Working for Mcdonald's in Europe: The Unequal Struggle?

By Tony Royle | Go to book overview

2

Welcome to Big Mac

Every day, we serve more than 40 million people in more than 24,500 restaurants in 116 countries around the world. …Yet, on any given day, that is less than 1 percent of the world's population.

(The McDonald's Corporation's world-wide web site)

The McDonald's Corporation is the largest food service operation in the world in terms of system-wide sales. At the befinning of 2000 it was operating more than 25,000 restaurants in 116 countries. A modest estimate of its current world-wide workforce would be around 1.5 million people, and 10 million people are estimated to have worked for the corporation since it was formed. More than one in ten Americans are reckoned to have got their first job at McDonald's, and it has now taken over from the US Army as having America's largest job-training programme (Vidal, 1997). It is an incredibly successful multinational and is expanding at a breath-taking rate. It plans to open between 2,500 and 3,200 new restaurants every year, the equivalent of one restaurant every 3 hours. If this rate of expansion is achieved, the corporation will have more than doubled in size to well over 50,000 restaurants by 2010. Part of this rapid expansion may also be aided by developments in technology. Two British companies claim the world record for the construction of a fifty-seat McDonald's restaurant in Peterborough, which was completed in 1 day and was open for business 48 hours after the site work was completed (Brown, 1999).

McDonald's shares are said to be the best-performing consumer stock on Wall Street. According to the McDonald's web site, in 1965 when McDonald's went public, 100 shares cost $2,250. On 31 December 1998, some 33 years later, those same shares adjusted for stock splits were worth more than $2.8 billion. The corporation has apparently now replaced General Motors as the bellwether of how America fares (Heskett et al., 1990) and in 1996 it was rated as the world's top brand by the Interbrand Consultancy, knocking Coca-Cola off its perch (The Economist, 1997). McDonald's has become a modern icon; in a survey of American children, Ronald McDonald came second after Santa Claus as the most famous person that they could think of, ahead of the President of the USA (TICL, 1987; Love, 1995). Indeed, the superlatives go

-16-

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Working for Mcdonald's in Europe: The Unequal Struggle?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Figures and Tables viii
  • 1 - Liberalism, Collectivism and the Multinational Corporation 1
  • 2 - Welcome to Big Mac 16
  • 3 - The Corporate Paradox 35
  • 4 - Mcdonald's at Work 56
  • 5 - 'there's No Place like Home' 85
  • 6 - Co-Determination? 119
  • 7 - For a Few Dollars More 150
  • 8 - Where's the Beef? 177
  • 9 - Conclusion 196
  • Appendix 215
  • Notes 223
  • References 226
  • Index 241
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