the McDonald brothers observed very transparent business practices. As a consequence, imitators copied their business practices and emerged as competitors. The franchisees also did not maintain the same standards of cleanliness, customer service and product uniformity. At this point, Ray Kroc (Kroc), distributor for milkshake machines...