The Project is a voluntary research of three students of Grammar School Botičská in Prague. It was presented at the national student competition (SOČ) in June 2002 and it won the second prize in the section of sociology. After the winning of the National student´s competition in Kadaň in June 2003 it was suggested to be sent to the EU Contest held in September in Hungary.
Nowaday´s chart of the Project:
The Project follows two main questions:
Why do people go to McDonald´s?
Why is the McDonald´s so successful?
The main problem we reckon is how the company is perceived by the society. We are afraid that the principles of fast food restaurants’ functioning is based are spreading to the other sectors of society. We consider it as mostly negative phenomenon but it is bringing something positive, too. The other problem is insufficiency of substitutes on Czech market, in other words incomplete competitive environment.
We are striving to reach the answers to two basic questions possessed by the project with the use of methods described below in “Research” chapter. We are dealing with McDonald’s in general, with the approach of society to the company and with the McDonaldization process itself. The two basic questions are the actual theme and we want to present the results of its exploration on EU Contest 2003. There is also another long-term level of the project - McDonaldization process investigation, information gathering and distribution, public debate on the subject etc.
The main method of the research is the public inquiry thus it is the sociological research. In the first part the respondents receive the questions that help us to group them according to age, sex, education, … Further they receive questions on their relationship to McDonald’s, e.g. product price, visit frequency, etc. As an addition we want to deduce the conclusions from the debate, which is slowly arising on our web site.
We assume that McDonald’s in Czech Republic is focusing its advertisement campaign to the young part of the society, which is easy to influence. We can say that the company is “educating” its future consumers from the early age. According to our private information McDonald’s is not interested in population over 40 years in its public polls. The stumbling block is that McDonald’s self-presentation is not a fast food restaurant, which we enter knowing we receive some food of acceptable quality, quickly served, and easy to consume even when walking or driving. They pretend to be pleasant locations, where we can spend some time in a pleasant atmosphere, enjoy a good quality meal and have a rest. It is supported with the high price of the product increasing the feeling of McDonald’s catering exclusivity. Based on the facts mentioned it is no surprise that among the children between 10 and 14 years to visit McDonald’s is a prestigious event. The children accept faulty eating habits, which may result into health problems in a long-term perspective (obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and similar problems).
It is one of the answers to the basic questions. The other one is the McDonaldization process that we will not examine here in detail (it is examined more in our other articles).
The main contribution of our work is the increase of public debate on this issue. Seems we are not aware enough where the current lifestyle is leading. McDonald’s is using advertisements and other means to teach the consumers to use „fastfood“ not as a place for quick refreshment when needed but as a usual restaurant to be visited several times a week. This trend is not supported by the offer and McDonald’s is supporting faulty eating habits, which may result (and in USA already did) into health problems at significant part of population. Without public debate on this subject nothing will change.
McDonald’s itself is not „good“ or „bad“, at least we do not declare anything like that. Just using its sales and advertising strategy it is creating wrong perception of its existence, which results into negative consequences, especially at the younger part of population in the Czech Republic. We do not consider this problem to be irrelevant and that is why we decided to analyze it.
As the only possible solution of the problem we see the increasing public debate, which will force McDonald’s, and similar companies to change their advertising strategy.
prof. Evžen Markalous
prof. Jiřina Točíková
prof. Eva Hájková
prof. Jan Čambal
prof. PhDr. Martin Potůček, CSc., MSc. prof. Houštěk, prof. Kvasničková, Ondřej Štička, p.prof. Ferjenčíková, p.Ferjenčík