The way that Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers does business and markets it’s product to consumers is due to the change in our society to where the consumer wants the biggest, fastest, and best product they can get for their money. This change in society can be attributed to a process known as McDonaldization. Although McDonaldization can be applied to many other parts of our society, this paper will focus on its impact on Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers.
My belief is that the process of McDonaldization, where the ideology of McDonald’s has come to dominate the world, has caused Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers to emulate McDonald’s style of running a franchised restaurant chain in terms of efficiency, calculability, and control. However, since McDonald’s has become the epitome of fast-food in our society, Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers has had to change their focus to giving the consumer a higher quality product in a relatively fast amount of time. So, Wendy’s still caters to a McDonaldized society in terms of giving them a meal as fast as possible but making quality their number one priority to give people a viable option from McDonald’s. In addition, I have used my girlfriend who manages at Wendy’s and observations I gathered while at McDonald’s as further information for this paper. First, before I discuss the impact of McDonaldization on Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, I will define what McDonaldization is.
McDonaldization is the process by which the principles of fast-food restaurants are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society, as well as, of the rest of the world. (Ritzer 1998,Page 1) George Ritzer created this concept of McDonaldization as a continuation of Max Weber’s theories on bureaucracies. Max Weber defines a bureaucracy as a large hierarchical organization that is governed by formal rules and regulations and has a clear specification of work tasks. Its three main characteristics are that it has a division of labour, hierarchy of authority, and an impartial and impersonal application of rules and policies. (Newman 1997, Page 271) Thus, from that definition of a bureaucracy, one would conclude that both McDonald’s and Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers are bureaucracies. The fact that both restaurants are bureaucracies is supported by the fact that each assigns workers to a specific job where each worker individually contributes to the overall success of the restaurant by doing his or her job.
For example, workers at each restaurant could be assigned to working the grill, making fries, working the front register, or taking orders at the drive-thru window. Both restaurants have a hierarchy of authority from worker, crew chief, shift manager, salary manager to owner of the store. Also, each restaurant enforces an impartial and impersonal application of rules and policies.
Both McDonald’s and Wendy’s have standard, impersonal greetings at the register and at the drive-thru window. The exception when this impersonal attitude towards the customer is changed is when a worker knows the customer outside the restaurant. In this case, the worker will probably ask their acquaintance how they are doing or what they are up to. The worker might even throw in an extra cheeseburger that a regular customer might not get.
Despite this exception where standardization is broken, both these restaurants have become bureaucracies because they are the most efficient means of managing large groups of people. That leaves one to wonder why the process of McDonaldization has been so successful for both companies. The first reason is that it offers efficiency where consumers know that it means the quickest way to get from one point to another. In the case of McDonald’s, it offers the best available way to get from being hungry to being full. This is so important in today’s society because so many people are in a rush to get from one place to another. Therefore, the quick, efficient setup of McDonald’s allows consumers to eat a fast-food meal without having to leave their car.
On the other hand, Wendy’s strives for as efficient service as possible without effecting the quality of their product. This is because McDonald’s already has imprinted on people’s minds throughout the many years of its existence that they will get the same burger each visit