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European Business School London

BABM DISSERTATION

CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

What factors are currently influencing the consumer decision-making process in
the fast food restaurant industry in the UK, and how is McDonalds responding to
changing environment and consumer behaviour?

Rok Zerjal
Tutor: Richard Mannix
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Writing and putting together this dissertation has been both exiting and challenging. Indeed, I
have been able to work on really interesting topic- consumer behaviour.
In twelve weeks time that we have been given to write this dissertation have been very
intensive, to some extend exhaustive as well, and have taught me how to deal with a great
amount of information and work within limited period of time.
I have now completed my dissertation of Business and Management degree program at the
European Business School London, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few
persons in for their direct or indirect contribution to my work.
Firstly, I would like to thank my tutor Mr. Richard Mannix, Subject Leader Marketing EBSL,
who has been indeed extremely supportive and understanding whilst I was progressing
through my work. Without him I believe that I would not be able to write my dissertation in
the way it has been written.
Finally, I would like to thank my family, my dad who has provided me with some ideas, and
my mom, who has contributed with her thoughts while deciding upon my dissertation topic,
as well as I am thankful for her support and patience during the past weeks.

Rok Zerjal
London 4th of December 2006
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

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1.1 Consumer behaviour

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1.2. Fast food VS Junk Food

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1.3 Obesity in the UK

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1.4 Fast food industry in the UK

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1.5 McDonald's Corporation background

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1.6 Research question

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1.7. Plan of the dissertation

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CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW

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2.1 Consumer decision-making process

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2.2 Consumer attitude formation and change

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2.3 The marketing mix

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CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

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3.1 Research philosophy

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3.2 Research approach

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3.3 The purpose of the research

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3.4 The research strategy

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3.5 Data collection techniques and analysis procedures

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3.6 Sample selection

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3.7 Data collection

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3.7.1 Group interviews- focus groups

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3.7.2 Questionnaire

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3.8 Models employed in dissertation

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3.8.1 Consumer decision-making process

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3.8.2 Tri-component Attitude Model

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3.8.3 Hierarchy of Effects Concept

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3.8.4 PEST Framework

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1 Fast food industry in the UK.2.1 Option description and evaluation 45 5.overview 5.1 External analysis 22 5.1.2.1 Option 1: Increase awareness of the 45 quality of McDonalds’ products 5.1 Focus group (analysis of key points) 29 5.2 Socio-cultural conditions 26 5.2 Option 2: Introduction of new healthier 47 menus along with refurbishment of restaurants 5.1.1.3 Key drivers of change: 27 5.1 Political / Legal conditions 24 5.2 PEST Framework 22 24 5.1.2 Questionnaire (analysis of findings) 29 CHAPTER 5: RECOMMENDATIONS 44 5.2.2 Implementation plan 48 CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION 50 BIBLIOGRAPHY 52 APPENDIX A 56 APPENDIX B 57 APPENDIX C 62 4 .1.1.1.2 Key factors influencing the consumer 29 decision-making process 5.2.8.2.5 Ansoff’s product/market matrix 21 CHAPTER 5: FINDINGS 5.3.

2: Tricomponent Attitude model 18 Figure 3.3: The low-involvement hierarchy 19 Figure 3.7: question 8 37 Figure 5.5: question 3 36 Figure 5.LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.4: PEST Framework 21 Figure 3.1: Market share in UK (2004) 3 Figure 3.13: question 22 43 Figure 5.1 Options for McDonalds illustrated 44 in Ansoff’s matrix Table 5.10 question 14 40 Figure 5.2: Gantt chart for 2007 49 5 .4: Market share in UK (2004) 24 Figure 5.9: question 12 39 Figure 5.1: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value 22 Figure 5.12 question 20 42 Figure 5.3: Expenditure on eating out by sector 23 Figure 5.6: question 7 37 Figure 5.1: Consumer-decision making process 17 Figure 3.8 question 11 38 Figure 5.11 question 18 41 Figure 5.5: Ansoff’s product/market matrix 21 Figure 5.2: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value 23 Figure 5.

be it in newspapers or on TV news. whether we will go and eat burgers or not. That was my primary motivation. In those four months of studying in San Francisco. health concerns and dietary issues. At that point I began questioning my self the importance of healthy diet and how nutritious in fact fast food is? In the UK today.FORWARD Having studied in United States (San Francisco) gave me the opportunity to experience the eating habits of the “fast food nation” and the passion of the fast food myself. there is virtually no week that passes by without hearing any news regarding obesity. along with studying in the US. that pushed me towards understanding the process which impacts on us consumers. I have gained 7 kilograms. 6 .

tasty and fatty. It further aims to examine how is McDonalds responding to changing environment and consumer behaviour. Moreover 28% of those who were familiar with current 7 . Changing consumer lifestyle and Government interference were highlighted as two potential drivers of change. Respondents associated McDonalds and its products with adjectives such as unhealthy. Afterwards the qualitative focus group was conducted with an aim to explore and gauge consumer attitudes towards fast food and McDonalds.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The aim of this dissertation is to investigate the factors that are influencing consumer decision-making process in relation to fast food restaurant industry in the UK. 25% of respondents claimed that ethical issue regarding chicken bothers them and that is the reason they don’t eat chicken in McDonalds. Key themes from focus group were quality of fast food. A better understanding of the background and problems related to the fast food issue and context of decision-making process is first obtained via literature review. because of the highprofile political and public debate on obesity and other health issues that is UK currently facing. cheap. This is important and at the same time interesting to observe such topic. They ‘ranked’ their food (with exception of salads and fruit) as of the worst quality. trust towards McDonalds and impact of media and Government on consumer behaviour. with addition to identify the key drivers of change that might influence fast food industry in the future. These themes were then tested to a larger group using questionnaires. This quantitative survey was then used to gauge whether the views of the respondents from focus group were representative of a larger group. where various academic journals were examined. ethical aspects (animal welfare). In order to examine the context in which McDonalds is evolving. Key themes from focus group formed questions for the questionnaire. PEST framework was applied.

McDonalds is responding on changes in environment and consumer behaviour by introducing healthier menus.to increase awareness of the quality of McDonalds’ products and hence reduce consumers perceived risk and increase their trust with McDonalds brand. current high public obesity debates in the UK.e. Since consumer’s knowledge/information acquired regarding fast food are mostly negative.high public obesity debates in the UK issue it affected them in such way that they now eat less fast food as they used to. That is also author’s proposed recommendation. All factors above contribute towards risk perception that consumers have with McDonalds food. 8 . Marketers at McDonalds try to reduce perceived risk by providing consumers with information regarding their food. 35% of respondents claimed that ever since they saw the documentary “Super Size Me” they don’t eat in McDonalds anymore. as a result their attitudes are also negative. which also negatively impact on their decision-making process. Most purchases of fast food occurred as a result of impulse decision-making. Consumers do not trust McDonalds. There are also external influences that have negative impact on consumer decision-making process i.

p.1 Consumer behaviour Referring to Solomon (2006. 2004. services. p. as hamburgers. or exposure to mass media advertising. how they evaluate it after they purchase and the impact of such evaluations on future purchases. 2006) 9 . the background information on definitions of key terms and the chosen organisation will be presented. idea or experiences. p.8) 1. or fried chicken.2 Consumer attitudes According to Ajzen (1998) the attitudes are the first determinant of behaviour intention.CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION This chapter will give the reader a clear statement of the research question and the problem statement that will be addressed in this research.2. This means that attitudes relevant to purchase behaviour are formed as a result of direct experience with the product. (Schiffman and Kanuk. p. when they buy. 2004. and how they dispose it. Internet etc.253) As learned predispositions. (Schiffman and Kanuk. why they buy. Consumer behaviour focuses on how individuals make decisions to spend their available resources on consumption related items. use or dispose of products. (dictionary. that is prepared in quantity by a standardized method and can be dispensed quickly at inexpensive restaurants for eating there or elsewhere”. Fast food VS Junk Food Fast food is regarded as “food.27) consumer behaviour is the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select. attitudes may propel consumer towards particular behaviour or repel the consumer away from particular behaviour.253) 1. purchase. where they buy it. Moreover. pizza.com. . In consumer behaviour context attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect of a given object.1. There is a general agreement that attitudes are learned. Finally. the ‘route map’ will be illustrated in order to guide the reader to the rest of the report. how often they buy it how often they use it. Schiffman and Kanuk (2004. 1. That includes what they buy. word-of-mouth information acquired from others.

ice cream. bakery products.thirds of men and almost 60% of women are unhealthily heavy. (Euromonitor. diabetes. fish and pizza. (Boseley. 2006) In spite of consumer concerns of fast food being linked with problems such as obesity. In terms of per capita expenditure. 2006b) 1. Author of article argues that the "junk food" tag seem to be applied selectively. (Datamonitor. (O’Neill. it predicts. he points out that the term "junk" has become a way of disapproving of certain foods.5 McDonald's Corporation background 10 . 2006) Often the term junk food is used to describe fast food. which is massproduced and is of low nutritional value”.3 Obesity in the UK The most recent research has shown that being overweight or obese is now the norm in the UK. Hence. (Marrin.com. sweets and doughnuts. the UK fast food industry has enjoyed remarkable growth in recent years. So will 1million children. and often to food outlets in urban and suburban areas but not to those in leafier parts. a third of all adults in UK (13 million people) will be obese. the debate has been going on whether the term junk food (to describe fast food) is in fact justified. chicken. 2006) 1. 2006) Furthermore UK has the highest level of obesity in Europe. Within four years. or for consumption elsewhere. (dictionary. (Datamonitor. heart conditions. 2006) 1. food poisoning and scares and unethical advertising. the fast food outlets have been growing at the fastest pace within the consumer food service sector. between 2000 and 2005. Fast food outlets are specialised in burgers.Junk food is regarded as “food such as potato chips.4 Fast food industry in the UK Definition of the fast food industry: The fast food industry is defined as the sale of food and drinks for immediate consumption either on the premises or in designated eating areas shared with other foodservice operators. Just recently. with figures released by the government showing that two. the findings for ‘Forecasting obesity in 2010’ were grotesque. 2006) According to a report issued by the Department of Health.

McDonalds introduced healthier menus and just recently (October 13th 2006) it has announced that its sales had rocketed. (Clark.4 8. British restaurants were singled out among the biggest improvers in performance.000 fast food restaurants in over 120 countries. (Datamonitor. sending its shares soaring to a six year high. (Euromonitor . 2006b) Figure 1. Its profits grew by 55% in 2004.3 1.2 0.4 1.316 restaurants throughout the UK.8 McDonald's is a pioneer in the fast food industry and today world leader in the sector.000 people all over the world.3% value share and a clear lead over its nearest rivals KFC (owned by Yum Brands) and Burger King. However. Illinois and employs 447.McDonald's Corporation was the leading fast food outlet in the UK in 2004. (MarketLine. as it was serving mainly greasy food and therefore fuelling obesity epidemic.1: Market share in UK (2004) Name of the company McDonald's Corp Yum! Brands Inc Burger King Corp Pret a Manger Europe Ltd Compass Group Plc Nando's Group Holdings Ltd Source: Euromonitor. 2006b Market share (%) 18. The company has over 31. (Euromonitor. with an 18. 2006b) In 2003 the company was loosing money for the fist time in its five-decade history. 2006) McDonalds currently operates in more than 1. It is headquartered in Oak Brook. Moreover the company was loosing important consumers trust due to release of the documentary ‘Super size me’ and critical book ‘Fast food nation’.3 8. 2006) The company operates primarily in the US and the UK. 2006) 11 .

C. as external factors that have impact on consumers’ decisions will be investigated. A. With the aim of identifying the factors that are influencing consumer purchasing decisions in relation to fast food products: o The Consumer Decision-Making Process will be examined. Corporate responses on above changes: o How is McDonalds responding on the changes with respect to its marketing mix and communication strategy? The dissertation also seeks to propose a set of recommendations for future actions by the company.6 Research question What factors are currently influencing the consumer decision-making process in the fast food restaurant industry in the UK. B.1. and how is McDonalds responding to changing environment and consumer behaviour? The research question can be further divided into three sub sections in order to clarify the objectives of the research. in particular the psychological field.focusing specifically on consumers’ attitudes towards fast food and McDonalds. In addition the socio-cultural environment. In order to present the context in which McDonalds is evolving o The PEST Framework will be applied to identify the key drivers of change that may have an impact on the industry in the future. 12 .

1. analyses. compares and contrasts views and theories of other writers in relation to the research topic. leaving out discussion for the final chapter. METHODOLOGY In this chapter the research design and the research methodology employed to answer the research question will be explained and justified. CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 13 . In addition the implementation plan to support the key recommendation. the ‘route map’ will be illustrated in order to guide the reader to the rest of the report. It also provides the stepping-stone towards the methodology chapter of the dissertation. Finally. CONCLUSION In this chapter author will conclude his research with how the research question has been solved. Moreover. the external analysis will be applied.7. RECOMMENDATIONS In this chapter a set of proposed recommendations as well as supporting analysis of the options for McDonalds will be depicted. the background information on definitions of key terms and the chosen organisation will be presented. And secondly. author decided to brake down this chapter into to parts. Plan of the dissertation INTRODUCTION This chapter will give the reader a clear statement of the research question and the problem statement that will be addressed in this research. Therefore it identifies. LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter sets the study within its wider context and show the reader how this study supplements the work that has already been done on chosen topic. Firstly. in order to provide a reader with the context in which McDonalds is evolving. In addition. the key factors influencing the consumer decision-making process will be analysed/explored. In order to communicate findings clearly. In addition a brief re-cap of the whole dissertation will be provided . including description of resources required will be illustrated. FINDINGS This chapter will provide a reader with detailed presentation of facts and data obtained using tools described in research methodology. it provides the reader with a clear description of models and concept used for the analysis.

compares and contrasts views and theories of other writers in relation to the research topic. (Schiffman and Kanuk. It can signify whether the marketing strategy has been wise. observes the marketing issues. Firstly. Therefore it identifies. The following literature review will critically analyse the theories associated with the research topic. insightful. and effective. predominantly the consumer attitudes. Other articles examine more generally models of consumer attitude formation. analyses. or whether was poorly planned and missed the mark. While the first section focuses on the aspects of consumer behaviour. 2004. which influence the consumer decision-making process. some of which focus on food industry and public trust in food safety. Furthermore this review will contribute towards creation of possible marketing strategies as well as recommendations that McDonalds might pursue in order to respond on changing environment and consumer behaviour. as already outlined in the introduction section of dissertation.581) Verbeke (2005) recognizes that at any point in time throughout the decision-making process. p. hence it highlights the factors. Based on earliest 14 . The author has found a variety of academic articles. it looks at the issues of consumer behaviour. It also provides the stepping-stone towards the methodology chapter of the dissertation. Hence marketers are particularly interested in such process. particularly the marketing communication strategy within the marketing mix.This chapter sets the study within its wider context and show the reader how this study supplements the work that has already been done on chosen topic. the second part of the review. which might be useful applied to the research question in this dissertation.1 Consumer decision-making process The consumer decision to purchase or not to purchase the product is crucial for marketers. Therefore the following theories from consumer behaviour and marketing have been outlined:  Consumer decision-making process  Consumer attitude formation and change  The marketing mix 2. judgements and choices are affected by a variety of stimuli from environment as well as by internal process and characteristics form the consumers themselves.

advocate that the complexity of consumer decisions is increasing. along with the attitudes. in their study of consumer decision models. who were analysing the impact of McDonald’s and KFC’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) on consumers purchasing behaviour. they argue. 1957. Brown. McIlveen and Struggnel (2000) examined the nutritional awareness and food preferences among young consumers. 2005) proposed a classification with three types of influencing factors: environmental factors. They suggest that young consumer decisions regarding food preferences are influenced by nutritional awareness knowledge. authors propose that purchases of fast food are mostly impulsive. cited by Verbeke. person-related factors and properties of the food.presented models of consumer behaviour towards food (Pilgrim. Referring to Kim (2005) who was investigating how product involvement and values interact with consumers. cited by Verbeke. This knowledge is acquired within the home. They also put forward that education plays important role regarding healthy eating. 2005) and on a review of factors affecting food acceptance and behaviour (Shepherd. hence suggesting relatively low-involvement in each case.e. Nevertheless. 2. Lye et al. more current research examines consumer involvement under working assumptions that different types of product involvement trigger different behaviour. Jobbers (1995) identifies the concept of influences on consumer purchasing behaviour among which he points out the level of purchase involvement as one of the factors that influences the consumer decision-making process. “We have limited understanding of the decision process and the models are inadequate at predicting decision outcomes”. Author will attempt to identify and focus. the decision-making process model will provide the author and the reader with general overview and understanding of factors influencing on consumers purchasing behaviour. on the socio-cultural part of the consumer decision-making process. i. (2005). Steenkamp. school and social environments. impact of communication and information from mass media (bad publicity of fast food). In the research conducted by Schroeder and McEachern (2005). 1990.2 Consumer attitude formation and change 15 . are out of date and insufficient in providing the desired outcome. Hence the current models. 1997. as it appears that this is the most recent issue due to health concerns in the UK.

(Solomon et al. According to Ajzen (1998) the attitudes are the first determinant of behaviour intention. the hierarchy of effects indicates the different mental stages that consumer must go through when making buying decision and responding to marketing or noncommercial messages. As mentioned on previous page. cited by cited by Schroeder and McEachern 2005) recognize that information regarding firm’s ethical behaviour is thought to influence product sales and consumers’ overall image of a company. the low involvement hierarchy of effects would occur. Jongen and Meulenberg (1998. (Solomon et al.145) Referring to Schiffman and Kanuk (2004 p. who examined the influences on consumer decision-making process towards fresh meat. cited by Verbeke 2005) understanding of the factors that determine consumer perception/attitudes of a product’s value or cost is of crucial importance to an industry’s product innovation. 2006 p. issues relating to food safety and human health have gained considerable attention and importance. choice of marketing and communication strategy and maintenance of competitive advantage. 2006.256).. Additionally Verbeke (2005) recognizes that along with increasing importance of quality. plus taking into account that fast food is considered to be low involvement product. knowledge and perceptions (cognitive component) of an attitude that consumer has with an attitude object plays important/initial role by the attitude itself. Similarly Mohr et al. depending on particular hierarchy of effects in operation. In consumer behaviour context attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect of a given object. cited by Schroeder and McEachern 2005) acknowledge that the nature of fast food production and processing is becoming more important to consumer. Furthermore Harper and Makatouni (2002. p. All above links well to attitudes that consumers will have with fast food products and companies. In our instance. Attitude can form in several different ways. the 16 . (2001.For Nielsen. Most researchers agree that attitudes consist of three components: Affect (consumers’ emotions and feelings about the attitude object).140) For Verbeke (2005). This will be explained in more details in the next chaptermethodology.. where the attitude object is fast food. organoleptic and sensory properties of the food. Baltas (2001. Behaviour (intention to do something with regard to an attitude object) and Cognition (believes a consumer has with an attitude object). cited by Schroeder and McEachern 2005) note that ethical production in terms of animal and human welfare and environmental protection are of greatest importance.

When perceived risk is high. (Grunet. If not costumers will turn away to its competitors. that influence negatively on consumer’s purchase intention. as eating fatty food may be risky of suffering obese related diseases. Place. Schiffman and Kanuk (2004 p. values might in part represent some of the fundamental motives that drive and direct the consumer behaviour.formation of consumer attitudes is strongly influenced by personal experience. direct marketing and mass media. 2. 2006 p. (Brassington. consumer psychologists and public policy makers have an interest in the personal and social values of consumers as these deeply held feelings of what is important in life influence both consumer attitudes and behaviour. which influence both consumer attitudes and behaviour. Attitudes towards GM food are determined by perception of risk and benefits. Besides the values. recognize that marketers. but may also be relevant to less involving product fields such as food. Reflecting desired end states or ways of living. Furthermore Homer and Kahle 1988. Freiden and Henderson (1997) suggest that the influence of values may not be limited just to high. the influence of family and friends. Goldsmith. the influence of family and friends. The marketing mix creates an offering for the customer. The idea of 4Ps (Product. cited by Verdume and Viaene. Price and Promotion) was later formulated by McCarthy in 1975. Marketers need to ensure that the marketing mix meets their customers’ needs and wants in addition to that all of its components need to be consistent with each other. 2001. Author will try to connect the current health concerns/obesity issues to above factors that have direct impact on attitudes formation. Yet again author will attempt to link the current health concerns/obesity issues to above factors that have direct impact on attitudes formation. Finally.3 The marketing mix The concept of the marketing mix as the combination of the major tools of marketing was first developed by Borden in the 1950s. attitudes and purchase intentions with regards to genetically modified food. Freiden and Henderson (1997) who investigated the impact of social values on food related attitudes.256) acknowledge that formation of consumer attitudes is strongly influenced by personal experience. Verdume and Viaene (2003) investigated consumers’ beliefs. That might be linked to fast food as well.30) 17 . 2003). the importance of risk perception needs to be explained. direct marketing and mass media. cited by Goldsmith.involvement areas.

promotion. Fifield and Gilligan (1996. It consists of five main elements:  Advertising  Public relations  Sales promotion  Direct marketing  Personal selling (Brassington. sales promotion. However. Solomon et al. determinants. 2. quality. automation. the more important are many of the marketing stimuli (e. hence they are considered to be low involvement products. Physical – cleanliness.g. People – quantity. 7.Vignali (2001) acknowledges that for many years 4Ps have been used as the principal foundation on which a marketing plan is based. If we look further into the promotion part of the marketing mix. Product – features. 2006 p. decor. training. levels. jingles) that must be devised to sell it. however. Vignali (2001) applied 7Ps analysing the marketing mix of McDonald’s in the following way: 1. quality. number of outlets. ambience of the service.630) As mentioned earlier fast food products are purchased mainly impulsively. packages. public relations. cited by Vignali 2001) recognized the following variables as an integral part of the marketing mix. 18 .process. the emphasis will be on product. 5. which could be added to the 4Ps. the less important is the product to consumers. (2006) suggests that this might be involvement paradox. control procedures. Process – blueprinting. theorists have identified additional variables. the author will not focus on all 7Ps. Price – strategy. 6. Place – location. with particular attention being paid to services marketing in recent years. quantity. In this dissertation. 3. promotion and physical as this links logically with the research question/objectives. Promotion – advertising. physical and people. the promotional mix is a direct way in which an organization attempts to communicate with various target audiences. 4. Laurent and Kapferer (1985 cited by Kim 2005) recognize that the degree of consumer involvement in a product category has become a major factor relevant to advertising and promoting strategies.

in order to attempt to change consumer attitudes.Taking above statements into account. 19 . McDonald’s might want to employ advertising and sales promotions. Having said that author will focus therefore primarily on advertising and promotion of the promotional mix.

to ask questions and to assess phenomena in new light. it is important to understand the research philosophy one adopts. 20 .3 The purpose of the research According to Saunders et al. This emphasizes the difference between conducting the research among people rather than objects. p. 3. (2007. (2007. p. based on results of the data analysis. Saunders et al. 2007. Furthermore it interpretivism seeks to explain why human beings react and behave in the way they do.CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY In this chapter the research design and the research methodology employed to answer the research question will be explained and justified. it provides the reader with a clear description of models and concept used for the analysis. as it advocates that is necessary for the researcher to understand the differences between humans in our roles as social actors. The role ‘social actors’ plays significant role here. p. p.1 Research philosophy Referring to Saunders et al.. Author is predominantly interesting in understanding why something is happening. Within research philosophy author chose interpretivism. Moreover the research will be particularly concerned with the context in which such events were taking place.106) in order to underpin the research strategy and the methods as part of that chosen strategy. 2007. to seek new insights.118) 3...2 Research approach In this dissertation author will start with collecting the data first and then the theory will be developed. 3. (2007.106) Author believes that interpretivism is more appropriate that positivism philosophy as consumer behaviour differs form country to country. In addition.. (Saunders et al.133) exploratory study is a valuable means of finding out what is happening. rather than being able to explain what is happening.118) These are the reasons why this research will be undertaken inductively and not deductively. p. Deductive approach is used for scientific researches and it involves the development of a theory that is subject to a rigorous test.. (Saunders et al.

the research purpose will be exploratory and explanatory because the aim of the research is to explore consumer attitudes and factors that influence the consumer decision-making process in the fast food industry. (Saunders 2007. which appears to be appropriate for the research question (Saunders et al. 3. In the first part of this dissertation.147) justifies the adoption of a mixed-method to achieve an in-depth insight in consumer behaviour. Moreover it is of author interest to gain a rich understanding of the context of the research and the process being enacted. cited by Verdurme and Viaene 2003) Author therefore intends to conduct a qualitative survey 21 . Another advantage of using such approach is that it enables triangulation to take place.147) Saunders (2007 p. The case study has also considerable ability to generate answer to question “why”.139) 3. Baker and Goodyear (1998.5 Data collection techniques and analysis procedures To achieve the research aims. cited by Verdurme and Viaene 2003) recognise that interactive qualitative approach enables us to explore and to see particular issues (in our instance fast food) through consumers’ eyes and to understand the basis for their attitudes and behaviour.The emphasis by explanatory study is on studying a situation or a problem in order to explain the relationships between variables. On account of these factors the chosen strategy will be the case study. is to elucidate McDonalds potential responses on changing environment and consumer behaviour. Qualitative results are sometimes speculative and usually not generalisable to the larger population.. p. 2007. a mixed-methods data collection technique was adopted where both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques and analysis procedures are used. 2000. p.4 The research strategy Strategy used in this dissertation involves the empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within its real life context using multiple sources of evidence.. The purpose of the second part of dissertation. From the analysis of the market and consumer behaviour author will seek to apply established business models such as marketing mix in order to generate a set of practical recommendations for McDonalds business. For instance focus groups may be a valuable way of triangulating data collected by other means such as questioners. however. Nancarrow et al.

and secondly use its outcome to formulate questions for the questionnaire. 3. Nevertheless. 22 . However. Three out of seven participants were British citizens. thus resulting in less “extraneous variation”.to attempt to gauge whether the views of the respondents in the focus group were representative of a larger population. however. For that reason. 2005) support the use of students since they are more homogeneous as a group than non-students. For this reason non-probability sampling technique is more frequently used when adopting the case study strategy. author will still be able to generalize from such technique.207) suggests applying non-probability or judgemental sampling technique.6 Sample selection In this research the probability of each case being selected form the population is not known and it is impossible to answer research question or to address objectives require author to make statistical inferences about the characteristics of population. remaining four were international students. Moreover such technique provide author with opportunity to select sample purposively. Since there is nearly impossible to distribute over 100 questionnaires physically in such a short time. Saunders (2007 p. Author realizes that socio-economic status of some EBS students for the focus group might not be the same as one of typical fast food consumer. participants eat in such restaurants and are therefore appropriate for this study. (Saunders. The questionnaires were sent then to people around the UK. Taking above facts into consideration author decided. though. firstly. to carry out the qualitative focus group. Author acquired approximately 140 British email addresses that he got from a person who lives in London. Kraus (1995. cited by Schroeder and McEachern.235) The chosen sample for the focus group were undergraduate students form European Business School London in the UK. a convenience sample of students is justified for this exploratory study. not on statistical grounds. As a key target market of the UK fast food sector is between 17-25 years. 2007 p. author decided to distribute questionnaires to students via email. they have been living in the UK for 3-4 years.

author used firstly focus group and secondly questionnaire.wustl. 2007. p. for a better understanding of the background and problems related to the context of the consumer decision-making. Then their emotions and feelings towards fast food will be explored.edu. both primary and secondary data sources were used. Additionally the possible 23 . 3. unattributed) For questions discussed during focus group and other detailed information. participants (students) are selected because they have certain characteristics in common that relate to the topic being discussed and they are encouraged to discuss and share their points of view without any pressure to reach a consensus.339) As explained earlier by the sample selection.340) Furthermore the aim is to crate conditions that promote both comfort and independence of thought.focus groups This qualitative data collection technique was employed in order to get better understanding in consumer behaviour. 2000. Then the primary data was gathered using qualitative focus group.7 Data collection In this study. (gwbweb.1 Group interviews. periodicals. Participants in the focus group tend to express views that might not express in other settings.edu. Secondary data sources used in this dissertation include books. in order to maximize discussion and self-disclosure. Having said that knowledge and perception about fast food will be examined. When designing questions for focus group author focused primarily on two things. (Kruger and Casey. unattributed) With focus group individual group members’ interactions and responses are both encouraged and more closely controlled to maintain the focus. or if interviewed as individuals. McDonalds web site and other Internet sources. which were then quantitatively validated through questionnaires. (gwbweb. (Saunders. please refer to Appendix A. 2007. library databases. p. Firstly. For collecting primary data sources.7.3.wustl. firstly on exploring consumers’ attitudes towards fast food. cited by Saunders. and what kind of experience and beliefs participants have with such restaurants and products. the literature review was written based on secondary data collection. 2006. and secondly identifying impacts from external environment which might influence the consumer decision-making process regarding fast food. 2006.

formed questions for questionnaire and were further examined and tested to larger group. In order to ensure the high response rate. self-administrative questionnaires (internet-mediated questionnaires). Hence qualitative data obtained by focus group will inform the content of the questionnaire and will be tested to a larger group.386) encourages pilot test prior using the questionnaire to collect data. 2007 p.390) suggests use of covering email. Author sent questionnaire to few individuals before sending it to larger population. attached to actual questions. the tricomponent attitude model was incorporated. These provide a number of alternative answers from which respondent is instructed to choose. Saunders (2007. p.2 Questionnaire Since the participants in focus group were not randomly selected from the population. (Shiffman and Kanuk. The aim of my study was explained in the introduction part of questionnaire. Key themes from focus group (quality of fast food. Author decided to use questionnaires that are completed by respondents.356) a questionnaire to discover consumers’ attitudes can be complemented by focus groups to explore and understand these attitudes.258) Answering categories given in the questionnaires were also based on the preliminary qualitative research. i. According to Saunders (2007.com) due to time restrictions and convenience reasons. More specifically author selected special on-line surveys (www. 2004.e. please refer to appendix B.freeonlinesurveys. The key issues/themes identified from focus group were used as a basis to construct closedend questions or forced-choice questions. p. p.7. the author cannot freely generalize from the results. ethical aspects.focus group. Saunders (2007 p. to gauge consumers’ attitudes toward fast food products. in order to ensure that all questions are clear. for instance question number 4. 24 . (Saunders. For more information regarding actual questionnaire that was sent to participant. ranking and list type of closed questions. trust towards McDonalds.368) Moreover by designing questions.impact of current anti-obesity campaigns and regulations on participant’s decision-making process will be examined. 3. which explains the purpose of the study. impact of media and government on consumer behaviour). More specifically author used mainly category.

p. friends. situation and emotion. 2004.3.8.1: Consumer-decision making process 25 . Later research discovered that consumers are just as likely to purchase impulsively and to be influenced not only by family. social and cultural concept into easily understood framework.1 Consumer decision-making process Many consumer theories regarding the consumer behaviour were based on economic theory on the notion that individuals at rationally to maximize their benefits/satisfaction in the purchase of goods and services. and advertisers but also by mood. (Schiffman and Kanuk.1) of consumer decision-making process Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) identified three distinct but linked stages from which the process of consumer decision-making can be viewed. It ties together the psychological. All of these factors combine to form a comprehensive model of consumer behaviour that reflects both the cognitive and emotional aspects of consumer decision-making.19) In this simplified model (Figure 3. Figure 3.8 Models employed in dissertation 3.

attitudes consist of three major components:  Cognitive component.8.2 Tri-component Attitude Model According to tri-component attitude model.knowledge. Despite some critiques. 3.emotions and feelings that consumer have towards an attitude object 26 . which imply that these models are out of date and inadequate at predicting decision outcomes. perceptions and beliefs that are acquired by a combination of direct experience with an attitude object and related information from various sources.  Affective component.Source: Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) This model will provide author and reader with a starting point and general picture of what kind of factors have impact on consumer decision-making process. author decided to use it merely to clarify and illustrate rather complex process of the decision-making.

The tri-component attitude model will assist author to structure questions for focus group and questionnaire.3 Hierarchy of Effects Concept While all three components of an attitude are important. feeling and doing. Conative component. their relative importance will vary depending upon a consumer’s level of motivation with regard to the attitude object. emotions or feelings (toward the fast food) and finally likelihood or tendency (of certain behaviour). Attitude researchers traditionally assumed that attitudes were predetermined sequence.2: Tricomponent Attitude model Source: Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) This model emphasizes the interrelationships between knowing. When such model applied to the questions. the outcome might give author greater insight regarding knowledge and perceptions (about the fast food). Thus the concept of hierarchy of effects was developed in order to explain the relative impact of the three components. 3. followed by an evaluation of that object (affect) and then some action 27 . as it helps to explore and gauge consumers’ attitudes towards attitude objectfast food. consisting first of the formation of beliefs (cognitions) regarding an attitude object.is concerned with the likehood or tendency that consumer will undertake a specific action or behave in a specific way with regard to the attitude object Schiffman and Kanuk (2004 p.256) Figure 3.8.

economic. This framework will help to analyse the macro 28 . 3.8. p.142) Referring to that. depending in the consumer’s level of involvement and the circumstances. author assumes that consumers of fast food products will form attitudes via the concept of low involvement hierarchy of effects. when suggesting McDonald’s communication strategy. attitudes can result from other hierarchies of effects. (Solomon et al.4 PEST Framework The external environment will be analysed with the PEST framework. the consumer does not initially have a strong preference for one brand over another. In turn. but instead acts on a basis of limited knowledge and then forms an evaluation only after the product has been purchased or used. plus taking into account that fast food is considered to be low involvement product.(behaviour). socio-cultural and technological (Johnson et al. Under these conditions consumers are influenced by principles of behavioural learning. the low involvement hierarchy of effects can be illustrated. (Figure 3. which categorized environmental influences into four main types: political/legal.3) Figure 3. (Solomon et al.159) Hence in our instance. this concept will be taken into consideration later in the dissertation by the final recommendations.3: The low-involvement hierarchy Source: Solomon et al. p. 2006. where the attitude object is fast food. However.. 2005.65). 2006 p.. (2006) In this sequence.

now and in future affecting the industry. The use of this framework is useful only when you apply the potential impact of factors. to identify the political and sociocultural factors.environmental influences that might affect the organization. Having said that. It is important. as they appear to be of crucial importance by influencing the fast food industry in the future. 2005. In addition it will provide an overview of the environment in which McDonalds is evolving. Economic and technological factors appear not to have any significant impact on the fast food industry. we mean factors that have potential impact on customers and stakeholders. Nevertheless. however. It is of vital importance that one identifies the key drivers of change. (Johnson et al. not all factors will have the potential impact. and are hence irrelevant for such research.65). For that reason author decided to exclude them from the PEST Framework. p. as they will provide a better understanding of the main issues that are currently facing the industry and how these might affect the future of the business within the particular industry. thus combined effect of some of the factors is likely to be the most important. rather than just a long list of influences itself. Figure 3.4: PEST Framework 29 .

2005.341 Once the options will have been generated the author will be able to evaluate them and choose the one that could be the most beneficial. which is used for identifying directions for strategic development. (Ten Have et al.. 9) Figure 3. the author will use the Ansoff’s product/market matrix. 30 . p.5: Ansoff’s product/market matrix Source: Johnson et al.3. p.5 Ansoff’s product/market matrix In order to generate options for McDonalds.8.

In order to communicate findings clearly. the key factors influencing the consumer decision-making process will be analysed/explored.8 billion in 2005.0 4.CHAPTER 5: FINDINGS This chapter will provide a reader with detailed presentation of facts and data obtained using tools described in research methodology. in order to provide a reader with the context in which McDonalds is evolving.0 Source: Datamonitor.6 billion in 2005. 2006) Figure 5. generating total revenues of £1. 2006 31 % Growth .4 2004 2.1 External analysis In this section no other tools than PEST Framework will be applied.7 4. 5. 5.1 2003 2.1 2005 2. since the outcome of PEST analysis will provide author with sufficient information for further research.overview The UK fast food market generated total revenues of £2. Furthermore sales of fast food to quick service restaurants represented the markets most profitable segment.6 3.7% of the market’s overall value.6 4.8 4.1 Fast food industry in the UK. And secondly.5 4. 2001-2005 Year £ Billion $ Billion 2001 2.4 2002 2.1: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value: £ and $ billion.5 3. Comparing to 2004 revenues has increased by 4%.4 4. equivalent to 59. Firstly. author decided to brake down this chapter into to parts.1. (Datamonitor.8 5. the external analysis will be applied. leaving out discussion for the final chapter.

heart conditions.47 19.53 10. (Euromonitor. the fast food outlets have been growing at the fastest pace within the consumer food service sector. 2001-2005 Source: Datamonitor. In terms of per capita expenditure. 2006b 2000-2005 Nominal 5.84 14.3% value share and a clear lead over its nearest rivals KFC (owned by Yum Brands) and Burger King.63 6. (Euromonitor.2: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value: $ billion.32 2000-2005 Real -3.3: Expenditure on eating out by sector (growth): 2000.56 32.07 3.33 2.2005 Cafés/bars Full-service restaurants Fast food 100% home delivery/take-away Self-service cafeterias Street stalls/kiosks TOTAL Source: Euromonitor.11 McDonald's Corporation was the leading fast food outlet in the UK in 2004.76 20. between 2000 and 2005. the UK fast food industry has enjoyed remarkable growth in recent years. 2006 In spite of consumer concerns of fast food being linked with problems such as obesity.14 -4. food poisoning and scares and unethical advertising. 2006b) 32 .Figure 5. with an 18. diabetes.26 11. 2006b) Figure 5.65 40.55 12.

Those who are overweight are set a program of physical activities and dietary advice. 2006b) 5. (Datamonitor.2. a third of all adults in UK (13 million people) will be obese. (Datamonitor.3 1.2 0. 2006)  Rising costs for NHS due to obesity Currently 10% of National Health Association resources are spent on diabetes. Its profits grew by 55% in 2004. 2006) More and more doctors’ surgeries require their patient to have an annual health check up. it predicts.1. (MarketLine. The company has over 31.2 PEST Framework 5.Figure 5. 2006) According to a report issued by the Department of Health.1. (Euromonitor . It is headquartered in Oak Brook. Illinois and employs 447. and this could easily be doubled within next four years to 20%. (Marrin.1 Political / Legal conditions The most recent research has shown that being overweight or obese is now the norm in the UK. (Marrin. Within four years.316 restaurants throughout the UK.000 fast food restaurants in over 120 countries. (Boseley. 2006) Furthermore UK has the highest level of obesity in Europe. So will 1million children. 2006) The company operates primarily in the US and the UK.8 McDonald's operates fast food restaurants all over the world.3 8. National health service introduces top-up charges for those who are considered to be clinically obese.000 people all over the world.thirds of men and almost 60% of women are unhealthily heavy. the findings for ‘Forecasting obesity in 2010’ were grotesque.4: Market share in UK (2004) Name of the company McDonald's Corp Yum! Brands Inc Burger King Corp Pret a Manger Europe Ltd Compass Group Plc Nando's Group Holdings Ltd Source: Euromonitor. 2005) 33 .4 1.4 8. 2006) McDonalds currently operates in more than 1. with figures released by the government showing that two. 2006b Market share (%) 18. (Blackman.

Obesity is a major risk factor linked to heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. It reduces
life expectancy by an average of nine years, and by more in smokers. Apart from the human
cost to the individual, there is a direct cost of obesity to the nation. The Government has
calculated that the overall cost of obesity to the National Health Service is around £1 billion
(2006), with a further £2.3 billion to £2.6 billion for the economy as a whole. It warns that if
obesity continues to increase, the cost to the economy alone could rise to £3.6 billion by 2010,
plus at least £1 billion on the NHS bill. (Euromonitor, 2006a)
Referring to the Department of Health, growing obese crisis is expected to cause thousands
more people to suffer obesity related diseases. (Oliver, 2006)

The White Paper

In 2004 the UK Department of Health released an extensive White Paper on “Choosing
health: Making healthy choices easier” that makes several recommendations for UK policy
on diet and health. (Blackman, 2005)
o Processed foods will be clearly labelled to indicate fat, sugar and salt content,
using a ‘traffic light’ system (e.g. red light for foods high in sugar, fat or salt).
o An independent task force will be set up to look at the best ways to prevent and
treat obesity.
o Emphasis will be placed on the role of schools, which will be tasked with
providing healthier meals, free fruit and sport both within and outside of school
hours.
o The way in which foods are advertised to children will be investigated, with a
view to voluntary restrictions, or possibly legislation, on “junk food” adverts.
(Blackman, 2005)
Regarding the last recommendation (advertising ban on junk food), several health charities
and campaigners put constant pressure on government concerning that issue. "We are
demanding the government place restrictions on advertising junk food to children before the
9pm watershed- a policy that can only have a positive impact on young people's attitudes to
foods high in fat, sugar and salt”, said Maura Gillespie, head of policy and public affairs at the
British Heart Foundation. (Oliver, 2006)

Fat tax
34

Another policy to tackle the rising incidence of heart disease and prevent obesity is to place so
called fat tax on junk food. The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit raised the prospect of extra
duty or VAT being imposed on some fatty foods after heart disease overtook cancer as
Britain's biggest killer, and more young people started developing diabetes. This would be a
warning sign to producers as well as consumers and serve more broadly as a signal to society
that nutritional content in food is important. (Telegraph, unattributed, 2006)
The British Medical Journal recently claimed a “fat tax” could help prevent 1,000 premature
deaths from heart disease every year in the UK. (News.bbc, unattributed, 2006a)
5.1.2.2 Socio-cultural conditions
According to the most recent Consumer Lifestyles in the UK research, the three main eating
occasions (breakfast, lunch and dinner) have become less structured / planned in recent years.
Instead, fast food and snacking have become everyday routine. (Euromonitor, 2006a)
Factors contributing to these changes in consumer eating habits are:

Increasing number of workingwomen

Longer working hours and shorter lunch breaks

Which have all resulted in a general speeding up of lifestyles and switching to fast food.
(Euromonitor, 2006a)
Moreover;

Average household size has declined

Number of single- person households is increasing

As a result, fewer family meals are taken, hence each family member take care of their own
meal. (Euromonitor, 2006a)
Above factors have led to a demand for food that is ready to eat, and which does not require
cooking or preparation at home. This includes fast food, snack food, confectionery and
biscuits, take-away food and home meal replacement products. (Euromonitor, 2006a)

Popularity of fast food

Referring to Wall Street Journal survey, 84% of people who are eating out spend £21 or less
on each meal- that is well bellow the level in Italy, Belgium and Netherlands. This low level
of expenditure correlates to the prevalence of fast food, which is cheaper than the traditional
restaurant meals. (Euromonitor, 2006a)

Attitudes towards healthy eating
35

Despite the increasing tendency of consuming junk food and rising obesity level, the health
concern of UK consumers, according to the survey undertaken in 2004, are very much high.
(Euromonitor, 2006a)

Influence of TV chefs

Another factor that has influenced the UK consumers is chef Jamie Oliver. His television
shows, books and recent TV series designed to improve the quality of school food and
highlight the danger of junk food in the UK have significantly increased consumer as well as
government awareness and interest in healthy eating. (Euromonitor, 2006a)
According to a survey, Jamie Oliver is named the biggest single force behind an improvement
in school dinners. The celebrity chef is perceived as having a bigger impact than the
government, local education authorities and the schools themselves. (Guardian, unattributed,
2006a)

Negative publicity of fast food

Despite the increasing popularity of fast food restaurants in the UK, they have been hit by
negative publicity in recent years. The reason behind that is their association with unhealthy
food and their perceived contribution to childhood obesity. Thus the growth in traditional fast
food sub sector (burgers, chip, kebab etc.) has been offset by continuous product innovation in
the bakery- sandwich sub sector (Pret-a-Manger, Subway, etc.) (Euromonitor, 2006a)
5.1.2.3 Key drivers of change:
Now that environmental factors have been identified, what is the future impact of these
factors? The key drivers of change, arising from external environment, that could have an
impact on fast food industry in the future, are manly:
 Consumer demand (changing consumer lifestyle)
British lifestyle is becoming increasingly busy; decreasing free time and increasing disposable
income resulted in more consumers deciding on paying on food service rather than preparing
meals themselves. Plus changes in lifestyle have led to reduction in the number of structured
meals, as people choose more convenient options- fast food. (Euromonitor , 2006a)
While above changes in consumer lifestyle speak in favour of fast food industry, on the other
hand, the UK consumer is becoming more and more health conscious and is aware of the fast
food poor nutritious.
The next key driver of change that could affect the industry in the future is:
36

2 Key factors influencing the consumer decision-making process 5. These drivers will affect the fast food industry.the strong consumer demand and changes in lifestyles. it is crucial to examine the attitudes that consumers have toward fast food. the government has failed to stop the rise of obesity during its nine years in power. (Marrin. The Government interference The high. 5. or escalating trend of healthy living underpinned by possible new government legislations. it is hard to predict what impact will predominate. 2006) Perhaps the seriousness of the situation has finally brought the government to take more interventionist approach and ignore the accusations of running the “nanny state”. Understanding this may then enable McDonalds to develop more effective marketing and communications strategy. (Euromonitor. however.profile political and public debate on obesity and other health issues will most probably continue and this is likely to negatively affect burger. which appears to be in favour of fast food industry. (Oliver. In order to determine how McDonalds might effectively cope with the changes in environment.2. which negatively impact the industry. 2006) Probably is just the matter of time when it will start to employ the issues form the White paper in addition to other proposals in order to tackle obesity.1 Focus group (analysis of key points) As explained previously in methodology chapter focus group can be divided into two parts. 2006b) To make the above statement even more plausible. chicken and pizza fast food sales. Whereas the last three questions are seeking any 37 . Data of this kind may give McDonalds greater insight into customer needs and wants. First three questions are designed in such way that they focus on exploring consumers’ attitudes towards fast food (and McDonlads).

They argue that they use 100% beef in their burgers.” Since some answers given by participants were considered to be bias. Then they would put apple flavour and cinnamon to make it taste like apple”.impacts coming from external environment that might have an impact on consumer decision making process in relation to fast food products. under what conditions. “Vegetables they put in burgers are horrendous. and to be honest I wouldn’t trust it if I saw it. Part one: Exploring consumers’ attitudes towards fast food A lengthy debate took place regarding the quality of fast food.from hatchling to full size takes three months. Raw ingredients have to meet strict specification and every detail of production. How hard is it to keep vegetables fresh”? Another issue regarding ingredients was noted when one participant said that: “I heard that Apple pies in McDonalds aren’t really made of pure apples. but I will never eat it because I know what is in there.” The debate continued about what sort of things beef burgers consist of. they are developing and maintaining the high standard of food quality. Referring to McDonalds. naturally it should take approximately 16 months.” Another participant said: “I’ve never seen nutritional facts in McDonalds. but some cheap artificial stuff. author verified the content of McDonalds fast food products on their official website. They are fed with steroids. Massive manufacturing of chicken. As one participant said: “There isn’t any fast food restaurant that offers quality food. you open a burger and you see yellow lettuce. “We will never know how animas were raised. “What really bothers me about fast food is the ethical aspect attached with food quality. transport.” Another participant said: “I never eat chicken in fast food restaurants on the principle of my knowledge of what they do to chicken. and we will never know what’s in there (in burgers). if not brown. bought from farms accredited by nationally recognized farm assurance schemes. delivery and preparation is extensively monitored.” Participants noted that companies are not fully respecting the moral issues regarding the animal welfare. For focus group questions and other detailed information please refer to appendix A. They all agreed that the quality of meet (beef) is very bad as they heard they put all sort of parts of animals in there. followed by ones statement: “I absolutely love the taste of the fast food. Respondents classified them as extremely poor nutritious food. safety and traceability.” The debate carried on discussing the ethical issues regarding fast food restaurants. This triggered a short discussion of how huge the chemical flavouring business is. 38 .

argues that French fries are seen as ‘junk food’. participants clearly are either not aware of or they don’t (want) to believe it. During the debate author noticed several times that fast food has been referred as ‘junk food’i. but roast potatoes are not. it would not determine them from going to eat in such restaurants. The adjective 'junk' is unfortunate. but the sugar in honey and grapes is not. All beef they use is audited by the European Food Safety Inspection Service. 2006) Despite what McDonalds claims they use in their products. participants still associated fast food with ‘junk food’ and therefore simultaneously related it to fat. food that is considered to be fatty and unhealthy. (mcdonalds.uk. a way of disapproving of certain foods. the term ‘junk’ has become “simply a matter of aesthetics”. the Food Standards Agency ‘junk food’ is any food high in fat. However. salt or sugar. greasy and unhealthy food.They only use cuts of forequarter and flank (parts of a cow). Koeslag. Chicken they use is in their sandwiches comes form approved suppliers that have a fully integrated supply chain to ensure full control over all aspects of chicken farming. with nothing added. but others are not? Government ministers and celebrity chefs discouraging people eating French fries (which in McDonald's contain about 5g of fat). why are some fatty foods defined as ‘junk’. The sugar in cake is detrimental to health. Referring to one article. cited by O’Niell (2006). while nutritious value of fast food and ethical issue is important to them. which then have negative impact on the perception of such food.e. and at the same time say nothing of eating a dish like duck a l'orange (which can contain 15 to 20g of fat in a single serving). (O’Neill. (O’Neill. However. including feed and animal welfare. The truth is that their overall knowledge. perception and beliefs regarding food quality and animal welfare are negative. a professor of medical physiology in South Africa. if not outright misleading. 2006) Above arguments indicates that McDonalds food is not as fat and caloric comparing to other food (in some instances even less caloric and fatty). Bread is a basic foodstuff. which studies food and obesity issues. but biscuits are ‘junk’. Why does the ‘junk food’ tag seem to be applied selectively? According to Peter Marsh of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford. 2006) O’Niell argues.co. 39 .

Participants are aware of poor nutritious of fast food and links with obesity related diseases. Psychological risk could be linked to consumer’s ego. according to research hamburgers and fries could be as addictive as heroin. high blood pressure. i. they still go and eat there.bbc.). Researchers in the United States have found evidence to suggest people can become overly dependent on the sugar and fat in fast food. Referring to Schiffman and Kanuk (2004. etc. Types of risks that might be perceived in case of eating in fast food restaurants are physical and psychological risk. (Revill. to crave sweets). it’s when you have a crave.e. an increase of 13% of his body mass and cholesterol levels soaring. unattributed .” Other participant said: “It comes once in a while. eating too often in McDonalds could result in laugher of my colleagues. 2003) The majority of participants described eating in such restaurants as convenient: “It’s convenient and cheap. This statement may suggest that eating such food comes as an eager desire.uk. Perhaps the frequency of eating in such restaurants is also associated with risk perception. unhealthy and low-class. scientists have claimed. According to Dictionary. According to Schiffman and Kanuk (2004. you can go in McDonalds and eat for three pounds three burgers. desire eagerly. Having said that author refers to some instances of females (or men) “addiction” to chocolate. as he ate only McDonald's for a month. then I go and eat in McDonalds”. although not very often. others totally hated it. where else can you do that”? Despite the fact that group described fast food as unhealthy.198) the degree of risk that consumers perceive and their own tolerance for risk taking are factors that influence their purchasing strategies. p.Group expressed mix feelings and emotions towards fast food (McDonalds). since they might perceive it as something cheap. One participant put this reason for going to McDonalds: “I’m dying of hunger and nothing else is available. This could imply that eating fast food for some people is similar to eat sweets (as stated at Dictionary. you know as it’s like something driving me there. (news. Maybe they link such products with risk. Physical risk could be associated with the risk of eating fatty food and thus hazard of suffering obese related diseases (high cholesterol.198) more information 40 .co.com. While some participants absolutely loved it. This perhaps could be linked to the infamous documentary about McDonalds and fast food ‘Super size me’ which showed its maker Morgan Spurlock's gain 11 kilos. To underpin that. p.com “to crave” means to want greatly. 2004) In the documentary Morgan also suggests that such food is addictive.

thus the lower the perceived risk. for instance.e.. McDonalds tries to reduce consumers’ perceived risk by providing information about their products. For instance. calculate daily calories intakes and compare them to McDonald's choices. Schroeder and McEachern) implicates that purchasing fast food is mostly impulsive. All that with attempt to reduce consumer perceived risk. 2006 p. Under these conditions consumers are influenced by principles of behavioural learning.the most recent one. 41 .co. (McDonalds.the customer has about the product and the product category. it’s late. Author assumes that this could be done intentionally as one of the tactics McDonalds use to encourage more customers to eat in their restaurants. i. via sponsoring various sport events. McDonalds restaurants are currently advertising various attractive Sony prizes that can be won. using special tables. Moreover they have been promoting active lifestyle and importance of energy balance for over a decade. Various points of purchase stimuli plays important role when the consumer involvement is low and the purchase is impulsive. 2006a) One can. They strive to show customers that their burgers are not as bad as majority might think. as well as to the way it is presented. They also argue that McDonald’s “highly quality food is made out of best raw ingredients”. providing information regarding animal and environmental welfare. they do not plan that in advance. suggesting that fast food is low involvement product.uk.142) Therefore marketers at McDonalds pay more attention to the amount of information in their restaurants.the Olympic Games! One participant described his eating in fast food restaurants as: “You are tired. Also when one passes by the McDonalds restaurant the typical smell that is coming out of the restaurant works as stimuli for going into the restaurant for a meal. the more predictable the probable consequences and. Basically their website is designed in such way to inform consumers about the food and services they offer. On their website everyone can have a look what ingredients each product consists of.people in general. which are yet to come. (Solomon et al. when they decide to go in such restaurants. you are walking home and then you see McDonalds.at that point I decide to go and eat there… sometimes I smell McDonalds”. Similarly one added: ”I often go there when I’m driving and I see the golden arch…” These two statements (plus referring to other researchers.

however.that is important to have a balanced diet and take exercise. 2004. consumers follow the peripheral route and rely more heavily on other message elements (e. (Schiffman and Kanuk. Part two: influences from external environment impacting (current obesity issues in the UK.g. etc. as they try to increase consumer involvement with the use of celebrity endorsement. Its general change in lifestyle…people don’t exercise.238) That is one of the reasons why is McDonalds using the famous jingle “I’m Lovin’ it” backed up by famous artist Justin Timberlake. When involvement is low. they are lazy”.co. people don’t really know how to eat.couch potato lifestyles and stuffing food in their mouth that taste good and they have no knowledge about how this food does harm to them.uk.supersizeme-thedebate. besides what the actor ate in 30 days. cited by Brown. 2006b) In response to the documentary McDonalds launched a website www. background music) to form attitudes or make product choices. (McDonalds.The Elaboration Likehood Model (ELM) suggests that a person’s level of involvement during message processing is a critical factor in determining which route to persuasion is likely to be effective. that’s twice the recommended intake for and adult male. Another one said: “Super size me movie make me not want to go to McDonalds ever again…” It was interesting. McIlveen and 42 . to investigate the companies’ responses on that infamous documentary. Referring to Alock (1995).co. p. They argue that actor ate a one-dimensional diet with more than 5000 calories a day. It is hardly surprising then that this had impact on his body. an average British McDonalds customer eats in 6 years. they claimed that such issue is not affecting them in any way. That is not the reality. “It is really the matter of ignorance.) on consumer decision making process with respect to fast food While all participants were familiar with the current obesity issue in UK.uk which provides customers with information on a balanced diet and their opinions on documentary. Honestly I believe that is a question of education…people aren’t aware of the consequences”. impact of media. McDonalds also supports their customers by providing them relevant nutritional facts so they can make informed decisions. McDonalds surprisingly stated on their website that on the whole they agree with the Super size me’s message. Debate carried on as one participant said: ”Its about changing lifestyles. One can even take a test in order to separate the facts form the fiction and at the same time learn the truth behind statements. while he goes from highly active individual to purposely stopping all physical activities.

later research suggested that the food preference habits of young consumers could change. fuelled from birth by the guidance of parents. and not stop companies from what they are doing”. A lengthy debate took place whether should the government bring in laws to stop companies promoting and producing unhealthy food or let the industry self-regulate and allow customers make their own choices. On the last question should fast food companies be held responsible for rising obesity levels in the UK everyone said no. Everybody is given a choice to choose healthier alternative over the fast food”. from that point on it’s their own choice. they were sceptical by other regulations. school.it’s a matter of education. 1997. you have made that decision…but then again we have came back to the question of education. evidence has suggested that young consumers appear to be creatures of habit. except one student who argue that: “They (fast food companies) are aware of what they are serving. school and social environments. they know what kind of impacts such food has on people. What the government should be doing is promoting other lifestyles. Or perhaps this is the matter of their social status/class. This might indicate that the way children were brought up. peers and from other societal factors and once formed. depending upon the environment within which they are present (home. McIlveen and Strugnell.Strugnell (2000). then they will end up not doing so later in their life”. cited by Brown. 43 . social). (Brown. it is likely to affect its food behaviour.if that is really what you want to do (eat) as you have healthier alternative option right next door. However. who are educated final year university students. Furthermore one participant stated: ”If parents don’t encourage kids to do something (sport) and if they don’t teach them how to eat properly. Group supported the fact that the government intends to interfere/has interfered by imposing regulation regarding advertising junk food to children.“I believe strongly in the personal liberty and making your own choice. such habits are difficult to change. If people know they have alternatives. 2000). If you walked in the fast food restaurant. do not eat in McDonalds that often. the power of education can be immensely helpful in the pursuit of better understanding by consumers regarding healthy eating and may occur within home. However. This implies that education might play crucial role by deciding what people eat. Followed by another participant: “I agree. Group advocated “personal liberty”. According to Warwick et al. McIlveen and Strugnell (2000). Perhaps that is the reason why in general all participants.

The respondent profile to the questionnaire.5) Figure 5. McDonalds)? 44 . As mentioned in methodology chapter.2 Questionnaire (analysis of findings) In order to present it in a coherent way. According to Schroeder and McEachern (2005). The convenience-healthfulness dichotomy. impact of media and Government on consumer behaviour) will be tested to larger group of people in the UK. trust towards McDonalds. 5. The gender split was 49% men and 51% women. Fast food companies are not to be blamed for rising obesity levels in the UK. matched this target market with 88% aged between 17-25 years. There could be a possibility that fast food chains will be fought in a similar way tobacco companies were fought. describing fast food as convenient but unhealthy was underlined.5: How often do you eat fast food (i. though people themselves. High public anti-obesity debates in the UK appear to have no significant negative impact on consumer attitudes towards fast food. Author has found following results: In total 71 participants responded on the survey. I don’t know. (Wazir.but they are in the business of making money. however. author decided to structure following analysis on five parts. The desire for fast food comes impulsively. There were some cases in which individuals blamed McDonalds for causing obesity. So in a sense yes they should be held responsible”. while ethical issue and nutritional value of fast food is important to them it will not determine them from going to eat in such restaurants. (Figure 5.e. the lawsuits were dismissed. 2003) To conclude.2. the global target market for fast food companies is between 17-25 years. ethical aspects. following key themes from focus group (quality of fast food. But somewhere you have to draw a line of what’s right and what’s wrong…maybe that’s an ethical issue. 30 out of 71 respondents (42.3%) eat fast food once every month.

The majority of respondents classified all types of food with exception of salads and fruit. Answers given by that question justified a lengthy debate from focus group. 34% of respondents have seen a list of nutrition facts in McDonalds restaurants. For detailed information regarding that question please refer to Appendix C. QUALITY OF FAST FOOD & CONSUMER’S TRUST IN MCDONALDS Author used ‘selected evaluative scale’ to gauge respondents’ attitudes towards quality of fast food.6) When respondents were given the 5 point Likert-scale.7) Figure 5. “…committed to providing high quality food. (Figure 5. using the best raw ingredients” as untrue. as the worst quality. that nutritional value of such food is indeed regarded as extremely poor. Nevertheless.6: Do you believe McDonalds put chemicals in their food? (To improve the taste and/or improve the texture of vegetables) 45 . (Appendix C) 83% of respondents believe that McDonalds use chemicals in their products. 31 out of 71 (44%) considered what McDonalds claims on their website. those who had seen it they do not trust what is written on it. (Figure 5.

. 34% said they would go eat there more often. etc. apples in their apples pies.Figure 5. 46 .7: McDonalds claims on their website that they use “the best raw ingredients in their highly quality food”! Do you believe that? Please mark on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 as least believable)! When respondents were given the fact that if McDonalds would have used 100% beef along with fresh vegetables.

8) Furthermore. claimed by larger population as the strongest reason why eating there as well. Figure 5. It was. where 27 out of 71 participants (38%) selected that option over the convenient one (28%).uk and 50% of those who have visited claimed that they haven’t found it really appealing or useful.8: If yes. 61% of those who haven’t visit the website they don’t intend to visit it in the future. (Figure 5.co.9) 47 . (Figure 5.30% of respondents have visited www.mcdonalds. do you find it appealing and/or useful? Reason for going to McDonalds as “dying of hunger and nothing else is available” was firstly picked up during the focus group discussion. however.

25% of those claimed that this is the reason they don’t eat chicken in McDonalds.9: What makes you go to McDonalds? When participants were asked to write three adjectives they would link to McDonalds products. (Figure 5.  ETHICAL ISSUES Merely 31% of respondents did not have any knowledge what ethical issue (animal welfare concerning chicken) in relation to McDonalds is. cheap. tasty and fatty were the ones that were noted most frequently.10) 48 . unhealthy. While great majority of respondents were familiar with the ethical aspects. For adjectives given by all 71 participants please refer to Appendix C.Figure 5.

etc.  IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA The great majority (76%) claimed that were familiar with the current obesity issues (the government anti-obesity policies.2g) 49 . (Figure 5.) in the UK.10: When you eat chicken sandwich at McDonalds.2.Figure 5. 15% of those who were familiar with that issue claimed they have now different perception of fast food and hence they don’t eat it any more. does the ethical issue regarding chicken bothers you? When respondents were given the fact that if McDonalds would have used 100% naturally raised chicken meet. Moreover 28% of those who were familiar with that issue it affected them in such way that they now eat less fast food as they used to. Jamie Oliver campaigns. 39% said they would go eat there more often.

(Figure 5. had a strong negative influence (on those who had seen the movie). 35% claimed that ever since they saw the documentary. which 84% of all participants claimed they were familiar with.12) 50 .Figure 5. they don’t eat in McDonalds anymore.11: Do these high public obesity debates from the government and media have any impact on you (in terms of what makes you change your attitudes towards fast food products)? The infamous documentary ‘Super size me’.

13) 51 .Figure 5.12: Did Super size me documentary made you go less in McDonalds? On the last question participants blamed ‘junk food’ as the strongest reason for UK being selected as the fattest country in Europe. (Figure 5.

However. What do you think is the reason for that? Please apply everything that you consider as a reason! In conclusion. respondents by questionnaires claimed opposite. cheap.Figure 5. one topic from focus group did not match with answers given in questionnaires.13: UK has been recently chosen as the fattest country in Europe. author found out that the key issues/themes from the focus group discussion appeared to be of greatest importance with the larger group of UK’s fast food target market. current high public obesity debates in the UK along with the documentary Super Size Me. appears to contribute towards negative attitudes that consumers have with McDonalds. They ‘ranked’ their food (with exception of salads and fruit) as of the worst quality. 52 . Respondents associated McDonalds and its products with adjectives such as unhealthy. While participants in the focus group claim that current public anti-obesity debates in the UK have no significant negative impact on their attitudes towards fast food. Ethical issue concerning McDonalds. tasty and fatty.

Options like Increase awareness of the quality of McDonalds’ products. to boost current rising sales and secure escalating share prices. however. From the introduction chapter it can be seen that the company is.1 Options for McDonalds illustrated in Ansoff’s matrix 53 . Now that factors that influence the consumer decision-making process regarding fast food have been identified and analysed. including description of resources required will be illustrated. Due to word limit restrictions for this dissertation. despite its traditionally unhealthy image. the following recommendations that McDonalds might pursue is proposed. Figure 5.CHAPTER 5: RECOMMENDATIONS In this chapter a set of proposed recommendations as well as supporting analysis of the options for McDonalds will be depicted. new healthy menus along with redecorating its restaurants. few areas that McDonalds might improve in. The proposed two options are illustrated in Ansoff’s Matrix. There still are. performing in fact really good. author decided to further describe and evaluate two options that could be beneficial for McDonalds. and hiring celebrity chef to promote McDonalds brand might help McDonalds improve its business of operation. In addition the implementation plan to support the key recommendation. promotion of active lifestyle through celebrity football player.

(E. This could be done using promotional material such as special coupons at the restaurants. by which these strategic options can be judged.uk. From the questionnaire analysis 61% of participants who have not visited their website.is concerned with whether the strategy could be made to work in practise. it is important that McDonalds attempts to reduce that perceived risk with providing consumers with information about nutritional content of their food.co. The content of website would have to be attractive that they would read everything regarding 54 .1.1 Option description and evaluation It is important that options are presented with a concept of success criteria. their attitudes towards McDonalds food are negative. p. On that coupon there would be a number which must be entered on their website in order to win (if to be selected) attractive prices.  Feasibility.  Acceptability. 5. Sony cameras) That would make people go on their website more often. do not plan to do so.is concerned with whether expected performance outcomes (such as the return on risk) of a strategy and the extent to which these would be in line with the expectations of stakeholders.mcdonalds. iPods.1 Option 1: Increase awareness of the quality of McDonalds’ products From the analysis of focus group and questionnaires it is clear that people simply do not trust McDonalds.5.357).is concerned with whether a strategy addresses the circumstances in which firm is operating. On top of that the high public obesity debates. It is important therefore to persuade this large percentage of consumers to go on their website. there are three main success criteria:  Suitability. This can be done through various ways. have impact on consumer’s risk perception towards fast food. which would be collected after the purchase with a receipt. documentaries and various books stressing extremely negative facts and consequences of fast food. The fact of the matter is that their perception.g. According to Johnson (2005. Hence. One of them is to persuade people to visit www. It requires an emphasis on more detailed practicalities of strategic capability.

people would go more often to McDonalds if they would be guarantied that what they are eating is 100% good quality food. From the analysis 34% (for beef burgers) and 39% (for chicken sandwiches) of respondents claimed that if they had been given a fact that McDonalds uses 100% beef and chicken. proteins. sugar. What are the risks and returns? That is the question of acceptability. Such booklets/fliers would also be distributed in front of each McDonalds restaurants. this booklet would contain the story of the McDonalds brand in a ‘warm and engaging way’ and therefore try to create and increase the consumers’ emotions with McDonalds brand. calories etc. their meal consists of. questions 9 and 15) If McDonalds manages to inform these people about the leanness of its meat and the truth behind its apple pies and chicken McNuggets. That would be a good start of building trust with their customers. etc.that might reduce consumers risk perception. In case of failure. This option is suitable since it fits perfectly in the environment. they would eat there more often. In 55 . They could increase consumer’s knowledge regarding its product by giving away (after the purchase with a receipt) each customer a special voucher booklet. This option is considered as not particularly risky. Besides that they could attract more people to visit their website and spend more time there by introducing various games and healthy quizzes that could be launched form their website. Referring to findings. Regarding possible returns associated with that option are incomparable with the risk of that option. In addition. By providing all these information regarding nutrition quality. give the chance to their customers to see how much fat. and where did that meat come from. People are concerned with what goes into their bodies. (Appendix C. animal welfare. in which the information of the ingredients they use how they treat the animals and what parts of animals goes into their burgers would be described. McDonalds would increase sales as well as increase and improve their brand value. People want to know what they are eating. this would not be disastrous for McDonalds (apart from for money invested in that promotional campaign).nutritional content of the food. They would also put their nutritional facts list on every back of the tray paper. since they would feel more confident of what they are eating. super size me documentary.

Improving their website. providing voucher booklets and other point of purchase promotionalinformational material to increase their awareness is relatively inexpensive for a giant like McDonalds. Moreover they could start introducing computers equipped with Internet in some of their restaurants as well as newspapers.1. For French fries. it fits completely with trends in domestic environment and current health concerns. The interior design of their typical restaurant would change from combination of red-yellow colour. apple pies and other fried food. Thus. Moreover author believes that McDonalds possesses all resources and competences in order to make this option work in practise. purchasing of prizes. salads. 5. which would be a lot healthier and it would eliminate the trans fat it uses in cooking fried food. for instance.they could broaden its customer base. From suitability perspective. there is a risk that this option would not work because people simply would not go there to eat “healthy”. will it work in practise? This option should work in practise.2 Option 2: Introduction of new healthier menus along with refurbishment of restaurants Nowadays customers demand quality and healthy food. Is it acceptable? From stakeholder’s prospective it is likely to be acceptable. as it was always known as the ‘lower 56 . Instead of white bread they could use wholemeal bread. instead of frying it.addition. However. to softer brownsemphasizing the nature. Is it feasible. They would start position themselves as healthier food chain. This could attract new customers going to their restaurants. They would be promoting healthy living by new advertising campaigns in which advertising message would be designed in such way to show explicitly how more nutritious and healthier their food is. since author presume that McDonalds is capable of such marketing investment. since it is in line with current healthy trend. there is no critical issue attached to that option that would not be accepted or approved by McDonalds stakeholders. which is anything else than healthy. they could. McDonalds should consider introducing new range of healthier sandwiches. prepare it in oven. That option might result in changing peoples’ perception they presently possesses with McDonalds brand. fruit salads and other more nutritious food.

Furthermore not all McDonalds shareholders might agree with that option. Above all. which would suffer on expense of new healthier menus. Furthermore there could be a risk of cannibalisation effect on traditional burgers. the author created a Gantt chart. The main objectives for increasing awareness of the quality of McDonalds products are: 57 . Both presented options are attractive for McDonalds and furthermore both fit in the environment. In the following Gantt chart. author presume that the implementation could approximately take 3 months for the design and creation of promotional material and another 6 months to distribute the material. Money required for financing refurbishment of all restaurants and offering healthier. which would most probably mean no dividends for them in the short-medium term. the author listed all the different tasks assigned and the timeframe allocated to achieve each of them. The timescale to implement proposed tasks can vary. it does not shy away from McDonalds core (traditional) business. he believes that option 1 is more appropriate than the second one. would definitely be a difficult task. even for a giant like McDonalds. since it would require significant investments.2 Implementation plan Following implementation plan will set out stages McDonalds will need to go through to turn proposed option into reality. In order for McDonalds to successfully implement this new strategy. better quality products (which are obviously more expensive than products they offers now). It is very straightforward. which is making burgers and French fires. acceptability. Moreover first option meets criteria (suitability. on the top of new advertising campaigns. according to authors’ findings. 5. However. nevertheless. it can be employed immediately and it does not require heavy investments. Is this feasible? From financial perspective it would be probably one of the most expensive investments in the history of the company.quality fast food chain’. feasibility) better than the second option.

designing list of nutritional facts (which goes on the top of the tray). 58 .2: Gantt chart for 2007 TASKS Set promotional campaign objectives Preliminary budget Redesigning website Contact Apple and Sony dealers for prizes Designing voucher booklet Designing other promotional material Press release Finalize budget Distribution of promotional material Launch of new website* Evaluation of the project Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct RESPONSABILITIES MGT/MKTG director MGT/MKTG director MKTG dep. and other point of purchase promotional material Table 5. Redesigning the website (in order to make people read about the facts of their products and spend more time in their website)  Promote their website (coupon with a number that has to be entered on their website in order to win prizes)  Designing special voucher booklet.(design team) MKTG dep. MARKETING department IT department MGT/MKTG director *Once the new website is launched. (PR) MKTG dep/FINANCE dep. it will be available in the future as well and not just in the first 6 months as it is illustrated on the chart.(design team) MKTG dep.(design team) MARKETING department MKTG dep.

Attitudes that consumers have with McDonalds are predominantly associated with their knowledge regarding fast food.CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION In this chapter author will conclude his research with how the research question has been solved. People do not spend significant time thinking on whether they will go eat in McDonalds or not. As a result their attitudes are also negative. Their knowledge/information they have acquired regarding fast food is primarily negative. which negatively impact on their decision-making process of eating in such restaurants. They also strive to gain consumers trust. As PEST analysis has shown that one of the key drivers of 59 . My research question: What factors are currently influencing the consumer decision-making process in the fast food restaurant industry in the UK. The reason for eating in their restaurants was described as the ‘last resort’. Research revealed that majority of people link McDonalds food with adjectives unhealthy. which according to research have negative impact on consumers purchasing behaviour. and how is McDonalds responding to changing environment and consumer behaviour? The need for fast food comes impulsively. Furthermore people ranked McDonalds food as of worst quality. resulting in changing their attitudes and perceptions they currently possess. They try to reduce the perceived risk by providing consumers with information regarding their food. McDonalds does everything to be as ready as possible for the threats arising from external environment. These have direct impact on consumer’s psychology. tasty and fatty. underpinning the fact that McDonalds is still (traditionally) perceived as typical junk food restaurant. How is McDonalds responding on above changes in environment and consumer behaviour? Marketers at McDonalds try to reduce the perceived risk that consumers have with their products. In addition a brief re-cap of the whole dissertation will be provided. change their attitudes and hence increase their sales. There are also external influences that have impact on consumer decision-making process. All factors above contribute towards risk perception that consumers have with McDonalds food. These external influences are current high public obesity debates in the UK. cheap. The research also revealed that consumers do not trust McDonalds.

change that might have an impact on the industry in the future is high. They will perceive it as something greasy. these had negative impacts on the company as people became aware of the consequences of fast food. criticized by celebrity chefs (Jamie Oliver) and they even made a documentary (Super size me) to reveal the truth behind the fast food.profile political and public debate on obesity and other health issues in the UK. As a response on that McDonalds introduced healthier menus. whether we will trust them or not. McDonalds has been battered by books (Fast Food Nation). What they can do. fatty and bad for their body. To conclude. Nonetheless. Consumers still (and probably will) have negative attitudes towards McDonalds. though. fortunately (for McDonalds) neither of them succeeded. thousands of dietary experts stressing dangerous facts about McDonalds food. is they can show people what their food is made of. Having said that. 60 . McDonalds sales are now increasing and as a consequence its shares price ended at highest point in past six years.it is then up to us consumers. cut the amount of trans fat it uses in cooking fried food and introduced the website that offers their side of the story as a response on the ‘Super size me’ documentary. Indeed. And it seems like its effort has paid off. McDonalds is used to that. McDonalds cannot change people’s perception over night. Perhaps in a ten years time they might be famous for their salads and organic food as they are now for their burgers and fries. Perhaps McDonalds became immune on all those who want to harm its reputation and it even got stronger with all these many years of accusations. And that is what will make us go and eat their burgers. author has not found anything particularly new regarding consumer attitudes towards such food. On top of that it had gone through several lawsuits (in the US).

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A. & KANUK. (2206) Consumer behaviour. SHIFFMAN..com/companies/company/?pid=067DBDCCE9DC-4CAC-80AD-164A6748F392 Viewed 25/10/06 Books: AJZEN.. L.) SOLOMON. L. (1997) ‘The impact of social values on food related attitudes’ Vol. LEWIS. (2006). H. (1998) Attitudes. (2005) Consumer Behaviour. S. no. 99/9 pp. HENDERSON. SAUNDERS. (1995) Principles and practise of Marketing. AND THORNHILL. (1st Ed. AND WHITTINGTON.McDonalds Corporation. MarketLine Database. personality and behaviour. R. K. FREIDEN. Harlow: Pearson Education limited (4th ed. McGraw-Hill International UK. BAMOSSY. K. (2003) Key management models..) JOBBERS. ASKEGAARD. Steven et al... Principles of marketing.. M. M. (2005). (2000) et al. (2005).. HOGG. Exploring corporate strategy. D. ‘Nutritional awareness and food preferences of young consumers’ Vol. Person Education Limited (4th Ed. Person Education Limited (3rd Ed. (2005) ‘Consumer profiles of apparel product involvement and values’ 63 .).) TEN HAVE. Illinois.).5. M.. pp. K.European perspective.) JOHNSON. SCHOLES. The Dorsey press BRASSINGTON. S. R. 6.8-23 BROWN.230-235 GOLDSMITH.. P. I.. PETTITT.. Harlow: Person Education limited (7th ed. Chicago. ‘A healthy future for Europe’s food and drink sector?’ Vol. pp... C. Pearson Education Limited Academic Journals: BLACKMAN. J.datamonitor. G. 30.. Harlow. (2007) Research for business students. 2006 Available URL: http://dbic.. G. F...352-357 KIM.7 no. Person Education limited (8th Ed.

‘Influences on the consumer decision-making process towards fresh meat’ Vol... 102 No. 4 pp.95-110 Newspaper articles: WIGGINS. pp. 522-538 VIGNALI. vol. (2001) ‘McDonald’s: think global. Financial Times. M. W. 39 no. (2005) ‘Fast Foods and ethical consumer value: a focus on McDonald’s and KFC’ Vol. pp.107 No. Wednesday November 15 2006 APPENDIX A 64 . pp. ‘Decision waves: consumer decisions in today’s complex world’ Vol.207-220 LYE et al. VIAENE..216-330 SCHROEDER.212-224 VERBEKE. 2. A. number 2. 97-111 VERDURME. 7. C. (2006) Fast food chains curb targeting of children. 1/2 pp. J.Vol.the marketing mix’ British Food Journal. J. Volume 103 Number 2 2001 pp. M.6. act local.9 No. (2003) ‘Exploring consumers attitudes towards genetically modified food’. (2005). McEACHERN..

etc. and is it affecting you in any way whatsoever? 5) Should the government bring in laws to stop companies promoting and producing unhealthy food or let the industry self-regulate and allow customers make their own choices? 6) Should fast food restaurants (McDonalds) be held responsible/be blamed for rising obesity rates in the UK? APPENDIX B 65 . etc. All participants were EBS students. Before the actual session. The discussion was recorded with an audiovideo recorder. It consisted of seven students. four men and three women (the initial plan was to interview nine people but two female students cancelled one hour before the session).quality of ingredients of fast food products) b) Ethical aspects (animal welfare.FOCUS GROUP Focus group took place at Regents College campus (room 106) on the 16th of November 2006. Furthermore the PowerPoint slides with one question on a slide were showing throughout the whole focus group in order to imply the participants to stay focus on the question discussing at that time. QUESTIONS ASKED DURING FOCUS GROUP 1) What do you know in general about the fast food restaurants (McDonalds) and typical products they offer? a) Food quality (nutritional value. The moderator (author of the dissertation) was not trained for doing such research. The content of which is available on DVD. Jamie Oliver campaign. the invitation with a proposed agenda. environmental issues.). was sent to all participants via email. Before the session began the ground rules were also explained. session time and list of questions the group will discuss. the government antiobesity policy.) 2) What do you feel about the fast food restaurants and fast food products in general? 3) What makes you go (if you go) in the fast food restaurant? 4) Are you familiar with the current obesity issue in the UK (e.g.

1. that it has (if it has) on your behaviour.e. How often do you eat fast food (i. Please choose your age bracket: o Under 15 o 16-25 o 26-35 o 36-45 o over 46 3. McDonalds)? o Every day o 3 times a week o Once a week o 3 times a month o Once every month o I don’t eat fast food 66 . Please choose your sex o Male o Female 2. The topic is FAST FOOD & MCDONALDS.QUESTIONNAIRE Hi! I’m doing this for my dissertation and I would really appreciate if you could answer following questions. Moreover I’m trying to find out the impact of current high pubic anti-obesity debate in the UK. I’m looking for your attitudes and perceptions regarding fast food products and restaurants. particularly McDonalds.

If you were given the fact that McDonalds uses 100% lean beef along with fresh vegetables. Have you ever seen a list of nutrition facts at the McDonalds restaurants? o Yes o No 6. would that make you go eat there more often? o Yes 67 .4. do you trust it? o Yes o No 7. If you have seen it. McDonalds claims on their website that they use “the best raw ingredients in their highly quality food”! Do you believe that? Please mark on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 as least believable)! 1 2 3 4 5 9. apples in their apples pies. Do you believe McDonalds put chemicals in their food? (to improve the taste and/or improve the texture of vegetables) o Yes o No 8. On a scale from 1 to 7 (1 being the worst quality and 7 as the best quality) how nutritious are McDonalds’ products? o Beef Burgers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 o Vegetables in burgers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 o Salads 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 o Fruit 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 o Apple pies 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 o Chicken sandwiches 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 o McDonalds McNuggets 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 o French fries 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5. etc.

etc. does the ethical issue regarding chicken bothers you? o Yes it bothers me.) regarding McDonalds chicken farming? o Very familiar o Quite familiar o Don’t know what that is 15.o No 10. do you intend to visit their website in the future? o Yes o No 13. Have you ever checked McDonalds Web page? o Yes o No 11. etc. How well are you aware of the ethical issues (animal welfare. and that’s the reason I don’t eat chicken in McDonalds 68 . If yes.) o Because it offers great value for money (good food for good price) o Because I love the taste of it o I never go to McDonalds because it’s not healthy to eat such food 14. What makes you go to McDonalds? o Dying of hunger and nothing else is available o It’s the most convenient option (as you are either in a hurry and you want something quick or you often pass it by as you feel hungry.for example feeding chicken with steroids. When you eat chicken sandwich at McDonalds. do you find it appealing and/or useful? o Yes o No 12. If you haven’t visit it yet.

etc. Do these high public obesity debates from the government and media have any impact on you (in terms of what makes you change your attitudes towards fast food products)? o Yes. Are you familiar with the current obesity issues (the government anti-obesity policies. but I still go and it in fast food restaurants. but I eat it anyways o It doesn’t bother me at all o I don’t eat chicken 16. it didn’t affect me in any way and I still eat in fast food restaurants o I never eat in such restaurants 20. I now have different perception of fast food and I don’t eat it any more o Yes. Did that make you go less in McDonalds? 69 . would that make you go eat there more often? o Yes o No 17. Jamie Oliver campaigns.o Yes it bothers me. If you were given the fact that McDonalds uses 100% naturally raised chicken meat in their sandwiches. Are you familiar of the documentary about McDonalds “Super Size Me”? o Yes o No 21. Please write 3 adjectives you would link them to McDonalds products they offer! ________________________________________________________ 18.) in the UK? o Yes o No 19. just not as often as I used to o No.

but now I go as often as I used to o No. What do you think is the reason for that? Please apply everything that you consider as a reason! o Busier lifestyle o Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise) o Lack of education o Eating too much “junk food” T H A N K YO U F O R YOU R PARTI C I PATI O N ! ! ! 70 . at the beginning.o Yes. UK has been recently chosen as the fattest country in Europe. I still eat there 22. I don’t eat there anymore o Yes.

APPENDIX C On a scale from 1 to 7 (1 being the worst quality and 7 as the best quality) how nutritious are McDonalds’ products? 71 .

72 .

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