With increasing global competition, emphasis on organic food choices, smarter and healthier eating habits, the fast food industry is undergoing a major turning point. Gone are the days when people would blindly allow their children to eat all the burgers, fries and Coke they wanted, with no thought or care to how this foodstuff would affect their lives. There has been much innovation in the industry and revamping of menu items to includes things which will appeal to a new type of customer. The developed world is full of perceptive people who are more health conscious people now than ever before; anyone with an internet connection can access a world of information about eating choices, about what is healthy and what is not and access research from all over the world; the consumer is now more aware of his eating habits and the impact they have on his lifestyle and life longevity. Sodium, sugar, oil and carbohydrates are no longer thought to be delicious tasting food choices; they have dire consequences in the long run. Childhood obesity, blood pressure and heart trouble are only a handful of concerns that are becoming the bane of our existence. All of these present a huge challenge to the fast food industry and all the major players.
Bringing things into context, the world has never been busier. People are swamped with busy work and social lives and taking out the time to put together a home cooked meal is just not convenient. Adding to that the stress of buying the right food among thousands of choices that stock the supermarket shelves are stocked with has made cooking at home too cumbersome for many families. Furthermore, the Generation X - that grew up getting to learn about and love fast food - and Generation Y - which hankered with fast food since childhood - are going to take their own time catching up with the new eating lifestyle. Combine all of these with the soaring prices of food stuff and this leads to a steady demand for fast food. Therefore the same people are very much dependent on fast food for themselves and their families. Thinking along these issues has encouraged me to research the fast food industry in general and McDonalds in particular to understand what the company is doing to address these issues now and how these decisions will shape the company and the fast food industry in the future. The reason for selecting McDonalds for this project seems to be quite obvious as McDonalds is the biggest and most relevant player in the fast food business with operations and customers all over the world. The decisions this giant takes will be followed by the rest of the pack. So, what kind of challenges does the Marketing Director face when he creates the strategy to be followed across the board? How does he set to implement the strategy and which tools does he deem necessary for the implementation, such as promotional tools, pricing, packaging, location and advertising? How do the strategies which are set globally translate into local markets? How does the global experience help in deciding local product and service offerings? I think these concerns have never been more relevant than today and are the premise of the paper that follows. 2. Scope and Objectives This project is based on the research conducted in relation to McDonalds globally and in the U.S., Poland, Pakistan, Russia and Switzerland specifically. The scope of this project covers marketing activities of McDonalds in recent years. This paper is not intended to shed light on the