McDonald's have huge impacts on people's food preference since fast food became so popular and is familiar all over the world that people's food preferences are often set by their eating experience of the fast food in their childhood. For some people, fast-food tastes become the standards. On the other hand, more high-graded restaurants that serve unique local specialties with the local ingredients receive stars on the Michelin and other restaurant guides for gourmands and gain more popularity. There seem two different standards on food formed by globalized fast food and traditional local cuisines. Both globalized and local foods try to expand their territories and some even attempt to transform themselves into the other end, most of which seem to fail so far. Even though McDonaldization of food has greatly changed how and what we eat today and brought many advantages to us, it has also produced negative effects as well. Following argument shows how those two powers compete each other.
However, while maintaining the advantages of globalization, McDonald's has tried to localize itself to the regions. Other multinational competitors also practice their own localizations that seem totally opposite to that of McDonald's. Without giving up the good aspects of McDonaldization such as fast and convenient services, low prices, and safe and uniform quality of the products, McDonald's has developed a variety of menu items in order to localize a part of their globalized foods. McDonald's has added many kinds of local foods to its menu for years all around the world. For example, they have served McLaks (a grilled salmon sandwich with dill sauce) in Norway, McHuevos (a hamburger with a poached egg) and McQuesos (toasted cheese sandwiches) in Urguay, and McChicken Korma Naan and Lamb McSpoicy in England (Ritzer 183). Some of them have been still on the menu and were even sold in several countries. They were totally "localized" and included a part of the local food at the location.
Another example of a multinational food-enterprise that practices its own ways of localization is Starbucks. They try their best to convey the information of the coffee beans they use to the customers as much as possible through the brochures at the shops and on their website. They try to share more stories of the local coffee farmers and farms as much as possible with the customers to let them experience and feel more "locality" of the coffee when they drink it. On the other hand, they also offer "locally customized" coffee in some countries. For example, customers can enjoy "sakura late" at any Starbucks in Japan. Besides these attempts to be localized, there are many other characteristics at Starbucks that are totally opposite to the principles of McDonaldization. For example, Starbucks does not apply the franchising system which is what made the McDonald's a huge success (Schlosser 95). Compared to the reasonable and limited menu items of McDonald's, Starbucks sells high-quality products with relatively high prices. Unlike the totally manualized customer services at the counter and the hard, uncomfortable seats at McDonald's which intend to make the customers leave early, Starbucks expects the customers to stay as long as they want. It would like them to regard the shop as "a third place between home and work" or a kind of "communities" (Ritzer 219). According to the CEO Howard Schultz, all of these attempts are designed for the "human connection and humanity" (Ritzer 219), which sounds like what the Slow Food movement tries to regain from the inhumane McDonaldization. Furthermore, he insists that their business is good for the local town where they have their branch ("we don't change the economics of a town... we enhance downtown traffic for neighboring shops.") (Ritzer 222) Although Ritzer sees these characteristics as just another type of McDonaldization and calls it "Starbuckization" (Ritzer 218), these attempts to localize the company itself may seem good enough to solve some of the problems that McDonaldization causes or to ease the downsides of globalization to a certain degree. Overall, both examples suggest that there can be some ways to get out of the dichotomy of globalism and localism.
Ide). At the ceremony held at Rome's flagship McDonald's, the Italy's Minister of Agriculture Luca Zaila says "McItaly is the first completely traceable burger through which we can globalize our Italian identity." Can it be the slow fast food then? Carlo Petrini, a founder of the Slow Food movement and also the one who failed to stop McDonald's from opening its first restaurant in Italy in the previous year, commented on this news saying that globalizing a taste does not promote Italian cuisine but rather standardizes and homogenizes it (Ide). This argument shows that even if food is made with local ingredients, it cannot be called Slow Food or local food simply because the consumers cannot have any attachment to it. Besides the fact that it is made only with the ingredients in Italy, there is no characteristics that are related to any particular local identity in the country. In other words, it lost its overall locality by being isolated from its local contexts through its globalizing and homogenizing processes. This is what Ritzer calls "The Glocalization of Nothing" (Ritzer 179).
There are so many kinds of foods that are considered to be the products and services of multinational food corporations that one can hardly tell which is the one and which is not. To avoid being out of the business, local food shops and restaurants have to promote their locality and bring consumers to the location. The Slow Food movement and bed-and-breakfast are typical examples to resist being overwhelmed by the multinational forces. McDonald's and the other competitors such as Starbucks try their best to localize themselves in several ways, but their attempts do not seem to succeed. While localization by the multinationals does not seem to work well, standardization of locality may also contain the risk that leads to lose its local contexts and identity. Since many kinds of food has already been globalized and are available every where in the world today, it is difficult to distinguish the real local foods exactly from the rest of them. Even so, there are still some local cuisines that are only available at a certain location. As one of the best parts of a trip to a local area is to have the local specialties there, to preserve and promote local cuisines is desirable for both travelers and local food suppliers.