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By the time winter starts to arrive again across China this year, diners at the roughly 800 McDonald's restaurants open in the country by then will notice some-thing different on the menu: rice burgers.
The task of devising food for local palates has moved centre stage for the world's largest fast food chain as it ex-pands into emerging markets such as Chi-na. It is also addressing a proliferation of tastes and incomes among consumers in mature markets. Three weeks ago, Mc-Donald's started testing four soups in Portugal. There are plans for pasta in Australia.
For a fast food chain that operates in 118 countries,offering locally appealing food beyond its core menu of burgers and fries is not new. But the current drive is about more than one-off alter-ations to the menu. It is a systematic approach to localisation that is prompt-ing changes ranging from the design of kitchens to how the company manages its regional businesses.
Significantly, McDonald's country heads for Europe and Asia have in the last six months moved to be based in their re-gions, not at company headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois.
"McDonald's was built on a strong foundation of a core menu that we took around the world but we need to make sure we are more locally relevant," says Ken Koziol, vice-president of world wide restaurant innovation."Taste profiles and desires are changing."
Faith Popkorn, chief executive of BrainReserve, a brand specialist, says the days of "hero worship" of American cui-sine are over. "A brand had better start to make friends with the culture it's in, because that's the only way to weave its story in."
Others argue that the attempt to show more of a local face around the world poses a challenge to the way McDonald's manages its brand, long perceived as a global icon whose survival has depended on maintaining trust with a mass of con-sumers interested in a familiar core menu.
Lovers - and haters - of fast food have for decades known the Golden Arches as the global flag carrier for convenience eat-ing, US - style. Simon Anholt, a British author and founder of Nations Brand Index, a quarterly global survey of countries as brands, says the increasing localisation of McDonald's menus may end up being counter-productive.
"By putting local food on the menu all you are doing is removing the logic of the brand, because this is an American brand. If McDonald's serves what you think is a poor imitation of your local cuisine, it's going to be an insult," he says.
He suggests a better strategy would be similar to one adopted by soft drinks group Coca-Cola, which has made a virtue out of buying local drinks companies as a way of making itself more locally appealing, with-out emblazoning its name or logo on such products.
Yet the company believes it is possible to be global and local at the same time. Mary Dillon, chief marketing manager, says: "The business at McDonald' s is much more about local relevance than a global archetype. Globally we think of ourselves as the custodian of the brand but it's all about relevance to the local markets."
於 9:13 上午