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McDonald's is an American fast food company, which is known for cheeseburgers, hamburgers, and fries. Founded as a restaurant in 1940, the company was turned into a franchise in 1953 and the menu also features breakfast items, chicken products, milkshakes, soft drinks, desserts, and wraps.

However, by 2015 the company started to lose its charmuntil the Chief Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook took over as the CEO and President who then pushed the company to become the world's largest restaurant chain by revenue as of 2018.Steve introduced various changes across culture, ethics, innovation, and strategy that left a positive impact on the business.


Change is necessary for every business to meet the needs of the time, stay competitive, and keep moving ahead in the direction of success. The CUEGIS concept measures change or restructuring of business on factors like:

  • Culture: The factor is responsible for shaping the values, customs, and beliefs of people through the norms laid down by a social group, an organization, or a country.
  • Ethics: Ethics of doing business refer to the social and moral principles that impact decision making for a business. The decisions can be based on insights from customers, employees, or other industry experts.
  • Globalization: For multinational companies like McDonald's, globalization is a key factor. A focus on this factor helps businesses expand their operations to different parts of the world and is based on financial, trade, communications, and economic integration.
  • Innovation: Innovation is a key factor in the success of businesses, nowadays. This refers to changing existing products, ideas, and processes into more effective or creating new ones.A change introduced through innovation goes a long way in the likelihood of business success.
  • Strategy: Putting forward long-term goals and devising the right plans to achieve those is a core factor that businesses have been practicing since ages. This could be linked to marketing practices, customer service, product manufacturing, service delivery, and more.

Changes introduced at McDonald's considering all these factors have led the organization to build a strong reputation and an effective business culture.Focusing on the global business stretch, the newly appointed CEO Steveintroduced changes in the management, culture, and marketing strategy to bring the brand back on the success track.

An effective part of the change came in as the appointment of new leadership roles across regions, as follows:

  • Dave Hoffman - From the President of Asia/Pacific, Africa, and Middle East business to the President of high-growth markets like China, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Korea, & others.
  • Ian Borden - From the Chief Financial Officer of APMEA business to the President of foundational markets of McDonald's.
  • Mike Andres -left unchanged as the President of McDonald's business in the US
  • Doug Goare-From the President of the company's European business to the President of International Lead Markets including the UK, Canada, France, Australia, and Germany.

With this change of management and leadership roles, McDonald'sachieved growth in its business across different market segments. The restructure has been based on the match of the experience, potential, and past results of theleaders with the requirements of the market segments.


Cultural values vary from place to place and influence the cost of doing business across the world. Understanding this variation and adapting the same can help a business gain a competitive advantage in a particular country or region. For international businesses, there are 3 core areas of every culture that affects its operations, costs, and profitability.

  • Communication:Success of a business venture depends on how effectively it communicates its brand values,messages, menu, and service. However, the risk with multi-national organizations arises when the message gets lost in translation. On a general note, English is considered as a common language worldwide but considering the local audience, a business must ensure that the local language is used for communication for a better impact.
  • Workplace Etiquette:In addition to language, different cultures across the world also vary with workplace etiquettes and attitudes. For instance, while addressing a person, the use of formal titles like Mr/Msalong with surname is preferred in Asian countries while the use of first names is more common among American citizens.
  • Regional & Religious Preferences:Another area where cultural differences cause an impact is the regional and religious differences. For a common example of this, consider the case of beef consumption across American and Asian countries. While American people have no particular concerns on the consumption of beef, people in countries like India have religious concerns and are reluctant to beef-made food products.Similarly, regional preferences arise based on the availability of food types and the eating habits of people in a particular area.

For McDonald's, things are much different in India, China, and Japan from those in the US. The company underwent paradigm shifts in its menu after understanding the preferred foods of different cultures for successful market growth.While the 10-Q report for Q2 2012 of the company states that 67.6% of McDonald's business is derived from non-US countries, here are a few of the instances where McDonald'sadapted to cultural changes across places:

  • In China, thigh meat is preferred over breast meat. Adapting to this preference, McDonald's introduced all chicken burgers in China made using thigh meat. In addition, the company also introduced a Chinese New Year meal that comprised of a grilled chicken burger and curly fries along with a horoscope of Chinese astrology's 12 animals.
  • Similarly, the company introduced local menu innovations in India including McAlooTikki Burger, Pizza McPuff, and McVeggie while keeping pork & beef products at bay. Opening of vegetarian restaurants has been a plus point for McDonald's in India.

To conclude, McDonald'sstudied and understood the cultural aspects of regional segments of its operations and achieved success in boosting business growth across different cultures.



For a business to operate successfully in the modern world, ethics play a major role. From the reputation of the brand to public perception, productivity, and profitability, ethics have a vital significance in almost everything. With a key consideration of values like honesty, fairness, integrity, and openness, an organization needs to treat both its employees and customers well, acknowledge responsibilities, and support the right doings. For a multinational brand like McDonald's, ethics are more important as their global business values depend largely on their customer's perception.

After Steve took over, his first step was aimed at strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness through more emphasis on customer-led decisions. Starting 1 July, 4 new segments were introduced in order to ensure the decision making is guided through customers' belief of right and wrong. The segmentation implemented was as follows:

1. The US (40% share of the company's last year's operating income)

2. International Lead Markets (Canada, France, the UK, Australia, and Germany that contributed 40% of operating income in 2014)

3. High-growth Markets (Italy, China, Russia, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and South Korea where restaurant expansion &franchising potential are relatively higher).

4. Foundation Markets (rest of the markets covered by the McDonald's business system).

In addition, the changed structure reduces layers as well as bureaucracy while being supported by streamlined teams. This ensures a better alignment of markets along with their growth drivers, needs of resources, and contributions to the overall profit of the company.

Thisfocus on customer-centered ethics brought about a positive change in the overall growth of the business. Some of the immediate, as well as long-term,business benefits gained by McDonald's through this approach include:

  • A refreshed line-up of products and servicesthatcustomers love more that instilled a belief among the target audience for McDonald'sbeing a customer-centric organization/brand.
  • More customers have started choosing McDonald's as their preferred hanging space. Outlets at specific locations have started generating more revenue.
  • The brand succeeded in creating a positive perception for the brand on an overall basis increasing customer satisfaction rates as well.
  • Not only customers but employees also lover serving happy customers, hence, creating a business promoting culture.

In short, changing business ethics from the motto of profit-making to delivering satisfactory, customer-oriented products and/or services helped McDonald's improve their brand's value amongst the target audience.Also, specifically targetingdifferent regions as per market penetration enabled the company to deliver better everywhere.


There has been a dramatic rise in the integration of globalization over the past decades, making the world go more interdependent. For international businesses, the term is wide enough to encompass changes at social, economic, political, and ecological levelsacross the world. A perfect example of a rise in global integration is the growing number of multinational companies. Manufacturers, as well as service providers,seek opportunities for doing business at foreign lands to gain higher profits with an expansion to the existing business alongside learning from different cultures.

Globalization has brought numerous advantages and disadvantages for businesses as well as individuals. From among the huge list, a few of the benefits are listed below:

  • Ease oftransportation of people, services, and goods provided markets with diverse products and business with higher potential for profitsand growth.
  • Flexible cross-border operations help reduce cultural barriers
  • Lower possibilities of wars between nations
  • Increased free trades
  • Rise in the flow of trans-border ideas through the means of communication satellites, telephone networks, and the internet.
  • Spread of multiculturalism

Thus, with the exchange of traditions, vision, ideas, and cultures, globalization has created a profitable scenario for all.

McDonald's is one of the biggest globalized institutions with around 37,855 outlets operating in more than 100 countries and serving over 69 million customers every day. This widespread of the brand even led to a theory named the McDonaldization of the Society with the brand being referred to as a common voice for the representation of worldwide communication among people from different parts, cultures, and views.

Food being one of the oldest carriers of culture across the globe has helped McDonald's spread. People love to connect with others at the global brand over a slow light meal as McDonald's offers this ability to everyone with its affordable and easily available fast food items.With a liberalized prospective on what people love & use to eat at which place, McDonald's has been able to create a buzz around its name, leading to possession of information about menu and availability among people with diverse age groups, nature, and culture.

As discussed above, McDonald'smanaged to tap the potential of fast food business across the globe by understanding and adapting to the cultural differences across its menu. Not only this, but the brand also displayed support for local culture internally and externally. Thus, effective use of technological advancements for communication and transport of goods, services, people, and ideas, McDonald'smanaged to grow into a huge multi-national brand.



Innovation refers to creating something new and creative that is useful for a business, organization, society, community, or an individual. Managing innovation requires businesses to manage both innovation and change processes linked to a business process, product, or an organization.

At McDonald's, innovative marketing campaigns have been used over the years to drive footfall at its outlets alongside increasing brand engagement and loyalty. Some of the examples of successful campaigns from the brand are listed below:

Search It Campaign:McDonald's launched an unbranded and bold campaign called "Search It" in 2017. In the ad, Mindy Kalingwas seen urging viewers to search for the place where Coke tastes so good on Google.Linking to the way today's generation finds information, the brand managed to gain search mentions for itself.

  • 50th Birthday of the Big Mac:The iconic burger of the brand, Big Mac, turned 50 in 2018. McDonald's France decided to honor its iconic product through a print & digital campaign carrying a retro theme. The creative looked back into the past decades showcasingcontinuous evolution in fashion, politics, and technology through iconic looks and comparing it with the Big Mac that remained unchanged.
  • TrackMyMacca App:In 2013, when concerns about the origin of mass-produced food were on the rise, McDonald's introduced the TrackMyMacca App. The app used augmented reality enabling people to track the raw items for the product they bought. All the users needed to do was to scan the product and the app accessed data from the company's supply chain to show where ingredients for that product were sourced from.
  • Pay WithLovin':During 2015's Super Bowl, McDonald's ran an ad campaign wherein random customers were asked to pay for burgers using loving gestures and not cash on placing orders at certain times. For instance, one server asked a customer to pay using a big family hug gesture while another asked the customer to call mom and tell her that the person loves her. In addition, there were product giveaways offered to users via Twitter during the ad breaks of Super Bowl. As a result, the Super Bowl ad crossed 8 million views in just 4 days on YouTube.
  • Interactive Happy Meal Play Zones:Back in 2012, McDonald's in the UK rolled out Happy Meal Play Zones to enhance interaction with customers walking in the outlets. Aimed at making children at the restaurant more active, the system combined projection of images & characters on floors with infra-red technology and cameras for tracking movements. Though with time, such experiences have become common McDonald's was one of the early adopters of this innovative technique.

Thus, McDonald's has been using innovation from time to time to attract customers, gain brand value, and boost business results.


After the appointment of Easterbrook as CEO, the fast food titan managed to gain a surge of 65% in its share price that outperformed the 22% gain of the S&P 500 Index. A rise in comparable customer traffic and store sales enabled the brand to report a strong 3rd quarter in the same year. Two years down the line, McDonald'sexhibited a strong management style that prevented it from falling behind amidst the tensions of tightening competition.

Marketing & management strategies, if implemented the right way, go a long way in helping a business outsmart the competition as well as market scenarios. Here are a few examples of how Steve used effective leadership for survival in the changing industry landscape.

Appealing Deals:Easterbrook planned and launched deals that appealed to the mass audience without changing the company's nature. Some of the iconic deals that pushed the business off its limits are listed below:

  • An interesting one was to bring your own burger and $1 soda deal.
  • McPickTwo, another successful campaign, allowed customers to choose any 2 items on the menu for a price of $5.
  • The Signature Crafted sandwiches appeared more as reminiscent of street-side café rather than a fast food joint.

The deals worked and McDonald'sreported a 4.1% YoY growth on same-store sales in the US along while the global figure topped 6%.

Refranchising Businesses for Stability:In the 3rd quarter, Steve decided to re-franchise all the franchises in Hong Kong and China covering more than 4000 restaurants in a year of time. This added more stability in terms of income and revenue while increasing higher returns on the capital invested. Another benefit came in the form of lesser operating expenses and better predictability of rent and royalties.

Putting the Core Brand & Market Knowledge to Work:Working with McDonald's since 1993 excluding a short term serving as CEO of PizzaExpressand Wagamama, Easterbrook had gained a lot of information about the brand. Not only this, his work tenure with smaller firms taught him the benefits of implementing speed & agility. The only bottleneck with implementing such ideas at McDonald's was its larger size. Steve started implementing turnaround ideas for delivering a better customer experience after taking over as the CEO using blockbuster ideas like all-day breakfast.

In the end, well-planned and effectively executed strategies helped Steve push the brand to become one of the largest chains by revenue.


To conclude, things at McDonald's have been quite inspiring for the rest of the market.Deployment of innovation with strategies while considering culture and ethics enabled the brand to grow into a successful venture across its global market.


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