The Golden Arches
The Golden Arches, Mickey-D's, Macca's, or Mick-dicks. Whatever you would like to call it, they all refer to the same money making machine, McDonalds. Selling more than 75 hamburgers every second, McDonalds serves anywhere from 62 to 68 million million customers each and every day, more than the population of Great Britain and about 1% of the world's population (Schlosser, 2004). Since its inception, McDonalds has not only grown into a global money making super power, but an extremely controversial culture and lifestyle that has expanded it's dark and secretive menu of unusual and very controversial preparation methods and lack of quality, healthful food throughout the world.
McDonalds was born in 1940 when brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald opened up a restaurant in San Bernardino, California, which quickly became a popular, and very profitable, teen hangout. After serving about 25 different items in their restaurant, the McDonald brothers closed their original restaurant and reopened a restaurant that only served hamburgers, milkshakes and french fries. Mac and Dick turned their kitchen into a hamburger assembly line. The efficiency of the assembly line allowed the brothers to sell their burgers at a cheap price of only 15 cents and made them extremely popular, making the company a giant profit. In 1961, a man by the name of Ray Kroc bought out the McDonalds brothers and began building what would become the most successful fast food operation in the world. A milk shake machine salesman, Ray Kroc bought McDonald’s from the Donald brothers and made the burger joint into a business whose foundation was built upon conformity and uniformity. “Kroc … believed fervently in the ethic of mass production” (Schlosser, 2004). Influenced by this mass production ethic, McDonald’s developed new and uniform production methods like using frozen beef patties, instead of fresh ground beef, and creating a genetically-modified potato as opposed to using locally grown produce to make sure that all McDonald’s fries and hamburgers have the same uniform taste.
In 1961 Ray Kroc decided that unlike the previous owners of McDonalds, he did not want to keep McDonalds as a local restaurant and thought that a national company would fit in with where America was heading. He began opening up more locations across the country, and by 1965, there were more than 700 separate locations across the United States (McDonalds Corporation, 2006). This expansion eventually led to franchising the trademarks of the business to private owners who pay royalties to the company. McDonalds is a for-profit business that supplies their product in order to sell it to the general public and make profit. McDonalds alone is the 90th largest economy in the world, making over 27 billion dollars in revenue throughout the year. The 8.7 billion dollars in franchises alone that it makes, already make McDonalds richer than Mongolia. “McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest foodservice retailing chain. The company is known for its burgers and fries which it sells through 31,000 fast-food restaurants in over 119 countries” (McDonald’s Corporation, 2006).
Over the years McDonalds has created a rich culture that applies to everything that McDonalds is and does. McDonalds culture can be seen in its bright and happy décor, which often includes playgrounds for young children and is always full of bright red, green and yellow colors. It can be seen in McDonald's many promotions such as its annual monopoly giveaway, where McDonalds gives away millions of dollars of free food and prizes to lucky customers, or happy meal toy giveaways, where all children buying a happy meal receive a toy with it. The culture of McDonalds can also be seen in the countless advertisements starring Ronald McDonald, the companies mascot, which try to show McDonalds to be a cheap, wholesome food supplier for on-the-go, active lifestyles and young families. This culture...
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