McDonalds in the United Kingdom

McDonalds in the United Kingdom
Case Code: BSTR339
Case Length: 32 Pages
Period: 1974-2009
Pub Date: 2009
Teaching Note: Not Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: McDonald's Corporation
Industry: Fast food
Countries: UK
Themes: Entry, Expansion, Localization, Operational Strategy
McDonalds in the United Kingdom
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


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.

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.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives

  • 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



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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