The history of McD's

Basic rules for operating a fast food restaurant

Fast Food Facts

Reasons McDonald's became so successful

McDonaldization explained

McDonaldization's Other Precursors

Advantages of McDonaldization

Ways to Cope with McDonaldization

McDonaldization In My Life - Today



McDonaldization explained

By the 1950's, the combination of technological advances in preserving and storing food, the growing ownership of automobiles and the development of vast new suburbs transformed both shopping and eating habits. Shopping plaza supermarkets overwhelmed grocery stores, putting many small, independent grocers out of business. Fast food was designed to lure families out of the home, by providing a meal at a price that everyone could afford. The reasons for going out to use one of the new businesses no longer relied on the quality of the service that was given, but the qualities that McDonaldization emphasized.

Characteristics to McDonaldization include:

Efficiency - choosing the optimum means to a given end. Efficiency is advantageous to consumers who can obtain what they need more quickly and with less effort. Workers can perform their tasks more rapidly and easily. Managers and owners gain because work gets done and because customers are served more efficiently. McDonaldization is efficient because everything is done quickly and easily.

Calculability - the ability to produce and obtain large amounts of things very rapidly. Customers in fast-food restaurants get a lot of food quickly, while the managers and owner get a great deal of work from their employees and the work is done speedily. The problem is the loss of quality. Quantification is also linked to the creation of non-human technologies that perform tasks in the given amount of time or make products of a given weight or size.

Control - McDonaldization involves the search for the means to exert increasing control over both employees and customers. The employees have McDonald universities and handbooks to tell them exactly how to look and what to say. The customer is told what to do by having to pick up their own food at the register and clean up after themselves.

Predictability - knowing exactly what you are going to get. Franchising plays on predictability to sell its products

FAMILIARITY - One of the best-established psychological principles is that if preference starts from a neutral point, mere familiarization can establish a liking, and eventually a strong preference, with rejection of the unfamiliar.


  • The consumer does not risk much loss of possible physical benefit in rejecting unfamiliar alternatives to the accepted familiar items.

  • All such items tend to be relatively standardized staples of consumption, purchased very frequently at relatively low prices, and thus tend to be something akin to commodities, which need not vary much from one seller to another.

  • The use motives tend to be utilitarian in nature. None of the items are likely to be important in satisfying either value-expressive or ego-defensive attitudes.

  • Reiter, Ritzer, and Wasson