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Cultural differences in international marketing: Where’s the beef? McDonald’s sells hamburgers in a Hindu country

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  1. Company presentation
  2. Barriers for entrance to Indian markets
  3. McDonald's solutions
  4. Recommendations

The first McDonald's restaurant opened on 15th April 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois, U.S.A. and after 50 years down the line, the company is the world's largest food service system with more than 30,000 restaurants in 100 countries, serving more than 46 million customers every day. McDonald's opened its doors in India in October 1996. Nowadays the company has restaurants all over India: Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Noida, Faridabad, Doraha, Manesar and Gurgaon. McDonald's in India is a 50-50 joint venture partnership between McDonald's Corporation and two Indian businessmen Amit Jatia and Vikram Bakshi, who share McDonald's complete commitment to Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value (QSC&V). Having signed their joint-venture agreements with McDonald's in April 1995, they trained extensively, along with their Indian management team, in McDonald's restaurants in Indonesia and the U.S.A. before opening the first McDonald's restaurant in India.

Tags: Beef in McDonald's, Cultural misunderstanding with McDonald's beef burger, McDonald's change beef to lamb burgers, McDonald's hamburgers in a Hindu country

[...] For this reason, McDonald's operations in India, like other parts of the world, will continue to face opposition from religious fundamentalists, environmentalists protectionists, animal rights activists, and anti globalization protestors. Therefore to improve its growth, McDonald's needs to develop new products on a regular basis. Given India's fragmented regional cultures, where no single food preference predominates, McDonald's is likely to face constant pressure to increase its product range. But developing new products adds complexity and cost and raises the risk of error. [...]


[...] India's sensitivity to cultural imperialism, the so called Western cultural domination over Indian values, traditions, religious beliefs, customs, and food habits, made the entry of foreign multinational corporations, particularly in the food industry, difficult. And in India, there is a vocal group of environmental and animals' activists who oppose the entry of fast food chains like McDonald's. According to this group's campaign, junk food chains like McDonald's destroy ecological balance and cause severe behavior disorders because of their fatty and unhealthy foods, which have excessive levels of monosodium glutamate. [...]

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