Ritzer - The McDonaldization of Society 5 McDonaldization,...

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The McDonaldization of Society 5 McDonaldization, ! Shavian wit were GEORGE RITZER University of Maryland PINE FORGE PRESS An Imprint of Sage Publications, Inc. Los Angeles ¯ London ¯ New Delhi. Singapore
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An Introduction to McDonaldization RaY Kroc (1902-1984), the genius behind the franchising of McDonald’s restattrants, ~vas a man ~vith big ideas and grand ambitions. But even Kroc could not have anticipated the astounding impact of his creation. McDonald’s is the basis of one of the most influential developments in con- temporary society. Its reverberations extend far beyond its point of origin in the United States and in the fast-food business. It has influenced a wide range of undertakings, indeed the way of life, of a significant portion of the world. And having rebounded from some well-publicized economic difficulties, that impact is likely to expand at an accelerating rate in the early 21st century, l* However, this is not a book about McDonald’s, or even about the fast- food business, 2 although both svill be discussed frequently throughout these pages. I devote all this attention to McDonald’s (as welt as to the industry of which it is a part and that it played such a key role in spawning) because it serves here as the major example of, and the paradigm for, a wide-ranging process I call McDonaldization3--that is, the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world. 4 * Notes may be found at the back of the book, beginning on page 233.
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2 THE McDONALDIZATION OF SOCIETY McDonatdization has sho~vn every sign of being an inexorable process, s~veeping through seemingly impervious institutions (e.g., religion) and regions (European nations such as France) of the world, s The success of McDonald’s itself is apparent: In 2006, its revenues were $21.6 billion, ~vith operating income of $4.4 billion. 6 McDonald’s, which first began operations in 1955, had 31,667 restaurants throughout the world at the beginning of 2007. 7 Martin Ptirnmer, a British commentator, archly notes: There are McDonald’s everywhere. There’s one near you, and there’s one being built right now even nearer to you. Soon, if McDonald’s goes on expanding at its present rate, there might even be one in your house. You could find Ronald McDonald’s boots under your bed. And maybe his red wig, too. s McDonald’s and McDonaldization have had their most obvious influ- ence on the restaurant industry and, more generally, on franchises of all types: 1. According to the International Franchise Association, there were 767,483 small franchised businesses in the United States in late 2006, and they did about $1.5 trillion in annual sales. They employed more than 18 million people. Franchises are growing rapidlyfl over 57% of McDonald’s restaurants are franchises.
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Ritzer - The McDonaldization of Society 5 McDonaldization,...

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