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What factors are currently influencing the consumer decisionmaking process in the fast food restaurant industry in the UK, and how is McDonalds responding to changing environment and consumer behaviour?
Tutor: Richard Mannix
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
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 Consumer behaviour 1.2. Fast food VS Junk Food 1.3 Obesity in the UK 1.4 Fast food industry in the UK 1.5 McDonald's Corporation background 1.6 Research question 1.7. Plan of the dissertation CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Consumer decision-making process 2.2 Consumer attitude formation and change 2.3 The marketing mix CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1 Research philosophy 3.2 Research approach 3.3 The purpose of the research 3.4 The research strategy 3.5 Data collection techniques and analysis procedures 3.6 Sample selection 3.7 Data collection 3.7.1 Group interviews- focus groups 3.7.2 Questionnaire 3.8 Models employed in dissertation 3.8.1 Consumer decision-making process 3.8.2 Tri-component Attitude Model 3.8.3 Hierarchy of Effects Concept 3.8.4 PEST Framework
1 1 1 2 2 3 4 5 6 6 8 9 12 12 12 12 13 13 14 15 15 16 17 17 18 19 20
188.8.131.52.2 Option 2: Introduction of new healthier menus along with refurbishment of restaurants 5.2 Key factors influencing the consumer decision-making process 5.2.2 Socio-cultural conditions 5.5 Ansoff’s product/market matrix CHAPTER 5: FINDINGS 5.2 PEST Framework 5.1.1 Option description and evaluation 5.1 Fast food industry in the UK.2.2 Implementation plan CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDIX A APPENDIX B APPENDIX C 21 22 22 24 24 26 27 29 29 29 44 45 45 47 48 50 52 56 57 62 4 .184.108.40.206 External analysis 5.1 Focus group (analysis of key points) 5.1 Option 1: Increase awareness of the quality of McDonalds’ products 5.2.overview 5.2 Questionnaire (analysis of findings) CHAPTER 5: RECOMMENDATIONS 5.8.1 Political / Legal conditions 220.127.116.11 Key drivers of change: 5.
4: Market share in UK (2004) Figure 5.3: The low-involvement hierarchy Figure 3.1: Consumer-decision making process Figure 3.1: Market share in UK (2004) Figure 3.2: Gantt chart for 2007 49 3 17 18 19 21 21 22 23 23 24 36 37 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 5 .10 question 14 Figure 5.4: PEST Framework Figure 3.8 question 11 Figure 5.1: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value Figure 5.9: question 12 Figure 5.2: Tricomponent Attitude model Figure 3.LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.13: question 22 Figure 5.7: question 8 Figure 5.5: Ansoff’s product/market matrix Figure 5.3: Expenditure on eating out by sector Figure 5.11 question 18 Figure 5.2: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value Figure 5.6: question 7 Figure 5.5: question 3 Figure 5.12 question 20 Figure 5.1 Options for McDonalds illustrated in Ansoff’s matrix Table 5.
whether we will go and eat burgers or not. That was my primary motivation. there is virtually no week that passes by without hearing any news regarding obesity. 6 . that pushed me towards understanding the process which impacts on us consumers. health concerns and dietary issues. along with studying in the US. I have gained 7 kilograms.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. 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. In those four months of studying in San Francisco. be it in newspapers or on TV news.
ethical aspects (animal welfare). Changing consumer lifestyle and Government interference were highlighted as two potential drivers of change. These themes were then tested to a larger group using questionnaires. It further aims to examine how is McDonalds responding to changing environment and consumer behaviour.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. This is important and at the same time interesting to observe such topic. Afterwards the qualitative focus group was conducted with an aim to explore and gauge consumer attitudes towards fast food and McDonalds. In order to examine the context in which McDonalds is evolving. with addition to identify the key drivers of change that might influence fast food industry in the future. Respondents associated McDonalds and its products with adjectives such as unhealthy. where various academic journals were examined. 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. They ‘ranked’ their food (with exception of salads and fruit) as of the worst quality. cheap. because of the highprofile political and public debate on obesity and other health issues that is UK currently facing. This quantitative survey was then used to gauge whether the views of the respondents from focus group were representative of a larger group. PEST framework was applied. Moreover 28% of those who were familiar with current high public obesity debates in the UK issue it affected them in such way that they now eat less 7 . Key themes from focus group formed questions for the questionnaire. tasty and fatty. Key themes from focus group were quality of fast food. 25% of respondents claimed that ethical issue regarding chicken bothers them and that is the reason they don’t eat chicken in McDonalds. trust towards McDonalds and impact of media and Government on consumer behaviour.
current high public obesity debates in the UK. Consumers do not trust McDonalds. CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION 8 . as a result their attitudes are also negative. Marketers at McDonalds try to reduce perceived risk by providing consumers with information regarding their food. Since consumer’s knowledge/information acquired regarding fast food are mostly negative. which also negatively impact on their decision-making process.to increase awareness of the quality of McDonalds’ products and hence reduce consumers perceived risk and increase their trust with McDonalds brand. There are also external influences that have negative impact on consumer decision-making process i. McDonalds is responding on changes in environment and consumer behaviour by introducing healthier menus.fast food as they used to.e. That is also author’s proposed recommendation. All factors above contribute towards risk perception that consumers have with McDonalds food. Most purchases of fast food occurred as a result of impulse decision-making. 35% of respondents claimed that ever since they saw the documentary “Super Size Me” they don’t eat in McDonalds anymore.
Author of article 9 . 2006) Often the term junk food is used to describe fast food. purchase. word-of-mouth information acquired from others. Fast food VS Junk Food Fast food is regarded as “food. In consumer behaviour context attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect of a given object. Finally. This means that attitudes relevant to purchase behaviour are formed as a result of direct experience with the product. where they buy it. or exposure to mass media advertising.8) 1. (dictionary. pizza. attitudes may propel consumer towards particular behaviour or repel the consumer away from particular behaviour. Internet etc. p.2.1. 2004. That includes what they buy.253) 1. (Schiffman and Kanuk. p. 2004. which is massproduced and is of low nutritional value”. Moreover. and how they dispose it.27) consumer behaviour is the study of the processes involved when individuals or groups select.1 Consumer behaviour Referring to Solomon (2006. . There is a general agreement that attitudes are learned. sweets and doughnuts. why they buy. as hamburgers. services. p. or fried chicken. how they evaluate it after they purchase and the impact of such evaluations on future purchases.2 Consumer attitudes According to Ajzen (1998) the attitudes are the first determinant of behaviour intention. the debate has been going on whether the term junk food (to describe fast food) is in fact justified. 1. Consumer behaviour focuses on how individuals make decisions to spend their available resources on consumption related items. p.com. (dictionary. 2006) Junk food is regarded as “food such as potato chips.253) As learned predispositions. use or dispose of products. Just recently. the ‘route map’ will be illustrated in order to guide the reader to the rest of the report. (Schiffman and Kanuk. the background information on definitions of key terms and the chosen organisation will be presented.This chapter will give the reader a clear statement of the research question and the problem statement that will be addressed in this research. when they buy. idea or experiences. Schiffman and Kanuk (2004. how often they buy it how often they use it. that is prepared in quantity by a standardized method and can be dispensed quickly at inexpensive restaurants for eating there or elsewhere”.com.
2006) 1. 2006b) 1. In terms of per capita expenditure. food poisoning and scares and unethical advertising. and often to food outlets in urban and suburban areas but not to those in leafier parts.argues that the "junk food" tag seem to be applied selectively. 2006b) Figure 1. fish and pizza. between 2000 and 2005. (Euromonitor. 2006) Furthermore UK has the highest level of obesity in Europe. So will 1million children. he points out that the term "junk" has become a way of disapproving of certain foods. heart conditions. the findings for ‘Forecasting obesity in 2010’ were grotesque. a third of all adults in UK (13 million people) will be obese. bakery products. 2006) In spite of consumer concerns of fast food being linked with problems such as obesity. (Datamonitor.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. chicken. the UK fast food industry has enjoyed remarkable growth in recent years. Within four years. 2006) According to a report issued by the Department of Health. with figures released by the government showing that two. (Datamonitor.thirds of men and almost 60% of women are unhealthily heavy. (Boseley.3% value share and a clear lead over its nearest rivals KFC (owned by Yum Brands) and Burger King. (Marrin. or for consumption elsewhere. Fast food outlets are specialised in burgers.3 Obesity in the UK The most recent research has shown that being overweight or obese is now the norm in the UK.1: Market share in UK (2004) 10 . it predicts. diabetes. 2006) 1. (Euromonitor. ice cream. the fast food outlets have been growing at the fastest pace within the consumer food service sector. (O’Neill. with an 18.5 McDonald's Corporation background McDonald's Corporation was the leading fast food outlet in the UK in 2004. Hence.
000 fast food restaurants in over 120 countries.316 restaurants throughout the UK. 2006b Market share (%) 18. (Euromonitor . (Clark. It is headquartered in Oak Brook.000 people all over the world.4 1. as it was serving mainly greasy food and therefore fuelling obesity epidemic.2 0.6 Research question What factors are currently influencing the consumer decision-making process in the fast food restaurant industry in the UK. However. British restaurants were singled out among the biggest improvers in performance. 2006) McDonalds currently operates in more than 1. 2006) The company operates primarily in the US and the UK. Its profits grew by 55% in 2004. The company has over 31. 2006) 1. 2006b) In 2003 the company was loosing money for the fist time in its five-decade history. sending its shares soaring to a six year high.3 8. (MarketLine. Illinois and employs 447.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. Moreover the company was loosing important consumers trust due to release of the documentary ‘Super size me’ and critical book ‘Fast food nation’.8 McDonald's is a pioneer in the fast food industry and today world leader in the sector. (Datamonitor. McDonalds introduced healthier menus and just recently (October 13th 2006) it has announced that its sales had rocketed.4 8.3 1. and how is McDonalds responding to changing environment and consumer behaviour? 11 .
The research question can be further divided into three sub sections in order to clarify the objectives of the research. as external factors that have impact on consumers’ decisions will be investigated. 12 . A. C. 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. B. 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. 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. In addition the socio-cultural environment.focusing specifically on consumers’ attitudes towards fast food and McDonalds. in particular the psychological field.
Firstly. RECOMMENDATIONS In this chapter a set of proposed recommendations as well as supporting analysis of the options for McDonalds will be depicted. FINDINGS This chapter will provide a reader with detailed presentation of facts and data obtained using tools described in research methodology. compares and contrasts views and theories of other writers in relation to the research topic. CONCLUSION In this chapter author will conclude his research with how the research question has been solved. in order to provide a reader with the context in which McDonalds is evolving.7. including description of resources required will be illustrated. it provides the reader with a clear description of models and concept used for the analysis. leaving out discussion for the final chapter. Moreover. the ‘route map’ will be illustrated in order to guide the reader to the rest of the report. the key factors influencing the consumer decision-making process will be analysed/explored. author decided to brake down this chapter into to parts. 13 . And secondly. In addition. In addition the implementation plan to support the key recommendation.1. the external analysis will be applied. Finally. In order to communicate findings clearly. 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. In addition a brief re-cap of the whole dissertation will be provided. METHODOLOGY In this chapter the research design and the research methodology employed to answer the research question will be explained and justified. the background information on definitions of key terms and the chosen organisation will be presented. 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. It also provides the stepping-stone towards the methodology chapter of the dissertation. Therefore it identifies. analyses.
581) Verbeke (2005) recognizes that at any point in time throughout the decision-making process. (Schiffman and Kanuk. which might be useful applied to the research question in this dissertation. p. Other articles examine more generally models of consumer attitude formation. The author has found a variety of academic articles. analyses. observes the marketing issues. and effective. which influence the consumer decision-making process. particularly the marketing communication strategy within the marketing mix. It also provides the stepping-stone towards the methodology chapter of the dissertation. some of which focus on food industry and public trust in food safety. or whether was poorly planned and missed the mark. Hence marketers are particularly interested in such process. 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. insightful. Therefore it identifies. The following literature review will critically analyse the theories associated with the research topic. Firstly. hence it highlights the factors. compares and contrasts views and theories of other writers in relation to the research topic.1 Consumer decision-making process The consumer decision to purchase or not to purchase the product is crucial for marketers. predominantly the consumer attitudes. the second part of the review. While the first section focuses on the aspects of consumer behaviour. Based on earliest 14 . it looks at the issues of consumer behaviour.CHAPTER 2: 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. 2004. 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. as already outlined in the introduction section of dissertation. It can signify whether the marketing strategy has been wise. judgements and choices are affected by a variety of stimuli from environment as well as by internal process and characteristics form the consumers themselves.
Nevertheless. in their study of consumer decision models. authors propose that purchases of fast food are mostly impulsive. They also put forward that education plays important role regarding healthy eating. school and social environments. McIlveen and Struggnel (2000) examined the nutritional awareness and food preferences among young consumers. 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. on the socio-cultural part of the consumer decision-making process. (2005). Brown. “We have limited understanding of the decision process and the models are inadequate at predicting decision outcomes”. Lye et al. advocate that the complexity of consumer decisions is increasing. 1990. Hence the current models. cited by Verbeke.2 Consumer attitude formation and change 15 . more current research examines consumer involvement under working assumptions that different types of product involvement trigger different behaviour. 2005) proposed a classification with three types of influencing factors: environmental factors. who were analysing the impact of McDonald’s and KFC’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) on consumers purchasing behaviour. 2. the decision-making process model will provide the author and the reader with general overview and understanding of factors influencing on consumers purchasing behaviour. person-related factors and properties of the food. Author will attempt to identify and focus. along with the attitudes. Steenkamp. hence suggesting relatively low-involvement in each case. cited by Verbeke.e. as it appears that this is the most recent issue due to health concerns in the UK.presented models of consumer behaviour towards food (Pilgrim. They suggest that young consumer decisions regarding food preferences are influenced by nutritional awareness knowledge. In the research conducted by Schroeder and McEachern (2005). 2005) and on a review of factors affecting food acceptance and behaviour (Shepherd. This knowledge is acquired within the home. 1997. Referring to Kim (2005) who was investigating how product involvement and values interact with consumers. 1957. they argue. impact of communication and information from mass media (bad publicity of fast food). are out of date and insufficient in providing the desired outcome. i.
Baltas (2001. (2001. This will be explained in more details in the next chaptermethodology.140) For Verbeke (2005).145) Referring to Schiffman and Kanuk (2004 p. In consumer behaviour context attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect of a given object. who examined the influences on consumer decision-making process towards fresh meat.. All above links well to attitudes that consumers will have with fast food products and companies. Jongen and Meulenberg (1998. 2006. where the attitude object is fast food. the influence 16 . plus taking into account that fast food is considered to be low involvement product. cited by Schroeder and McEachern 2005) acknowledge that the nature of fast food production and processing is becoming more important to consumer. (Solomon et al.256). Behaviour (intention to do something with regard to an attitude object) and Cognition (believes a consumer has with an attitude object). 2006 p. Furthermore Harper and Makatouni (2002. the formation of consumer attitudes is strongly influenced by personal experience. depending on particular hierarchy of effects in operation. p. the low involvement hierarchy of effects would occur. 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. Similarly Mohr et al. organoleptic and sensory properties of the food. In our instance. issues relating to food safety and human health have gained considerable attention and importance.For Nielsen. As mentioned on previous page. cited by Schroeder and McEachern 2005) note that ethical production in terms of animal and human welfare and environmental protection are of greatest importance. Additionally Verbeke (2005) recognizes that along with increasing importance of quality. choice of marketing and communication strategy and maintenance of competitive advantage. knowledge and perceptions (cognitive component) of an attitude that consumer has with an attitude object plays important/initial role by the attitude itself. Attitude can form in several different ways. (Solomon et al. the hierarchy of effects indicates the different mental stages that consumer must go through when making buying decision and responding to marketing or non-commercial messages. Most researchers agree that attitudes consist of three components: Affect (consumers’ emotions and feelings about the attitude object).. 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. According to Ajzen (1998) the attitudes are the first determinant of behaviour intention.
2001. 2006 p. Yet again author will attempt to link the current health concerns/obesity issues to above factors that have direct impact on attitudes formation.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. (Grunet. Verdume and Viaene (2003) investigated consumers’ beliefs. cited by Goldsmith. However. cited by Verdume and Viaene. direct marketing and mass media. the influence of family and friends. (Brassington. Price and Promotion) was later formulated by McCarthy in 1975. If not costumers will turn away to its competitors. Goldsmith.30) Vignali (2001) acknowledges that for many years 4Ps have been used as the principal foundation on which a marketing plan is based. theorists have identified additional variables. The idea of 4Ps (Product. 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. that influence negatively on consumer’s purchase intention. values might in part represent some of the fundamental motives that drive and direct the consumer behaviour. which influence both consumer attitudes and behaviour. Besides the values. as eating fatty food may be risky of suffering obese related diseases. but may also be relevant to less involving product fields such as food. Attitudes towards GM food are determined by perception of risk and benefits. When perceived risk is high. Freiden and Henderson (1997) suggest that the influence of values may not be limited just to high.involvement areas. Freiden and Henderson (1997) who investigated the impact of social values on food related attitudes. That might be linked to fast food as well. with particular attention being paid to services marketing in recent years. direct marketing and mass media. Author will try to connect the current health concerns/obesity issues to above factors that have direct impact on attitudes formation. 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. 2. Reflecting desired end states or ways of living.256) acknowledge that formation of consumer attitudes is strongly influenced by personal experience. 2003). recognize that marketers. Furthermore Homer and Kahle 1988. which 17 .of family and friends. the importance of risk perception needs to be explained. Finally. The marketing mix creates an offering for the customer. attitudes and purchase intentions with regards to genetically modified food. Place. Schiffman and Kanuk (2004 p.
Fifield and Gilligan (1996. sales promotion. 5. Physical – cleanliness. ambience of the service. determinants. (2006) suggests that this might be involvement paradox. levels. the promotional mix is a direct way in which an organization attempts to communicate with various target audiences. Having said that author will focus therefore primarily on advertising and promotion of the promotional mix. Vignali (2001) applied 7Ps analysing the marketing mix of McDonald’s in the following way: 1. Promotion – advertising. automation. quality. hence they are considered to be low involvement products. the emphasis will be on product. People – quantity. 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. 4. training. packages. jingles) that must be devised to sell it. It consists of five main elements: Advertising Public relations Sales promotion Direct marketing Personal selling (Brassington. physical and people. 7. McDonald’s might want to employ advertising and sales promotions. cited by Vignali 2001) recognized the following variables as an integral part of the marketing mix. Process – blueprinting. promotion. in order to attempt to change consumer attitudes. quality.process.630) As mentioned earlier fast food products are purchased mainly impulsively. 3. number of outlets. 2006 p. promotion and physical as this links logically with the research question/objectives. public relations. If we look further into the promotion part of the marketing mix.g. quantity. In this dissertation. Taking above statements into account. Place – location. the less important is the product to consumers.could be added to the 4Ps. Price – strategy. control procedures. 6. Product – features. however. 18 . 2. decor. the author will not focus on all 7Ps. Solomon et al. the more important are many of the marketing stimuli (e.
Furthermore it interpretivism seeks to explain why human beings react and behave in the way they do. to ask questions and to assess phenomena in new light. (2007. p.. 3.. p.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.133) exploratory study is a valuable means of finding out what is happening. to seek new insights.1 Research philosophy Referring to Saunders et al. 3. 2007. as it advocates that is necessary for the researcher to understand the differences between humans in our roles as social actors. it is important to understand the research philosophy one adopts..2 Research approach In this dissertation author will start with collecting the data first and then the theory will be developed. p. p.106) in order to underpin the research strategy and the methods as part of that chosen strategy.118) 3. (Saunders et al. (Saunders et al. based on results of the data analysis. 19 . rather than being able to explain what is happening.118) These are the reasons why this research will be undertaken inductively and not deductively. Moreover the research will be particularly concerned with the context in which such events were taking place. This emphasizes the difference between conducting the research among people rather than objects.. (2007.. (2007. it provides the reader with a clear description of models and concept used for the analysis. Author is predominantly interesting in understanding why something is happening. Saunders et al. 2007. Deductive approach is used for scientific researches and it involves the development of a theory that is subject to a rigorous test. The emphasis by explanatory study is on studying a situation or a problem in order to explain the relationships between variables.3 The purpose of the research According to Saunders et al. The role ‘social actors’ plays significant role here. p.106) Author believes that interpretivism is more appropriate that positivism philosophy as consumer behaviour differs form country to country. Within research philosophy author chose interpretivism. In addition.
Qualitative results are sometimes speculative and usually not generalisable to the larger population. Baker and Goodyear (1998. p. Taking above facts into consideration author decided. to carry out the qualitative focus group. however. 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. 2007. On account of these factors the chosen strategy will be the case study. (Saunders 2007.139) 3. The case study has also considerable ability to generate answer to question “why”. firstly. 3. Another advantage of using such approach is that it enables triangulation to take place. cited by Verdurme and Viaene 2003) Author therefore intends to conduct a qualitative survey to attempt to gauge whether the views of the respondents in the focus group were representative of a larger population.In the first part of this dissertation.147) justifies the adoption of a mixed-method to achieve an in-depth insight in consumer behaviour.5 Data collection techniques and analysis procedures To achieve the research aims.147) Saunders (2007 p. which appears to be appropriate for the research question (Saunders et al.. p. For instance focus groups may be a valuable way of triangulating data collected by other means such as questioners.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. 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. 20 . Moreover it is of author interest to gain a rich understanding of the context of the research and the process being enacted. The purpose of the second part of dissertation. a mixed-methods data collection technique was adopted where both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques and analysis procedures are used. 2000. Nancarrow et al.. and secondly use its outcome to formulate questions for the questionnaire. is to elucidate McDonalds potential responses on changing environment and consumer behaviour. 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.
both primary and secondary data sources were used. The questionnaires were sent then to people around the UK. thus resulting in less “extraneous variation”. 3. For this reason non-probability sampling technique is more frequently used when adopting the case study strategy. 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. author decided to distribute questionnaires to students via email. (Saunders. though.207) suggests applying non-probability or judgemental sampling technique. Moreover such technique provide author with opportunity to select sample purposively. participants eat in such restaurants and are therefore appropriate for this study. 2005) support the use of students since they are more homogeneous as a group than non-students. a convenience sample of students is justified for this exploratory study. Three out of seven participants were British citizens. However.3. Author acquired approximately 140 British email addresses that he got from a person who lives in London. For that reason. As a key target market of the UK fast food sector is between 17-25 years. Since there is nearly impossible to distribute over 100 questionnaires physically in such a short time. Saunders (2007 p. not on statistical grounds. however. remaining four were international students. Nevertheless.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. cited by Schroeder and McEachern.235) The chosen sample for the focus group were undergraduate students form European Business School London in the UK. 2007 p. Firstly. they have been living in the UK for 3-4 years. author will still be able to generalize from such technique. the literature review was written based on secondary data collection.7 Data collection In this study. for a better understanding of the background and problems related to the context of the consumer decision-making. Kraus (1995. Then 21 .
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. cited by Saunders.2 Questionnaire 22 . 2006.7.wustl. For collecting primary data sources. 2007. and secondly identifying impacts from external environment which might influence the consumer decision-making process regarding fast food.focus groups This qualitative data collection technique was employed in order to get better understanding in consumer behaviour. Then their emotions and feelings towards fast food will be explored. author used firstly focus group and secondly questionnaire. p. McDonalds web site and other Internet sources. please refer to Appendix A.the primary data was gathered using qualitative focus group.wustl. When designing questions for focus group author focused primarily on two things. unattributed) With focus group individual group members’ interactions and responses are both encouraged and more closely controlled to maintain the focus.339) As explained earlier by the sample selection. (Kruger and Casey. library databases.1 Group interviews. (Saunders. Having said that knowledge and perception about fast food will be examined.340) Furthermore the aim is to crate conditions that promote both comfort and independence of thought. and what kind of experience and beliefs participants have with such restaurants and products. Secondary data sources used in this dissertation include books. or if interviewed as individuals. 2007. unattributed) For questions discussed during focus group and other detailed information. Additionally the possible impact of current anti-obesity campaigns and regulations on participant’s decision-making process will be examined. 2006. which were then quantitatively validated through questionnaires.7.edu. 3. (gwbweb. firstly on exploring consumers’ attitudes towards fast food.edu. in order to maximize discussion and self-disclosure. p. Participants in the focus group tend to express views that might not express in other settings. (gwbweb. 3. 2000. periodicals.
These provide a number of alternative answers from which respondent is instructed to choose.368) Moreover by designing questions.390) suggests use of covering email. self-administrative questionnaires (internet-mediated questionnaires). the tricomponent attitude model was incorporated. formed questions for questionnaire and were further examined and tested to larger group. The aim of my study was explained in the introduction part of questionnaire. (Shiffman and Kanuk. in order to ensure that all questions are clear. impact of media and government on consumer behaviour). p. Hence qualitative data obtained by focus group will inform the content of the questionnaire and will be tested to a larger group. (Saunders. trust towards McDonalds. According to Saunders (2007. please refer to appendix B.356) a questionnaire to discover consumers’ attitudes can be complemented by focus groups to explore and understand these attitudes. to gauge consumers’ attitudes toward fast food products. In order to ensure the high response rate. p. for instance question number 4. More specifically author selected special on-line surveys (www. Key themes from focus group (quality of fast food.386) encourages pilot test prior using the questionnaire to collect data. Saunders (2007.258) Answering categories given in the questionnaires were also based on the preliminary qualitative research.Since the participants in focus group were not randomly selected from the population. p. which explains the purpose of the study. Author decided to use questionnaires that are completed by respondents. Author sent questionnaire to few individuals before sending it to larger population. 23 . For more information regarding actual questionnaire that was sent to participant. ethical aspects.com) due to time restrictions and convenience reasons. i. The key issues/themes identified from focus group were used as a basis to construct closedend questions or forced-choice questions. More specifically author used mainly category.e. the author cannot freely generalize from the results.focus group. Saunders (2007 p. 2007 p. 2004. attached to actual questions. ranking and list type of closed questions.freeonlinesurveys.
1: Consumer-decision making process Source: Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) 24 . It ties together the psychological. social and cultural concept into easily understood framework. (Schiffman and Kanuk. p.19) In this simplified model (Figure 3.8 Models employed in dissertation 3.1 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. friends. 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.8. Later research discovered that consumers are just as likely to purchase impulsively and to be influenced not only by family.3. situation and emotion.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. Figure 3. 2004. and advertisers but also by mood.
which imply that these models are out of date and inadequate at predicting decision outcomes. Despite some critiques. perceptions and beliefs that are acquired by a combination of direct experience with an attitude object and related information from various sources.emotions and feelings that consumer have towards an attitude object Conative component. 3.2 Tri-component Attitude Model According to tri-component attitude model. Affective component.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.256) Figure 3.2: Tricomponent Attitude model Source: Schiffman and Kanuk (2004) 25 .knowledge.8. author decided to use it merely to clarify and illustrate rather complex process of the decision-making.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. attitudes consist of three major components: Cognitive component.
This model emphasizes the interrelationships between knowing, feeling and doing. The tri-component attitude model will assist author to structure questions for focus group and questionnaire, as it helps to explore and gauge consumers’ attitudes towards attitude objectfast food. When such model applied to the questions, the outcome might give author greater insight regarding knowledge and perceptions (about the fast food), emotions or feelings (toward the fast food) and finally likelihood or tendency (of certain behaviour). 3.8.3 Hierarchy of Effects Concept While all three components of an attitude are important, their relative importance will vary depending upon a consumer’s level of motivation with regard to the attitude object. Thus the concept of hierarchy of effects was developed in order to explain the relative impact of the three components. Attitude researchers traditionally assumed that attitudes were predetermined sequence, consisting first of the formation of beliefs (cognitions) regarding an attitude object, followed by an evaluation of that object (affect) and then some action (behaviour). However, depending in the consumer’s level of involvement and the circumstances, attitudes can result from other hierarchies of effects. (Solomon et al., 2006, p.159) Hence in our instance, where the attitude object is fast food, plus taking into account that fast food is considered to be low involvement product, the low involvement hierarchy of effects can be illustrated. (Figure 3.3) Figure 3.3: The low-involvement hierarchy
Source: Solomon et al. (2006)
In this sequence, the consumer does not initially have a strong preference for one brand over another, but instead acts on a basis of limited knowledge and then forms an evaluation only after the product has been purchased or used. Under these conditions consumers are influenced by principles of behavioural learning. (Solomon et al., 2006 p.142) Referring to that, author assumes that consumers of fast food products will form attitudes via the concept of low involvement hierarchy of effects. In turn, this concept will be taken into consideration later in the dissertation by the final recommendations, when suggesting McDonald’s communication strategy. 3.8.4 PEST Framework The external environment will be analysed with the PEST framework, which categorized environmental influences into four main types: political/legal, economic, socio-cultural and technological (Johnson et al, 2005, p.65). This framework will help to analyse the macro environmental influences that might affect the organization. In addition it will provide an overview of the environment in which McDonalds is evolving. The use of this framework is useful only when you apply the potential impact of factors, now and in future affecting the industry, rather than just a long list of influences itself. Having said that, we mean factors that have potential impact on customers and stakeholders. It is of vital importance that one identifies the key drivers of change, 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. Nevertheless, not all factors will have the potential impact, thus combined effect of some of the factors is likely to be the most important. (Johnson et al, 2005, p.65). Economic and technological factors appear not to have any significant impact on the fast food industry, and are hence irrelevant for such research. For that reason author decided to exclude them from the PEST Framework. It is important, however, to identify the political and sociocultural factors, as they appear to be of crucial importance by influencing the fast food industry in the future.
Figure 3.4: PEST Framework 27
3.8.5 Ansoff’s product/market matrix In order to generate options for McDonalds, the author will use the Ansoff’s product/market matrix, which is used for identifying directions for strategic development. (Ten Have et al., p. 9) Figure 3.5: Ansoff’s product/market matrix
Source: Johnson et al, 2005, p.341 28
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. 29 .
4 4.1 Fast food industry in the UK.CHAPTER 5: FINDINGS This chapter will provide a reader with detailed presentation of facts and data obtained using tools described in research methodology. equivalent to 59.7% of the market’s overall value.8 $ Billion 4. Firstly. And secondly. 5.4 2.7 2.1: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value: £ and $ billion. since the outcome of PEST analysis will provide author with sufficient information for further research. 5.0 3. 2001-2005 Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 £ Billion 2.8 5. 2006) Figure 5.1.1 External analysis In this section no other tools than PEST Framework will be applied. the external analysis will be applied.6 billion in 2005.6 4.6 2. leaving out discussion for the final chapter. in order to provide a reader with the context in which McDonalds is evolving.1 3.4 4. In order to communicate findings clearly. generating total revenues of £1.1 4.0 % Growth Source: Datamonitor. the key factors influencing the consumer decision-making process will be analysed/explored. Furthermore sales of fast food to quick service restaurants represented the markets most profitable segment. 2006 30 . author decided to brake down this chapter into to parts.8 billion in 2005.overview The UK fast food market generated total revenues of £2. (Datamonitor.5 4. Comparing to 2004 revenues has increased by 4%.5 2.
In terms of per capita expenditure.Figure 5.14 -4.2005 Cafés/bars Full-service restaurants Fast food 100% home delivery/take-away Self-service cafeterias Street stalls/kiosks TOTAL Source: Euromonitor.07 3. 2006 In spite of consumer concerns of fast food being linked with problems such as obesity.55 12.26 11.3: Expenditure on eating out by sector (growth): 2000. with an 18.65 40.4: Market share in UK (2004) 31 .33 2. diabetes.2: United Kingdom Fast Food Market Value: $ billion.3% value share and a clear lead over its nearest rivals KFC (owned by Yum Brands) and Burger King.11 McDonald's Corporation was the leading fast food outlet in the UK in 2004. 2006b) Figure 5.56 32.84 14. the fast food outlets have been growing at the fastest pace within the consumer food service sector.47 19.32 2000-2005 Real -3. (Euromonitor.63 6. 2006b) Figure 5. food poisoning and scares and unethical advertising. heart conditions.76 20. 2001-2005 Source: Datamonitor. 2006b 2000-2005 Nominal 5. (Euromonitor.53 10. the UK fast food industry has enjoyed remarkable growth in recent years. between 2000 and 2005.
it predicts. (Datamonitor. (MarketLine.2.2 0. 2006) The company operates primarily in the US and the UK.000 fast food restaurants in over 120 countries. (Marrin.1.316 restaurants throughout the UK. and this could easily be doubled within next four years to 20%. 2006) More and more doctors’ surgeries require their patient to have an annual health check up. Apart from the human 32 .3 8.3 1. 2006) According to a report issued by the Department of Health. 2005) Obesity is a major risk factor linked to heart disease. It is headquartered in Oak Brook.thirds of men and almost 60% of women are unhealthily heavy. Those who are overweight are set a program of physical activities and dietary advice. Illinois and employs 447. a third of all adults in UK (13 million people) will be obese. National health service introduces top-up charges for those who are considered to be clinically obese. 2006b Market share (%) 18. The company has over 31. Within four years. 2006) McDonalds currently operates in more than 1. (Marrin. and by more in smokers. and type 2 diabetes. 2006b) 5.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.000 people all over the world. Its profits grew by 55% in 2004. (Blackman. (Euromonitor . It reduces life expectancy by an average of nine years.1 Political / Legal conditions The most recent research has shown that being overweight or obese is now the norm in the UK.4 8. (Boseley. with figures released by the government showing that two.2 PEST Framework 5.4 1.1. 2006) Furthermore UK has the highest level of obesity in Europe.8 McDonald's operates fast food restaurants all over the world. 2006) • Rising costs for NHS due to obesity Currently 10% of National Health Association resources are spent on diabetes. So will 1million children. the findings for ‘Forecasting obesity in 2010’ were grotesque. (Datamonitor. cancer.
there is a direct cost of obesity to the nation. It warns that if obesity continues to increase. which will be tasked with providing healthier meals. free fruit and sport both within and outside of school hours. sugar and salt”. on “junk food” adverts. 2006) • Fat tax Another policy to tackle the rising incidence of heart disease and prevent obesity is to place so called fat tax on junk food.6 billion for the economy as a whole. with a view to voluntary restrictions. 2005) o Processed foods will be clearly labelled to indicate fat.3 billion to £2. 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. several health charities and campaigners put constant pressure on government concerning that issue. (Oliver.cost to the individual. o The way in which foods are advertised to children will be investigated. fat or salt). (Blackman. growing obese crisis is expected to cause thousands more people to suffer obesity related diseases. red light for foods high in sugar. (Euromonitor. o An independent task force will be set up to look at the best ways to prevent and treat obesity. 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 33 . said Maura Gillespie.6 billion by 2010. 2005) Regarding the last recommendation (advertising ban on junk food). o Emphasis will be placed on the role of schools. The Government has calculated that the overall cost of obesity to the National Health Service is around £1 billion (2006). (Blackman.g. the cost to the economy alone could rise to £3. sugar and salt content. head of policy and public affairs at the British Heart Foundation.a policy that can only have a positive impact on young people's attitudes to foods high in fat. using a ‘traffic light’ system (e. 2006a) Referring to the Department of Health. (Oliver. or possibly legislation. plus at least £1 billion on the NHS bill. with a further £2. "We are demanding the government place restrictions on advertising junk food to children before the 9pm watershed.
000 premature deaths from heart disease every year in the UK. confectionery and biscuits. (Euromonitor. Instead. (Euromonitor. 2006a) Moreover. 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. (Euromonitor. Belgium and Netherlands. lunch and dinner) have become less structured / planned in recent years.2 Socio-cultural conditions According to the most recent Consumer Lifestyles in the UK research. and more young people started developing diabetes.Britain's biggest killer. (Telegraph.bbc. take-away food and home meal replacement products. are very much high. unattributed. 2006a) • Attitudes towards healthy eating Despite the increasing tendency of consuming junk food and rising obesity level. (News. which is cheaper than the traditional restaurant meals. and which does not require cooking or preparation at home. fast food and snacking have become everyday routine.1. This includes fast food.2. (Euromonitor. 2006a) Above factors have led to a demand for food that is ready to eat. 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. 2006a) • Popularity of fast food Referring to Wall Street Journal survey. 2006a) 34 . snack food. fewer family meals are taken.person households is increasing As a result. hence each family member take care of their own meal. the health concern of UK consumers. 2006) The British Medical Journal recently claimed a “fat tax” could help prevent 1.that is well bellow the level in Italy. the three main eating occasions (breakfast. • • Average household size has declined Number of single. (Euromonitor. This low level of expenditure correlates to the prevalence of fast food. (Euromonitor. according to the survey undertaken in 2004. 2006a) 5. unattributed. 84% of people who are eating out spend £21 or less on each meal.
unattributed.sandwich sub sector (Pret-a-Manger. (Euromonitor . Plus changes in lifestyle have led to reduction in the number of structured meals.3 Key drivers of change: Now that environmental factors have been identified.profile political and public debate on obesity and other health issues will most probably continue and this is likely to negatively affect burger. kebab etc.1. 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.• Influence of TV chefs Another factor that has influenced the UK consumers is chef Jamie Oliver.2. 2006a) 5. they have been hit by negative publicity in recent years. on the other hand.) has been offset by continuous product innovation in the bakery. that could have an impact on fast food industry in the future. 2006a) • Negative publicity of fast food Despite the increasing popularity of fast food restaurants in the UK. local education authorities and the schools themselves. chip. what is the future impact of these factors? The key drivers of change. The reason behind that is their association with unhealthy food and their perceived contribution to childhood obesity. 2006a) While above changes in consumer lifestyle speak in favour of fast food industry. Subway. arising from external environment. Thus the growth in traditional fast food sub sector (burgers. as people choose more convenient options. The celebrity chef is perceived as having a bigger impact than the government. Jamie Oliver is named the biggest single force behind an improvement in school dinners. chicken and pizza fast food sales. 2006a) According to a survey.fast food. (Euromonitor. (Guardian. 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. 2006b) 35 . The next key driver of change that could affect the industry in the future is: The Government interference The high.) (Euromonitor. etc. (Euromonitor. the UK consumer is becoming more and more health conscious and is aware of the fast food poor nutritious.
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”. (Marrin. These drivers will affect the fast food industry. For focus group questions and other detailed information please refer to appendix A. Whereas the last three questions are seeking any impacts coming from external environment that might have an impact on consumer decision making process in relation to fast food products.the strong consumer demand and changes in lifestyles. the government has failed to stop the rise of obesity during its nine years in power. (Oliver. which appears to be in favour of fast food industry.2 Key factors influencing the consumer decision-making process 5. In order to determine how McDonalds might effectively cope with the changes in environment. 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. Understanding this may then enable McDonalds to develop more effective marketing and communications strategy. however.2.To make the above statement even more plausible. which negatively impact the industry. it is hard to predict what impact will predominate. First three questions are designed in such way that they focus on exploring consumers’ attitudes towards fast food (and McDonlads). 36 . Data of this kind may give McDonalds greater insight into customer needs and wants. 5. it is crucial to examine the attitudes that consumers have toward fast food.1 Focus group (analysis of key points) As explained previously in methodology chapter focus group can be divided into two parts. or escalating trend of healthy living underpinned by possible new government legislations.
As one participant said: “There isn’t any fast food restaurant that offers quality food. Massive manufacturing of chicken. followed by ones statement: “I absolutely love the taste of the fast food.Part one: Exploring consumers’ attitudes towards fast food A lengthy debate took place regarding the quality of fast food.” Since some answers given by participants were considered to be bias. under what conditions.” Another participant said: “I never eat chicken in fast food restaurants on the principle of my knowledge of what they do to chicken. with nothing added. 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. All beef they use is audited by the European Food Safety Inspection Service. delivery and preparation is extensively monitored. Raw ingredients have to meet strict specification and every detail of production. “What really bothers me about fast food is the ethical aspect attached with food quality. naturally it should take approximately 16 months. and we will never know what’s in there (in burgers).co. safety and traceability.” Participants noted that companies are not fully respecting the moral issues regarding the animal welfare. Then they would put apple flavour and cinnamon to make it taste like apple”.” Another participant said: “I’ve never seen nutritional facts in McDonalds. and to be honest I wouldn’t trust it if I saw it.” The debate continued about what sort of things beef burgers consist of. They are fed with steroids. but I will never eat it because I know what is in there. they are developing and maintaining the high standard of food quality. you open a burger and you see yellow lettuce. 2006) 37 . “We will never know how animas were raised. if not brown. Referring to McDonalds.” The debate carried on discussing the ethical issues regarding fast food restaurants. 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. This triggered a short discussion of how huge the chemical flavouring business is. Respondents classified them as extremely poor nutritious food.from hatchling to full size takes three months. “Vegetables they put in burgers are horrendous. but some cheap artificial stuff.uk. bought from farms accredited by nationally recognized farm assurance schemes. (mcdonalds. transport. 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. They argue that they use 100% beef in their burgers. including feed and animal welfare. author verified the content of McDonalds fast food products on their official website. They only use cuts of forequarter and flank (parts of a cow).
if not outright misleading. However. cited by O’Niell (2006). a professor of medical physiology in South Africa. to crave 38 . 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). greasy and unhealthy food. perception and beliefs regarding food quality and animal welfare are negative. Group expressed mix feelings and emotions towards fast food (McDonalds). but roast potatoes are not. which studies food and obesity issues. Why does the ‘junk food’ tag seem to be applied selectively? According to Peter Marsh of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford. However. 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 term ‘junk’ has become “simply a matter of aesthetics”. which then have negative impact on the perception of such food. the Food Standards Agency ‘junk food’ is any food high in fat. salt or sugar. (O’Neill. while nutritious value of fast food and ethical issue is important to them. then I go and eat in McDonalds”. food that is considered to be fatty and unhealthy. it would not determine them from going to eat in such restaurants. While some participants absolutely loved it. desire eagerly. participants clearly are either not aware of or they don’t (want) to believe it. it’s when you have a crave.” Other participant said: “It comes once in a while. Bread is a basic foodstuff. This could imply that eating fast food for some people is similar to eat sweets (as stated at Dictionary. 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). a way of disapproving of certain foods.com. (O’Neill. participants still associated fast food with ‘junk food’ and therefore simultaneously related it to fat. but the sugar in honey and grapes is not. but biscuits are ‘junk’.e. The truth is that their overall knowledge. argues that French fries are seen as ‘junk food’.Despite what McDonalds claims they use in their products. Referring to one article. Koeslag. others totally hated it. The sugar in cake is detrimental to health. During the debate author noticed several times that fast food has been referred as ‘junk food’i. you know as it’s like something driving me there.com “to crave” means to want greatly. 2006) O’Niell argues. According to Dictionary. One participant put this reason for going to McDonalds: “I’m dying of hunger and nothing else is available. The adjective 'junk' is unfortunate. This statement may suggest that eating such food comes as an eager desire.
(Revill. calculate daily calories intakes and compare them to McDonald's choices. Referring to Schiffman and Kanuk (2004. where else can you do that”? Despite the fact that group described fast food as unhealthy. 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. unattributed .co. providing information regarding 39 . as he ate only McDonald's for a month. using special tables. high blood pressure. you can go in McDonalds and eat for three pounds three burgers. Basically their website is designed in such way to inform consumers about the food and services they offer. i. 2004) In the documentary Morgan also suggests that such food is addictive. according to research hamburgers and fries could be as addictive as heroin. They also argue that McDonald’s “highly quality food is made out of best raw ingredients”. Perhaps the frequency of eating in such restaurants is also associated with risk perception. an increase of 13% of his body mass and cholesterol levels soaring. although not very often. (news. Having said that author refers to some instances of females (or men) “addiction” to chocolate.). they still go and eat there. Physical risk could be associated with the risk of eating fatty food and thus hazard of suffering obese related diseases (high cholesterol. etc. McDonalds tries to reduce consumers’ perceived risk by providing information about their products.198) more information the customer has about the product and the product category. Types of risks that might be perceived in case of eating in fast food restaurants are physical and psychological risk. unhealthy and low-class.sweets). Maybe they link such products with risk. They strive to show customers that their burgers are not as bad as majority might think.uk.198) the degree of risk that consumers perceive and their own tolerance for risk taking are factors that influence their purchasing strategies. since they might perceive it as something cheap.e. thus the lower the perceived risk.co. Psychological risk could be linked to consumer’s ego. p. (McDonalds. for instance.bbc.uk. eating too often in McDonalds could result in laugher of my colleagues. On their website everyone can have a look what ingredients each product consists of. 2006a) One can. 2003) The majority of participants described eating in such restaurants as convenient: “It’s convenient and cheap. According to Schiffman and Kanuk (2004. scientists have claimed. Researchers in the United States have found evidence to suggest people can become overly dependent on the sugar and fat in fast food. p. the more predictable the probable consequences and. Participants are aware of poor nutritious of fast food and links with obesity related diseases.
e.the most recent one.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. Part two: influences from external environment impacting (current obesity issues in the UK. as they try to increase consumer involvement with the use of celebrity endorsement. which are yet to come. you are walking home and then you see McDonalds. All that with attempt to reduce consumer perceived risk.) on consumer decision making process with respect to fast food 40 . they do not plan that in advance. Schroeder and McEachern) implicates that purchasing fast food is mostly impulsive. when they decide to go in such restaurants. (Solomon et al. consumers follow the peripheral route and rely more heavily on other message elements (e. Author assumes that this could be done intentionally as one of the tactics McDonalds use to encourage more customers to eat in their restaurants.g. impact of media. When involvement is low.at that point I decide to go and eat there… sometimes I smell McDonalds”. McDonalds restaurants are currently advertising various attractive Sony prizes that can be won. background music) to form attitudes or make product choices. as well as to the way it is presented. via sponsoring various sport events. 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. Under these conditions consumers are influenced by principles of behavioural learning. 2006 p.people in general.animal and environmental welfare. Moreover they have been promoting active lifestyle and importance of energy balance for over a decade. etc. p. For instance. suggesting that fast food is low involvement product. 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.142) Therefore marketers at McDonalds pay more attention to the amount of information in their restaurants. 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. it’s late.. Various points of purchase stimuli plays important role when the consumer involvement is low and the purchase is impulsive. i. (Schiffman and Kanuk. 2004.the Olympic Games! One participant described his eating in fast food restaurants as: “You are tired.
That is not the reality.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. an average British McDonalds customer eats in 6 years. According to Warwick et al. Perhaps that is the reason why in general all participants. This implies that education might play crucial role by deciding what people eat. evidence has suggested that young consumers appear to be creatures of habit. Honestly I believe that is a question of education…people aren’t aware of the consequences”. They argue that actor ate a one-dimensional diet with more than 5000 calories a day. they claimed that such issue is not affecting them in any way. such habits are difficult to change. besides what the actor ate in 30 days. It is hardly surprising then that this had impact on his body. do not eat in McDonalds that often. however. McDonalds surprisingly stated on their website that on the whole they agree with the Super size me’s message. later research 41 .uk.co.supersizeme-thedebate. school and social environments. 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. they are lazy”. McDonalds also supports their customers by providing them relevant nutritional facts so they can make informed decisions.While all participants were familiar with the current obesity issue in UK. However. cited by Brown. the power of education can be immensely helpful in the pursuit of better understanding by consumers regarding healthy eating and may occur within home. peers and from other societal factors and once formed. to investigate the companies’ responses on that infamous documentary. 2006b) In response to the documentary McDonalds launched a website www. fuelled from birth by the guidance of parents. Referring to Alock (1995). McIlveen and Strugnell (2000). Its general change in lifestyle…people don’t exercise. 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. “It is really the matter of ignorance. Debate carried on as one participant said: ”Its about changing lifestyles.co. it is likely to affect its food behaviour. while he goes from highly active individual to purposely stopping all physical activities. cited by Brown. that’s twice the recommended intake for and adult male. who are educated final year university students. Or perhaps this is the matter of their social status/class. people don’t really know how to eat.that is important to have a balanced diet and take exercise. This might indicate that the way children were brought up. then they will end up not doing so later in their life”. McIlveen and Strugnell (2000). 1997.uk which provides customers with information on a balanced diet and their opinions on documentary. Another one said: “Super size me movie make me not want to go to McDonalds ever again…” It was interesting. (McDonalds.
McIlveen and Strugnell. But somewhere you have to draw a line of what’s right and what’s wrong…maybe that’s an ethical issue. (Wazir. except one student who argue that: “They (fast food companies) are aware of what they are serving. but they are in the business of making money. you have made that decision…but then again we have came back to the question of education.if that is really what you want to do (eat) as you have healthier alternative option right next door.“I believe strongly in the personal liberty and making your own choice. describing fast food as convenient but unhealthy was underlined. The desire for fast food comes impulsively. Fast food companies are not to be blamed for rising obesity levels in the UK. school. (Brown. Group supported the fact that the government intends to interfere/has interfered by imposing regulation regarding advertising junk food to children. depending upon the environment within which they are present (home. I don’t know. 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. 2003) To conclude. However. There could be a possibility that fast food chains will be fought in a similar way tobacco companies were fought. and not stop companies from what they are doing”. the lawsuits were dismissed. If people know they have alternatives.suggested that the food preference habits of young consumers could change. If you walked in the fast food restaurant. though people themselves. social). they were sceptical by other regulations. High public anti-obesity debates in the UK appear to have no significant negative impact on consumer attitudes towards fast food. There were some cases in which individuals blamed McDonalds for causing obesity. from that point on it’s their own choice. On the last question should fast food companies be held responsible for rising obesity levels in the UK everyone said no. So in a sense yes they should be held responsible”. they know what kind of impacts such food has on people. What the government should be doing is promoting other lifestyles. Followed by another participant: “I agree.it’s a matter of education. 2000). 42 . 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. The convenience-healthfulness dichotomy. however. Everybody is given a choice to choose healthier alternative over the fast food”. Group advocated “personal liberty”.
The majority of respondents classified all types of food with exception of salads and 43 . According to Schroeder and McEachern (2005). (Figure 5. ethical aspects. The gender split was 49% men and 51% women.2. McDonalds)? QUALITY OF FAST FOOD & CONSUMER’S TRUST IN MCDONALDS Author used ‘selected evaluative scale’ to gauge respondents’ attitudes towards quality of fast food.2 Questionnaire (analysis of findings) In order to present it in a coherent way. As mentioned in methodology chapter. 30 out of 71 respondents (42. following key themes from focus group (quality of fast food. impact of media and Government on consumer behaviour) will be tested to larger group of people in the UK.3%) eat fast food once every month. the global target market for fast food companies is between 17-25 years.5. author decided to structure following analysis on five parts.5) Figure 5.5: How often do you eat fast food (i. Author has found following results: In total 71 participants responded on the survey. trust towards McDonalds. matched this target market with 88% aged between 17-25 years. The respondent profile to the questionnaire.e.
(Figure 5. using the best raw ingredients” as untrue. “…committed to providing high quality food.fruit. 34% of respondents have seen a list of nutrition facts in McDonalds restaurants. as the worst quality. (Appendix C) 83% of respondents believe that McDonalds use chemicals in their products. Nevertheless. that nutritional value of such food is indeed regarded as extremely poor.7) Figure 5. Answers given by that question justified a lengthy debate from focus group. For detailed information regarding that question please refer to Appendix C.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)! 44 . those who had seen it they do not trust what is written on it.6) When respondents were given the 5 point Likert-scale.6: Do you believe McDonalds put chemicals in their food? (To improve the taste and/or improve the texture of vegetables) Figure 5. (Figure 5. 31 out of 71 (44%) considered what McDonalds claims on their website.
Figure 5..8: If yes.When respondents were given the fact that if McDonalds would have used 100% beef along with fresh vegetables. (Figure 5.co. 61% of those who haven’t visit the website they don’t intend to visit it in the future. do you find it appealing and/or useful? 45 .mcdonalds. etc. apples in their apples pies.uk and 50% of those who have visited claimed that they haven’t found it really appealing or useful.8) Furthermore. 30% of respondents have visited www. 34% said they would go eat there more often.
It was. unhealthy. (Figure 5. tasty and fatty were the ones that were noted most frequently. cheap. 46 . For adjectives given by all 71 participants please refer to Appendix C.9) Figure 5.Reason for going to McDonalds as “dying of hunger and nothing else is available” was firstly picked up during the focus group discussion. claimed by larger population as the strongest reason why eating there as well.9: What makes you go to McDonalds? When participants were asked to write three adjectives they would link to McDonalds products. where 27 out of 71 participants (38%) selected that option over the convenient one (28%). however.
47 . 25% of those claimed that this is the reason they don’t eat chicken in McDonalds. 39% said they would go eat there more often.10: When you eat chicken sandwich at McDonalds. ETHICAL ISSUES Merely 31% of respondents did not have any knowledge what ethical issue (animal welfare concerning chicken) in relation to McDonalds is. While great majority of respondents were familiar with the ethical aspects. 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.10) Figure 5. (Figure 5.
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’.) in the UK. which 84% of all participants claimed they were familiar with. had a strong negative influence (on those who had seen the movie).2. (Figure 5.IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA The great majority (76%) claimed that were familiar with the current obesity issues (the government anti-obesity policies.2g) 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. etc. 35% 48 . Jamie Oliver campaigns. 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.
13) 49 .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. they don’t eat in McDonalds anymore. (Figure 5. (Figure 5.claimed that ever since they saw the documentary.12) Figure 5.
However. 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. What do you think is the reason for that? Please apply everything that you consider as a reason! In conclusion. one topic from focus group did not match with answers given in questionnaires. 50 .Figure 5.13: UK has been recently chosen as the fattest country in Europe.
tasty and fatty. They ‘ranked’ their food (with exception of salads and fruit) as of the worst quality.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. cheap. Respondents associated McDonalds and its products with adjectives such as unhealthy. respondents by questionnaires claimed opposite. 51 . appears to contribute towards negative attitudes that consumers have with McDonalds. Ethical issue concerning McDonalds. current high public obesity debates in the UK along with the documentary Super Size Me.
including description of resources required will be illustrated. however.CHAPTER 5: RECOMMENDATIONS In this chapter a set of proposed recommendations as well as supporting analysis of the options for McDonalds will be depicted. Due to word limit restrictions for this dissertation. author decided to further describe and evaluate two options that could be beneficial for McDonalds. the following recommendations that McDonalds might pursue is proposed. promotion of active lifestyle through celebrity football player. performing in fact really good. few areas that McDonalds might improve in. to boost current rising sales and secure escalating share prices. despite its traditionally unhealthy image. Figure 5.1 Option description and evaluation 52 . From the introduction chapter it can be seen that the company is. The proposed two options are illustrated in Ansoff’s Matrix. and hiring celebrity chef to promote McDonalds brand might help McDonalds improve its business of operation. new healthy menus along with redecorating its restaurants. Now that factors that influence the consumer decision-making process regarding fast food have been identified and analysed. In addition the implementation plan to support the key recommendation.1 Options for McDonalds illustrated in Ansoff’s matrix 5. Options like Increase awareness of the quality of McDonalds’ products. There still are.
p.is concerned with whether a strategy addresses the circumstances in which firm is operating. Feasibility. do not plan to do so. their attitudes towards McDonalds food are negative. Hence. One of them is to persuade people to visit www. super size me documentary. It requires an emphasis on more detailed practicalities of strategic capability. it is important that McDonalds attempts to reduce that perceived risk with providing consumers with information about nutritional content of their food.It is important that options are presented with a concept of success criteria. Sony cameras) That would make people go on their website more often.mcdonalds.357). iPods. 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. From the analysis 34% (for beef burgers) and 39% (for chicken sandwiches) of respondents claimed 53 .is concerned with whether the strategy could be made to work in practise.1. Acceptability.uk. The content of website would have to be attractive that they would read everything regarding nutritional content of the food. The fact of the matter is that their perception. This could be done using promotional material such as special coupons at the restaurants.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. This can be done through various ways. 5. documentaries and various books stressing extremely negative facts and consequences of fast food. (E. which would be collected after the purchase with a receipt.g. etc. According to Johnson (2005. by which these strategic options can be judged.co. animal welfare. 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. From the questionnaire analysis 61% of participants who have not visited their website.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. have impact on consumer’s risk perception towards fast food.
sugar. people would go more often to McDonalds if they would be guarantied that what they are eating is 100% good quality food. give the chance to their customers to see how much fat. there is no critical issue attached to that option that would not be accepted or approved by McDonalds stakeholders. In addition. What are the risks and returns? That is the question of acceptability. since they would feel more confident of what they are eating.that if they had been given a fact that McDonalds uses 100% beef and chicken. 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.that might reduce consumers risk perception. they would eat there more often. Regarding possible returns associated with that option are incomparable with the risk of that option. 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. 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. People want to know what they are eating. Referring to findings. They could increase consumer’s knowledge regarding its product by giving away (after the purchase with a receipt) each customer a special voucher booklet. 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. They would also put their nutritional facts list on every back of the tray paper. Such booklets/fliers would also be distributed in front of each McDonalds restaurants. By providing all these information regarding nutrition quality. proteins. McDonalds would increase sales as well as increase and improve their brand value. In case of failure. their meal consists of. That would be a good start of building trust with their customers. calories etc. this would not be disastrous for McDonalds (apart from for money invested in that promotional campaign). (Appendix C. and where did that meat come from. People are concerned with what goes into their bodies. In addition. 54 . This option is considered as not particularly risky. This option is suitable since it fits perfectly in the environment.
there is a risk that this option would not work because people simply would not go there to eat “healthy”. for instance. fruit salads and other more nutritious food. The interior design of their typical restaurant would change from combination of red-yellow colour. This could attract new customers going to their restaurants. apple pies and other fried food. they could. McDonalds should consider introducing new range of healthier sandwiches. 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. which would most probably mean no dividends for them in the short-medium term. 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. as it was always known as the ‘lower quality fast food chain’. Instead of white bread they could use wholemeal bread. since author presume that McDonalds is capable of such marketing investment. However.they could broaden its customer base. since it would require significant investments. which is anything else than healthy. which would be a lot healthier and it would eliminate the trans fat it uses in cooking fried food.1. Is it acceptable? From stakeholder’s prospective it is likely to be acceptable. it fits completely with trends in domestic environment and current health concerns. instead of frying it. Improving their website. Thus. prepare it in oven. From suitability perspective. purchasing of prizes. salads. That option might result in changing peoples’ perception they presently possesses with McDonalds brand. Moreover they could start introducing computers equipped with Internet in some of their restaurants as well as newspapers. For French fries. Moreover author believes that McDonalds possesses all resources and competences in order to make this option work in practise. 5. to softer brownsemphasizing the nature.Is it feasible. Furthermore not all McDonalds shareholders might agree with that option. They would start position themselves as healthier food chain. since it is in line with current healthy trend. providing voucher booklets and other point of purchase promotionalinformational material to increase their awareness is relatively inexpensive for a giant like McDonalds. Furthermore there could be a risk of 55 .
In the following Gantt chart. 5. according to authors’ findings. The timescale to implement proposed tasks can vary. would definitely be a difficult task.2 Implementation plan Following implementation plan will set out stages McDonalds will need to go through to turn proposed option into reality. Moreover first option meets criteria (suitability. In order for McDonalds to successfully implement this new strategy. feasibility) better than the second option. 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. it can be employed immediately and it does not require heavy investments. However. better quality products (which are obviously more expensive than products they offers now). the author listed all the different tasks assigned and the timeframe allocated to achieve each of them. acceptability. he believes that option 1 is more appropriate than the second one. The main objectives for increasing awareness of the quality of McDonalds products are: 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) 56 . which would suffer on expense of new healthier menus. It is very straightforward. even for a giant like McDonalds.cannibalisation effect on traditional burgers. nevertheless. Is this feasible? From financial perspective it would be probably one of the most expensive investments in the history of the company. it does not shy away from McDonalds core (traditional) business. Both presented options are attractive for McDonalds and furthermore both fit in the environment. Money required for financing refurbishment of all restaurants and offering healthier. on the top of new advertising campaigns. which is making burgers and French fires. the author created a Gantt chart. Above all.
(design team) MARKETING department MKTG dep.(design team) MKTG 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. Designing special voucher booklet. and other point of purchase promotional material Table 5. MARKETING department IT department MGT/MKTG director *Once the new website is launched. (PR) MKTG dep/FINANCE dep. 57 .(design team) MKTG dep.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. designing list of nutritional facts (which goes on the top of the tray).
resulting in changing their attitudes and perceptions they currently possess. As PEST analysis has shown that one of the key drivers of 58 . McDonalds does everything to be as ready as possible for the threats arising from external environment. 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. My research question: What factors are currently influencing the consumer decision-making process in the fast food restaurant industry in the UK. These have direct impact on consumer’s psychology. cheap. Furthermore people ranked McDonalds food as of worst quality. People do not spend significant time thinking on whether they will go eat in McDonalds or not. In addition a brief re-cap of the whole dissertation will be provided. They also strive to gain consumers trust. Research revealed that majority of people link McDonalds food with adjectives unhealthy. which according to research have negative impact on consumers purchasing behaviour. These external influences are current high public obesity debates in the UK. and how is McDonalds responding to changing environment and consumer behaviour? The need for fast food comes impulsively. underpinning the fact that McDonalds is still (traditionally) perceived as typical junk food restaurant. All factors above contribute towards risk perception that consumers have with McDonalds food. The research also revealed that consumers do not trust McDonalds. The reason for eating in their restaurants was described as the ‘last resort’. Attitudes that consumers have with McDonalds are predominantly associated with their knowledge regarding fast food. Their knowledge/information they have acquired regarding fast food is primarily negative. As a result their attitudes are also negative.CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION In this chapter author will conclude his research with how the research question has been solved. change their attitudes and hence increase their sales. There are also external influences that have impact on consumer decision-making process. tasty and fatty. They try to reduce the perceived risk by providing consumers with information regarding their food. which negatively impact on their decision-making process of eating in such restaurants.
Having said that. On top of that it had gone through several lawsuits (in the US). though. whether we will trust them or not. these had negative impacts on the company as people became aware of the consequences of fast food. They will perceive it as something greasy. McDonalds sales are now increasing and as a consequence its shares price ended at highest point in past six years. What they can do.profile political and public debate on obesity and other health issues in the UK. Nonetheless. And that is what will make us go and eat their burgers. McDonalds cannot change people’s perception over night. As a response on that McDonalds introduced healthier menus. 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. thousands of dietary experts stressing dangerous facts about McDonalds food. McDonalds is used to that. is they can show people what their food is made of.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. fortunately (for McDonalds) neither of them succeeded.change that might have an impact on the industry in the future is high. McDonalds has been battered by books (Fast Food Nation). fatty and bad for their body. Consumers still (and probably will) have negative attitudes towards McDonalds. And it seems like its effort has paid off. 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. To conclude. Indeed. author has not found anything particularly new regarding consumer attitudes towards such food. 59 . criticized by celebrity chefs (Jamie Oliver) and they even made a documentary (Super size me) to reveal the truth behind the fast food.
A. (a) Available URL: http://news.telegraph. (2006) Fears for the future as figures reveal Britons are fattest people in Europe.00.xml&sSheet=/portal/2004/02/19/ixportaltop.co.uk/article/0. M. UK press releases August.jhtml? xml=/news/2004/02/19/uobese.co.uk/2/hi/health/2707143.stm Viewed 23/11/2006 Government unit “urges fat tax” (2004).24391-2330255.uk/1/hi/health/3502053. (2006) Customers flock back to Big Mac Available URL: http://www..co.guardian.uk/news/main.co..co.mcdonalds.uk/?f=y Viewed 23/11/200 McDonalds press releases.uk/ Viewed 26/11/2006 MARRIN.co.html Viewed 13/10/2006 Measures to cut obesity revealed (2004).00.co.html Viewed 25/10/2006 McDonalds official website 2006a Available URL: http://www..html Viewed 15/10/06 CLARK. Available URL: http://www.edu/Users/csd/evaluation/fgroups/fghowto.bbc. S. (2006) Obesity? This is job for a Supernanny! Available URL: http://www.guardian.html Viewed 15/10/06 Fast food 'as addictive as heroin' Available URL: http://news.uk/frontpage/story/0.wustl.co.1892626.BIBLIOGRAPHY WebPages: BOSELEY.bbc.1921201. 2004b Available URL: http://www.mcdonalds.timesonline.00.html Viewed 13/10/2006 Fat tax may tackle obesity (2004) Available URL: http://www.uk/food/Story/0.stm Viewed 15/10/06 How to do focus groups? Available URL: http://gwbweb. (b) 60 .
July 2006 Available URL: http://dbic.1323941.co.stm OLIVER. (2006) New call for ban on junk food ads.guardian. Available URL: http://www.co.html Viewed 25/10/2006 REVILL.co.html Viewed 23/10/2006 WAZIR.co.uk/schoolmeals/story/0. MarketLine Database. Datamonitor database.uk/food/Story/0.html Viewed 26/11/2006 Databases: Consumer lifestyles in UK..aspx Viewed 12/10/2006 McDonalds Corporation.uk/1/hi/health/4015571.com/industries/profile/?pid=E38353FE-D3034366-9856-C5F4E7E7B0DB Viewed 15/10/06 Fats food in the UK.aspx Viewed 12/10/2006 Fast food in the UK.gmid.10...guardian. Euromonitor database.00. 2006 61 .11032. September 2005 Available URL: http://www.html Viewed 13/10/2006 O’NIELL.1745944.euromonitor..uk/publicservices/story/0.Viewed 12.886944.stm Viewed 31/11/2006 Parents laud Oliver over school dinners (2006).co.uk/business/ethics/story/0. May 2006 Available URL: http://www.uk/1/hi/magazine/6187234.1858283. M.guardian.euromonitor. B.com/Reports.co.com/HitList. J.guardian. but the tag seems to be applied very selectively.bbc. (a) Available URL: http://education.00. (2003) Fight the good fight against fat Available URL: http://observer.00. (b). 'Ministry of fat' aims to make Britain trim Available URL: http://politics. (a). Euromonitor database.datamonitor.gmid.00.bbc.2006 Available URL: http://news. B. So do we really know what is good and bad for us?’ Available URL: http://news.. (2006) ‘Junk food is rarely out of the news these days.
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522-538 VIGNALI. Financial Times.107 No. 7.. W.95-110 Newspaper articles: WIGGINS. J. J. (2006) Fast food chains curb targeting of children. (2005) ‘Fast Foods and ethical consumer value: a focus on McDonald’s and KFC’ Vol.. (2003) ‘Exploring consumers attitudes towards genetically modified food’. number 2. McEACHERN. 1/2 pp. C. Wednesday November 15 2006 APPENDIX A FOCUS GROUP 63 . act local.the marketing mix’ British Food Journal. 39 no.Vol. (2001) ‘McDonald’s: think global.6.216-330 SCHROEDER.212-224 VERBEKE. vol. 97-111 VERDURME. M. Volume 103 Number 2 2001 pp.. 102 No. VIAENE. 4 pp. pp. pp. A. ‘Influences on the consumer decision-making process towards fresh meat’ Vol. M.
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 QUESTIONNAIRE 64 . 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.g.). environmental issues. All participants were EBS students. etc. session time and list of questions the group will discuss.) 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. The content of which is available on DVD. Jamie Oliver campaign. 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. the government antiobesity policy. etc. Before the session began the ground rules were also explained. Before the actual session. 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 discussion was recorded with an audiovideo recorder. It consisted of seven students. the invitation with a proposed agenda. The moderator (author of the dissertation) was not trained for doing such research.Focus group took place at Regents College campus (room 106) on the 16th of November 2006. was sent to all participants via email.
e. The topic is FAST FOOD & MCDONALDS. Moreover I’m trying to find out the impact of current high pubic anti-obesity debate in the UK. Please choose your age bracket: o Under 15 o 16-25 o 26-35 o 36-45 o over 46 3. I’m looking for your attitudes and perceptions regarding fast food products and restaurants. 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 65 . Please choose your sex o Male o Female 2. How often do you eat fast food (i.Hi! I’m doing this for my dissertation and I would really appreciate if you could answer following questions. particularly McDonalds. 1. that it has (if it has) on your behaviour.
apples in their apples pies. 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. If you were given the fact that McDonalds uses 100% lean beef along with fresh vegetables. do you trust it? o Yes o No 7. 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. If you have seen it. 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 o Vegetables in burgers o Salads o Fruit o Apple pies o Chicken sandwiches o McDonalds McNuggets o French fries 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5. etc. would that make you go eat there more often? o Yes o No 66 .4. Have you ever seen a list of nutrition facts at the McDonalds restaurants? o Yes o No 6.
does the ethical issue regarding chicken bothers you? o Yes it bothers me. etc. etc. do you intend to visit their website in the future? o Yes o No 13.for example feeding chicken with steroids. and that’s the reason I don’t eat chicken in McDonalds o Yes it bothers me. 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.10. How well are you aware of the ethical issues (animal welfare. do you find it appealing and/or useful? o Yes o No 12. Have you ever checked McDonalds Web page? o Yes o No 11. If you haven’t visit it yet. but I eat it anyways o It doesn’t bother me at all 67 .) 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. If yes.) regarding McDonalds chicken farming? o Very familiar o Quite familiar o Don’t know what that is 15. When you eat chicken sandwich at McDonalds.
but now I go as often as I used to o No. 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. Did that make you go less in McDonalds? o Yes. Are you familiar of the documentary about McDonalds “Super Size Me”? o Yes o No 21. 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. If you were given the fact that McDonalds uses 100% naturally raised chicken meat in their sandwiches. I don’t eat there anymore o Yes. Please write 3 adjectives you would link them to McDonalds products they offer! ________________________________________________________ 18. Are you familiar with the current obesity issues (the government anti-obesity policies. Jamie Oliver campaigns. would that make you go eat there more often? o Yes o No 17.o I don’t eat chicken 16. but I still go and it in fast food restaurants. at the beginning.) in the UK? o Yes o No 19. etc. I still eat there 68 . just not as often as I used to o No.
UK has been recently chosen as the fattest country in Europe. 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” THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION!!! 69 .22.
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? 70 .
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