1) The 21st century has changed the way consumers think about the products they consume. The emergence of the Internet and social media is partly responsible for this, as consumers have become more aware of the world around them. Consumers are no longer satisfied with only the finished product; they are also interested in the production process, and have developed certain expectations from producers. They expect the use of environmentally sustainable products, recycled materials and ethical working standards for labor. As one of the major global firms in the fast-food industry, McDonalds owes its customers the same ethical duty or it risks losing its market share. Thus, we can presume that ethics is highly significant for the long-run sustainability of McDonalds corporate and operational structure.
2) McDonalds is a global company and is available in 118 countries. It has over 35000 stores in operation all over the world. McDonalds has invested considerable resources and capital to ensure its product quality and maintain customer trust. Being one of the major fast-food firms in Australia, McDonalds considers animal health & welfare to be of great importance, and ensures that the highest possible supply standards are met. McDonalds is also a founding member of the Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Australia (RSBA), a multi–stakeholder industry group with the aim of making improvements in the sustainability of beef production in Australia. The firm also constantly works with its suppliers to ensure a continuous supply of quality food and packaging with minimal impact on the environment. McDonalds is a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, which agrees to reduce the environmental impacts of consumer packaging through designing resource efficient & recyclable packaging, increasing the recovery & recycling of used packaging from households and taking action to reduce the impacts of litter. According to ‘McDonalds corporate responsibility & sustainability report’, 4,824,885 kg of recycled materials was used in 2011. The firm also strives to reduce and recycle the waste generated from its restaurants. Recently, it has taken part in an innovative initiative, which converts used cooking oil from McDonald’s restaurants into biodiesel. Biodiesel provides compelling sustainability advantages over non-renewable fuels, as it is a by-product with approximately 50 per cent less emissions than other fuels. This initiative has resulted in both economic and environmental benefits as it has reduced carbon emissions in Victoria by 730 tons. Apart from the above mentioned, McDonalds also participates in other ethical programs such as ‘Greenhouse Challenge Plus’, ‘Buy Recycled Business Alliance’, ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ & ‘Every Drop Counts’.
However, being actively involved with eco-friendly & sustainable development programs might not be sufficient in meeting customer expectations. Ethics also applies to the operational activities of the firm. McDonalds is one of the largest employers in Australia with 90,000 employees working in its restaurants throughout the country. McDonalds prides itself for its fair & equal workplace and diverse workforce. Recruitment, training & promotions are not determined by age, race, colour, sex, appearance, religion, and sexual preference ensuring that no sort of discrimination takes place under McDonald’s management. McDonalds has also voiced a strong representation for equal work opportunity for women. They are also a major employer of youth, students, indigenous Australians & disabled people. McDonald’s Australia spends $40 million annually to train its crew, managers and corporate employees. It also has training centers across Australia to certify that employee-working standards are up to date. The firm also places significant importance in the health & safety of its workers. Moreover, McDonalds has also been a philanthropic institution, as it has established various charitable organizations such as ‘Ronald McDonald House Charities’ (RMHC) to give back to the Australian community.
3) McDonald’s possesses immense potential with its world-renowned brand image to truly stamp itself into Australian culture. Their products align with the local cuisine and it has already been a thriving business since 1955. With the recent emergence of health-conscious societies, introduction of a healthy hamburger is a great opportunity. They could franchise more upscale restaurant to appeal to a more upscale health conscious target market, providing allergen/gluten free options. McDonalds directed efforts at breakfast, chicken, beverage categories in 2008 and gained full benefits the following year. McDonalds can initiate home delivery options for customers to increase revenue.
However, when the firm ventured into the pizza market, the test products failed to obtain a high market share in the competitive fast food pizza market. The wages for most workers are very low, which results in high employee turnover, which in turn has caused an increased spending on training. McDonald’s is usually held responsible for the increasing obesity and is criticized for its strong marketing focus on young children. Despite attempts to diversify into more healthy choices, the menu is still centred on unhealthy junk food and drinks. The firm holds a highly infamous reputation according to many pro-health organizations and pressure groups, which diminishes the brand image. McDonald’s products are not very differentiated, and as other substitutes exist in the market, they are forced to compete with price and not quality.
Focus Group- We conducted a focus group in order to gain this qualitative research.
What consumer’s value about McDonald’s?
Are the wages equal for people of all sex/race/pensioners/sexual preference?
What safety precautions does McDonalds take for employees?
What was the amount of recycled materials used by McDonalds in 2014?
What was McDonalds carbon emission in the past year?
What is the percentage of immigrants working in McDonalds workforce?