McDonalds in the United Kingdom

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR339 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Shipping & Handling Charges extra


Entry / Expansion / Localization / Operational Strategy
Case Length : 32 Pages
Period : 1974-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : McDonald's Corporation
Industry : Fast food
Countries : UK


The case focuses on the strategies adopted by the world's leading fast food restaurant chain McDonald's Corporation in the UK. McDonald's entered the UK in 1974 with its first restaurant in Woolwich in south-east London. Since then, McDonald's had been expanding steadily in the UK by providing quality, service, and value to its customers. As of 2009, McDonald's managed about 1200 restaurants in the UK including 700 drive-through outlets. For McDonald's, the UK was one of the challenging markets but as of 2009, it was one of the most promising markets for the fast food chain. The case details the various strategies adopted by McDonald's in the UK including its operational, localization, promotional, and employee-related strategies.

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In 2003, McDonald's adopted the 'Plan to Win' strategy in the UK market in order to increase sales. As part of the 'Plan to Win' strategy, McDonald's offered variety and value, tastier food, and improved service to customers. To cater to the health-conscious customers in the UK, McDonald's introduced healthier options such as salads and provided nutritional information about its products on food packages. It regularly altered its menu to include new items. In order to attract British customers, McDonald's tried to localize some of the items on the menu. It offered a few versions of local food on its menus. For the health conscious English customers, items such as the Vegetable Deluxe burger were offered. In the desserts category, McDonald's UK offered as many as three kinds of donuts as these were popular with British customers.

The case concludes by identifying the challenges faced by McDonald's in the UK. McDonald's faced several challenges in the UK. One of the major problems was consumers' perceptions about McDonald's as a promoter of obesity. The chain drew criticism from consumers as its products were considered to be high in fat content and hence detrimental to health. Critics alleged that McDonald's promoted unhealthy food. The company also faced intense competition from other fast food outlets in UK which offered healthy food along with a trendy atmosphere.


Study and analyze the entry and expansion strategies of McDonald's in UK.

Evaluate McDonald's operational strategy in UK.

Study how McDonald's overcame some of the challenges faced by it in the UK and the reasons for its success.

Examine the further challenges that the fast food chain faced in UK.

Explore future strategies that McDonald's can adopt in UK.


  Page No.
Overcoming Challenges, Gaining Momentum 1
Background Note 2
Mcdonald's Enters UK 5
The Downhill Journey 6
The "Plan to Win" Strategy 8
Back to Basics 9
Operational Strategy 10
Localization 14
Promotional Strategies 16
Employees 17
Environmental Policies & Community Involvement 19
Results 20
Challenges 21
Outlook 22
Exhibits 24


Entry, Expansion, 'Plan to Win' strategy, Operational strategy, Ronald McDonald House Charities, economic recession, Pricing, Franchising, Localization, Promotional strategy, Employee value proposition, Cultural invasion, McLibel trial, Fast food restaurants, McDonald's

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