golden arches east essay

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I have an essay on college research paper idea subject: Many people prefer to rent a house rather than buying one. Describe the advantages and disadvantages for renting. Nowadays many people prefer renting a house to buying one, because they think it is cheap and essays property rental don't have to spend several years, saving money to buy a house. I am sure that most people can afford to rent a house and after they move in the house thay needn't worry about furnishing, painting and repairing the free full dissertations, because it has already been done by the owners. However, most people don't realise that renting a house can cost as much as buying a new one. Moreover if there is a damage such as a cracked wall or flood they will be responsible for fixing the problem. If you add the loan and all kinds of expenses for one year you will get the total amount of money you spent on living in a rented house and you can see whether it is worth it or not.

Golden arches east essay estimate cover letter examples

Golden arches east essay

They took a taxi to McDonald's and, while crossing Tiananmen Square, they remembered how poor they had been in and realized how much China has changed in the interim. At first glance, this news story reads like the typical propaganda skit that one still finds in official Chinese media, with its constant play on "recalling the bitterness of old China and thinking of the sweetness of the new society" yiku sitian.

However, in this case it is McDonald's--a capitalist, transnational enterprise--that symbolizes the "sweetness" of current life. In common usage, tu means rustic, uncouth, and backward, whereas yang refers to anything foreign particularly Western , fashionable, and quite often, progressive. The juxtaposition of these common terms demonstrates how McDonald's and its foreign yang food have become synonymous with progressive changes that make life more enjoyable in contemporary China.

In the eyes of Beijing residents, McDonald's represents Americana and the promise of modernization. McDonald's highly efficient service and management, its spotless dining environment, and its fresh ingredients have been featured repeatedly by the Chinese media as exemplars of modernity.

McDonald's strict quality control, especially regarding potatoes, became a hot topic of discussion in many major newspapers, again with the emphasis on McDonald's scientific management as reflected in the company's unwavering standards.

According to one commentator who published a series of articles on McDonald's, the company's global success can be traced to its highly standardized procedures of food production, its scientific recipes, and its modern management techniques. As the title of his article "Seeing the World from McDonald's" suggests, each restaurant represents a microcosm of the transnational, so much so that, according to another article by the same author, many American youths prefer to work at McDonald's before they leave home to seek work elsewhere.

The experience of working at McDonald's, he continues, prepares American youth for any kind of job in a modern society. Other news items associate the success of transnational food chains with their atmosphere of equality and democracy. No matter who you are, according to one of these reports, you will be treated with warmth and friendliness in the fast food restaurants; hence many people patronize McDonald's to experience a moment of equality.

This argument may sound a bit odd to Western readers, but it makes sense in the context of Chinese culinary culture. When I asked my Beijing informants about the equality factor, they all pointed out that banquets in Chinese restaurants are highly competitive: people try to outdo one another by offering the most expensive dishes and alcoholic beverages. It is typical for the host at a banquet to worry that customers at neighboring tables might be enjoying better dishes, thus causing him or her to lose face.

To avoid such embarrassment, many people prefer to pay the extra fees necessary to rent a private room within a restaurant. Such competition does not exist at McDonald's, where the menu is limited, the food is standardized, and every customer receives a set of items that are more or less equal in quality.

There is no need to worry that one's food might be lower in status than a neighbor's. For people without a lot of money but who need to host a meal, McDonald's has become the best alternative. During the autumn of I conducted an ethnographic survey of consumer behavior in Beijing.

I discovered that the stories commonly told about McDonald's have taken on a surreal, even mythic tone. For instance, it is believed among a number of Beijing residents that the potato used by McDonald's is a cube-shaped variety. A year old woman working at McDonald's told me in all seriousness about McDonald's secret, cube-shaped potatoes, the key to the corporation's worldwide success. She was also fascinated by the foreign terms she had learned in the short time she had worked there, terms such as weisi waste , jishi cheese , and delaisu drive-through.

The first two are straight transliterations of the English terms, but the third is both a transliteration and a free translation: it means "to get it quickly. In this connection the ways Beijing McDonald's presents itself in public are also worth noting.

By the autumn of , McDonald's had not yet placed any advertisements on Beijing television. According to the General Manager, it was pointless to advertise McDonald's on television because Chinese commercials, unlike their counterparts in the West, appear only during the interval between programs. After watching one program, audiences tend to switch to another channel, which means that advertisements have little chance of being seen. Newspapers and popular magazines were regarded as a better way to present McDonald's public image.

In the Beijing region, McDonald's relied on Berson-Marsteller, a transnational public relations company, to deal with the Chinese news media. McDonald's local management has also made efforts to promote the corporation's image as an exemplar of modernity. For instance, a five-minute tour of the kitchen is provided upon request at each of the Beijing restaurants. I went on three such tours at different locations, and all were identical. My guides--McDonald's employees responsible for public relations--showed me all the machines, stoves, and other special equipment and explained how they work.

I was then shown the place where employees wash their hands following strict procedures and the wastebins that contained food that was no longer fresh enough to meet the McDonald's standards. Throughout the five-minute tour, one message was emphasized repeatedly: McDonald's foods are cooked in accordance with strict scientific methods and are guaranteed fresh and pure.

In addition to the freshness and purity of its food, McDonald's management also emphasizes its nutritional value. In a published interview, a high-level manager maintains that the recipes for McDonald's foods are designed to meet modern scientific specifications and thus differ from the recipes for Chinese foods, which are based on cultural expectations. A central feature of this "scientifically designed" food is that it includes the main nutritional elements a human being needs daily: water, starch, protein, sugar, vitamins, and fat.

Thus when one spends 10 to 15 yuan to have a standardized meal at McDonald's, one is guaranteed enough nutrition for half a day. The idea that McDonald's provides healthy food based on nutritional ingredients and scientific cooking methods has been widely accepted by both the Chinese media and the general public. In Japan, too, until the mids, McDonald's food was believed to be nutritious and healthy; it is only in recent years that the Japanese public has begun to worry about the negative effects of fast food.

Given the general eagerness for modernization, shared by both the government and ordinary people, and, in the realm of consumption, the growing appetite for all things foreign, or Western yang , McDonald's has benefited greatly from the cultural symbolism it carries. Bolstering the "genuineness" of its food, the Beijing restaurant keeps its menu identical to that of its American counterpart. By the sale of Big Mac hamburgers accounted for 20 percent of local McDonald's sales, a figure higher than the comparable one for Taiwan.

This figure has been interpreted by McDonald's management as an indicator that Beijing customers have no problem accepting American-style cuisine. But what is it that the Beijing customers have accepted--the hamburgers or the ambience? My ethnographic inquiry reveals that whereas children are great fans of the Big Mac and french fries, most adult customers appear to be attracted to McDonald's by its American "style" rather than its food.

Many people commented to me that the food was not really delicious and that the flavor of cheese was too strange to taste good. The most common complaint from adult customers was chi bu bao, meaning that McDonald's hamburgers and fries did not make one feel full; they are more like snacks than meals.

I conducted a survey among students at a major university in Beijing and collected 97 completed questionnaires. Table 1 shows the informants' response to two questions: 1 Is McDonald's food a formal meal or a snack? Only one-fourth of my informants regarded McDonald's food as a formal meal, and most of these respondents were women students 18 out of Accordingly, 24 of the 29 men students 83 percent perceived McDonald's food as snacks xiaochi.

Regarding the sensation of fullness, 54 informants 56 percent did not feel they had had a "satisfying" meal at McDonald's, and, not surprisingly, this sentiment appeared most commonly among young men of the 29 male students 79 percent --while fewer than half the women respondents found McDonald's food unsatisfying. Those who treated McDonald's food as a formal meal were more likely to feel full: only 3 of 23 such informants complained of chi bu bao not feeling full.

One implication of the findings is that the perception of McDonald's as a provider of meals or of snacks is largely determined by the capacity of the food to make one feel full. It seems that women are more likely to feel full, and hence a larger proportion of women are ready to accept McDonald's food as a formal meal. As a Beijing worker commented, at best a hamburger is the equivalent of xianbing, a type of Chinese pancake with meat inside, which no one would treat as a daily meal. In Chinese terms, foods like xianbing are classified as "small eats" xiaocbi , a term close to "snack.

No doubt this is why 75 percent of my informants classified McDonald's foods as snacks, and 55 percent of them did not feel full after eating at McDonald's restaurants. It seems ironic that although people have reservations about the food at McDonald's, they are still keen on going there. Most informants said that they liked the atmosphere of the restaurant, the style of eating, and the experience of being there. In other words, the attraction of McDonald's is that it offers, not filling food, but a fulfilling experience.

Or, as a local writer says, it is the culture of fast food that draws Beijing consumers to these restaurants. Most customers spent hours talking to each other and gazing out the huge glass window that overlooks a busy commercial street--thereby demonstrating their sophistication to the people who passed by. Some local observers have argued that the appeal of Chinese cuisine is the taste of the food itself, and that, by contrast, Western food relies on its presentation.

The popularity of imported fast food is thus taken as a demonstration that consumers are interested in the spectacle, the show, that this new form of eating permits. Prior to McDonald's opening in Beijing, the company's name was already popular among trendy consumers and it was only natural that, when the first restaurant was opened in Beijing in April , thousands lined up for hours in order to partake of the experience, along with the new cuisine offered by this famous restaurant.

By the end of , although more foreign restaurants such as the Hard Rock Cafe and Pizza Hut had opened, McDonald's remained a fashionable, popular restaurant. The book goes into all of this in depth. The strongest essays were Taipei and Japan, as they included the most ethnographic content and less sweeping business lore. While Golden Arches East is a collection of essays on a similar topic, many of the essays came to the same conclusions, and it felt repetitive.

Finally, as Watson first published this series in '96 before McDonald's PR went down the drain, the Update written in '05 was necessary to situate this book in its own context. It was a solid, swift read, though I still wish it had included more ethnography.

I love a good narrative. View 2 comments. Jul 28, Gabriel rated it it was amazing. A book that at once challenges traditional assumptions about globalization and perceived "American Cultural Imperialism" while enlightening the reader on many surprising differences between Western and Eastern culture, most of which you have probably never even considered. This book will be eyeopening for business and anthropology majors alike.

Apr 19, Lee rated it it was ok. I read the chapter on McDonalds in Beijing and the chapter on McDonalds in Taipei, and I was surprised by how unsophisticated both these analyses were. Both chapters that I read seemed to spend most of their chapters talking about how much locals imbued McDonalds with a symbolic foreignness, and then, they would, at the end of the chapter, turn around and say, "Well, I guess McDonalds in this Asian city is really very localized.

That said, I liked a lot of what I read in these chapters. I thought that the information that they collected was fascinating. It is just that, the chapters largely lacked structure, possibly because you had these two motives pulling in different directions, one the evidence the authors had collected and the other, the predetermined conclusion that the editor had set out. I was disappointed on all four points. The copyright is for , and nothing in the introduction dates it.

What I didn't realize was that the five chapters that principally made up this book were originally published in often based on work done in , and the only updating involved was a brief concluding chapter that summarizes how McDonalds has been regarded in the news and in policy around the world since and until It looks like cultural imperialism is made to be synonymous with a strong form of globalism in which all social and personal activity is comprehensible to everyone, everywhere, on the globe.

This is clearly a straw-man argument, and I know of no respected authors who advocate that cultural homogenization, cultural imperialism, or globalism take this form. Still, I could have worked with the straw man argument had Watson at least presented a clear thesis with it. Unfortunately that never surfaced. I'm convinced; I was sold when I picked the book up. I also wonder what chains and production-line food service is doing to local food industries, particularly in Asia.

I shuddered when the chapter on Beijing drew conclusions about male McDonalds customers from a survey sample of 29 male college students. Not interviews Similarly, there were common references throughout to what the "American" consumer desired and valued, but for the bulk of the book, there was no evidence for where these ideas of the American consumer came from. A bit of evidentiary support came in the final substantive chapter. There the author compares Korean patrons versus that of American patrons.

The data for the Korean patrons comes from and is drawn from "field observations at two separate McDonald's restaurants in Seoul. That's not enough to support the conclusions he wants to draw. But, here is the worst part, the American study he is comparing to was from a single New Jersey Burger King. Not a national survey, not an in-depth study of a single restaurant, not even a McDonalds! And worst of all, it was 16 years previous. We're not even comparing the same generation of children now.

These aren't isolated or atypical examples, the chapters were full of overly broad generalizations, anecdotal reports, and half-hearted analysis. This read like the editor had a neat idea and recruited some other respected authors in the field to help him to put it together.

But no one took it seriously or made it a major part of their workload. As experts, each with over 25 years of field experience, they mostly drew upon their past experiences and beliefs, and each submitted a chapter that would have been better consolidated and presented as an op-ed to a major newspaper 20 years ago. It was a lazy work. There are some interesting descriptions though, and I think that each contributor has good insights and some remarkable observations.

This, however, was dated when it was published, and the "second edition" is a perfect example of making some superficial changes and essentially re-releasing the same book. I would have liked to have read the book that actually looked like what the introduction suggested. And I would have liked to have read a second edition that actually went back and reconsidered the case studies with new fieldwork. Quite absorbing. The authors explore why this brand is such a phenomenon, how it has always been, still is, always will be involved throughout the world politically, socially, economically.

It is a symbol here, but the symbolism it has in the Asian countries is different, with almost an otherworldly feel to it. Individuals have admitted to dining there for what they call "the experience". Against cultural, religious, personal, social beliefs.

The book involves ethnographic studies, sociology, an Quite absorbing. The book involves ethnographic studies, sociology, anthropological views, etcetera. An extensive view of the company, but quite an engaging panoply. One thing is evident. A century from now, no matter how shamefully we may look at this company here, they will be around Watson et al produce an argument defending McDonald's and globalization.

The authors research their topics by interviewing restaurant managers, workers, and executives as well as consumers of McDonald's in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, Tepei, and Tokyo. They find that due to a massive effort to localize McDonald's, it is difficult to accuse McDonald's as a company supporting cultural imperialism.

The only downside to this book is that it is somewhat out of date. Most of the research was done in the Watson et al produce an argument defending McDonald's and globalization. Most of the research was done in the mid s, prior to a rejection of McDonald's worldwide due to its marketing practices and health effects.

Dec 26, Graham Barrett rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , school. One of my favorite books I read for class in college Watson was actually a guest teacher at my college for a semester. It just was one of those weird topics you'd never think about but when you learn more about it, it's a fascinating subject. I definitely encourage others even foodies who detest fast-food chains like McDonald's to check it out if they want to learn more about America's exports to foreign cultures, how those cultures respond, and what local culinary and social customs get bro One of my favorite books I read for class in college Watson was actually a guest teacher at my college for a semester.

I definitely encourage others even foodies who detest fast-food chains like McDonald's to check it out if they want to learn more about America's exports to foreign cultures, how those cultures respond, and what local culinary and social customs get brought into the mix. Cool anthropological study. It was surprising to read of some of the differences in the perception of McDonald's in Asia both symbolically and regarding dietary norms. McDonald's really capitalized on the post-Confucian family shift in Asia.

An update at the end book was published in 97 and research was done in 94 made an interesting point about Cina, Korea, and Japan also having problems with aging populations that will be interesting to observe heading into the future. Personally, I loved this book, and it is one I will read and reference many times in the future. This book uses McDonald's to illustrate the point about globalism and the creating on one multi- and trans-national culture.

The world is shrinking, and this book gives us prime examples of how and to what extent. Apr 06, Lena rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. This book offers great insight into organizational anthropology of McDonald's and how the company tried to fit in with the Asian market. It is quite dated uses data from but it is still relevant.

It would be great to see a follow up study on this topic. The Japan part was particularly interesting. Using MacDonalds as the the globalizing entity, Watson and co. It's an amazing cultural study that, at least to this reader, shows that globalization doesn't export a standard, rigid cultural product, but that products goes through a series of altering and readjusting to suit the specific area.

Dec 16, Heather Lippe rated it it was ok Shelves: completed. This book was required to read for a international business course. It was another easy read about how McDonald's moved into East Asia. It was interesting, but not something I would read over and over again. Surprisingly interesting. Though simple and commonplace in the U.

Jan 02, Becca rated it liked it Recommended to Becca by: Anya. Shelves: social-science , non-fiction , textbooks. An interesting exploration of the effects McDonald's has had in various East Asian countries. Otherwise, an interesting ethnography. Sep 18, Nina rated it liked it. Really informative, especially in trying to understand different forms of American influence on East Asia.

Sep 05, Randi added it Shelves: for-the-mind. I read this for my Intro to Anthropology class, it was so fascinating! Also made it possible for me to carry on intelligent conversations with people who'd been there Watson Read most of it. A very interesting reflection of American business strategy's influence on the rest of the poor saps with whom we share this world.

Interesting collection of essays on the cultural impact of McDonald's in a number of Asian countries. Jun 20, Laura added it Shelves: anthropological , non-fiction , read-forever-ago , political-philosophical , somehow-usc-related , talk-nerdy-to-me.

EASC Fall Jun 07, Rui Ma rated it liked it. A little bit outdated but generally right. A interesting look at how McDonalds has become a global phenomenon. It talks about how the restaurant has tried to stay the same while also trying to fit into each culture. Aug 06, Kiki Seong rated it really liked it Shelves: anthropology.

QUESTBRIDGE BIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY

Three places that he mentioned in his writing were Beijing, Seoul and Japan. They all share similarities in the way the culture was impacted positively and negatively…. Finally the three Magi and the crowd arrive in the foreground, presenting Christ gifts in devotion and adoration.

Important figures are glorified in golden halos to emphasize their Holy statuses, which helps clarify identities to make the narrative easier to interpret. The narrative is made further more believable when…. The Abbasids were widely accepted when they came to power and wasted no time rebuilding the empire. With the help of wonderful resources and the adoption of ideas from earlier empires, the Abbasid Caliphate blossomed into a prominent golden age.

A golden age is a time in which a dynasty makes advancements in multiple fields…. Across the globe, efforts are under way to slow the march of obesity. In the United States, roughly 30 percent of American children are overweight or obese. According to the U. Centers for Disease Control and…. Ray Kroc, a Multimixer milkshake machine salesman. Ray Kroc seized the opportunity to become a part of this great franchised organization.

The Golden Arches began to spread rapidly across the United State. The Arch provides one of the few contemporary depictions of Temple period artifacts. It became a symbol of the Jewish diaspora. In a later era, Pope Paul IV made it the place of a yearly oath of submission. Jews refuse to walk under it. Today, it is the leading global food service retailer with 34, local restaurants serving nearly 69 million people in countries. There are 3 very important….

Bedouins, or nomadic herders, adapted to the conditions of the desert. They regularly traded with people from oasis towns like Mecca. Mecca is located in Western Arabia. Mecca was a thriving pilgrimage and economic center. It was a market town at the crossroads of two routes, one that linked S. Rather, the reflection was extremely vivid and could be compared with the experiences that a person receives while attending a very refined and respectable restaurant.

Being overwhelmed with the food experiences, many people visiting fast food in Hong Kong have become dependent from the American-style consumerist patterns, which are not associated with taste preferences only, but with the cultural and symbolic meanings that this food has for the Chinese. At the same time, the scholar insists that globalist trends of food consumption do not have a tangible impact on local cultures.

It is impossible to distinguish between local and national cultures because transitional processes have become part of the Chinese culture. The Chinese culture has outlined further trends in commercialism and consumption. Moreover, Chinese dietary habits have been shifts to a new pattern of life in the country. Although GAE was associated with new behaviors and consumerist culture, the main reason for cross-cultural transformation was management.

Specifically, Chinese managers do not consider fast food as the invention of the Americans. Most of meals have acquired Chinese colloquial names; Chinese youth has used referring to American snacks as to common lunch activities in Hong Kong. Due to different culturally predetermined perceptions, Chinese have identified GAE concepts with their traditional outlooks on meals and snacks.

Despite differences in food preferences, McDonalds did introduce slight changes to dietary habits in Hong Kong. For instance, by recounting the story of Mr. Ng, the owner of the Hong Kong fast food chain, the author successfully explains the consequences of cross-cultural interaction, as well as how Americanized meals have integrated into an ordinary life of individuals. Though the Chinese managers have borrowed the ideas from Western fast food industry, the cultural patterns of local consumers have remained unchanged.

To underline the differences in cultural and social perceptions of fast food industry, the author refers to a cross-cultural analysis of custom, traditions, and trend in serving people. For example, the chapter explores the differences in perceiving hospitality, which is reflected differently in Chinese society. In such a manner, the author places an emphasis on the importance of correlating food choice and national identity.

In this respect, food consumption culture is not associated with the concepts pursued with GAE, but with the unique patterns these concepts shape within a particular society. The chapters dedicated to the analysis of food habits in China and Korea has put forward the significance of social messages that food industry expansion introduces.

Although many explanation shave been provided for trends in globalization and transnationalism, as well as for their impact on the development of American patterns of consumption in East Asia, the author fails to introduce generalized and logical conclusion from the proposed references to other researches and personal observations. Despite the lack of transparency and accuracy of exposition on the investigated topic, the reader will definitely understand the features and characteristics of GAE.

While using persuasive evidence, the author provides an account on various Asian societies assimilating global trends in consumption and fast food industry. In addition, the chapters provide strong parallels between the Western and Eastern food cultures, as well as their obvious differences, that are not lied in menus, but in the social and cultural messages that they deliver.

Through use of different names, Asians convert definitions and concepts accepted in American culture and use their own associations. For instance, Koreans cannot consider Hamburger as a snack, but as a meal. Thus, confronting different culture, fast food industries faces serious cultural and ethnic challenges.

While reviewing the habits, behaviors, and attitudes of Asian societies to fast food centers, the author has made interesting assumptions. In particular, Watson notes that fast food restaurants are regarded as leisure centers, particularly for youth who visit these places for communicating and interacting.

In this respect, the chapters provide examples of visiting fast food centre for celebrating various events and organizing various meetings. The priority, therefore, is not given to the menu anymore. Regardless of the homogenous trends of the globalization process, the author skillfully manages to introduce anthropological theories to examine exotic peoples and practices and shed light on the peculiarities of behavior with regard to the consumerist trends.

Addressing such East Asian cities as Hong Kong and Seoul, the author highlights possible biases and preferences influencing the system of global production. The localization process is explained by different experiences that consumers face.

In particular, the author provides examples of consumers treating the Big Mac as a symbol of American imperialism. At the same time, growing numbers of Korean children celebrate various events at fast food centers.

In addition, Watson stresses that the localization process bears one-way character because the corporation also needs to adjust to new environments to achieve profitability. The contributors, therefore, have paid closer attention to the outcomes of these activities for education, socialization, and family organization.

What is more important is that the chapters conclude that there is no connection between fast food boom and development of child-centered consumer culture in Asian region. Provided the process of modernization is associated with global development, the author sufficiently covers the complexities and challenges of modern trends in consumption. Because fast food chains reflect the globalization process, it has also become a modern industrial power and focus of modern business activities.

In addition, the author accentuates that the integration of GAE also triggered the development of modern habits and skills among youth.

A GOOD SAMPLE OF A RESEARCH PAPER

Across the globe, efforts are under way to slow the march of obesity. In the United States, roughly 30 percent of American children are overweight or obese. According to the U. Centers for Disease Control and…. Ray Kroc, a Multimixer milkshake machine salesman. Ray Kroc seized the opportunity to become a part of this great franchised organization. The Golden Arches began to spread rapidly across the United State. The Arch provides one of the few contemporary depictions of Temple period artifacts.

It became a symbol of the Jewish diaspora. In a later era, Pope Paul IV made it the place of a yearly oath of submission. Jews refuse to walk under it. Today, it is the leading global food service retailer with 34, local restaurants serving nearly 69 million people in countries. There are 3 very important…. Bedouins, or nomadic herders, adapted to the conditions of the desert. They regularly traded with people from oasis towns like Mecca. Mecca is located in Western Arabia.

Mecca was a thriving pilgrimage and economic center. It was a market town at the crossroads of two routes, one that linked S. Arabia to India and to Syria and Palestine on the Med. Coast, and the…. Many people are not even aware they are looking something higher that will fulfill their being.

Some people made it sooner and some of them later. Whatever the circumstances…. Login Join. Essay on Golden Arches East Words: Open Document. Such competition does not exist at McDonald's, where the menu is limited, the food is standardized, and every customer receives a set of items that are more or less equal in quality. There is no need to worry that one's food might be lower in status than a neighbor's. For people without a lot of money but who need to host a meal, McDonald's has become the best alternative.

During the autumn of I conducted an ethnographic survey of consumer behavior in Beijing. I discovered that the stories commonly told about McDonald's have taken on a surreal, even mythic tone. For instance, it is believed among a number of Beijing residents that the potato used by McDonald's is a cube-shaped variety.

A year old woman working at McDonald's told me in all seriousness about McDonald's secret, cube-shaped potatoes, the key to the corporation's worldwide success. She was also fascinated by the foreign terms she had learned in the short time she had worked there, terms such as weisi waste , jishi cheese , and delaisu drive-through.

The first two are straight transliterations of the English terms, but the third is both a transliteration and a free translation: it means "to get it quickly. In this connection the ways Beijing McDonald's presents itself in public are also worth noting.

By the autumn of , McDonald's had not yet placed any advertisements on Beijing television. According to the General Manager, it was pointless to advertise McDonald's on television because Chinese commercials, unlike their counterparts in the West, appear only during the interval between programs.

After watching one program, audiences tend to switch to another channel, which means that advertisements have little chance of being seen. Newspapers and popular magazines were regarded as a better way to present McDonald's public image. In the Beijing region, McDonald's relied on Berson-Marsteller, a transnational public relations company, to deal with the Chinese news media.

McDonald's local management has also made efforts to promote the corporation's image as an exemplar of modernity. For instance, a five-minute tour of the kitchen is provided upon request at each of the Beijing restaurants. I went on three such tours at different locations, and all were identical. My guides--McDonald's employees responsible for public relations--showed me all the machines, stoves, and other special equipment and explained how they work.

I was then shown the place where employees wash their hands following strict procedures and the wastebins that contained food that was no longer fresh enough to meet the McDonald's standards. Throughout the five-minute tour, one message was emphasized repeatedly: McDonald's foods are cooked in accordance with strict scientific methods and are guaranteed fresh and pure.

In addition to the freshness and purity of its food, McDonald's management also emphasizes its nutritional value. In a published interview, a high-level manager maintains that the recipes for McDonald's foods are designed to meet modern scientific specifications and thus differ from the recipes for Chinese foods, which are based on cultural expectations. A central feature of this "scientifically designed" food is that it includes the main nutritional elements a human being needs daily: water, starch, protein, sugar, vitamins, and fat.

Thus when one spends 10 to 15 yuan to have a standardized meal at McDonald's, one is guaranteed enough nutrition for half a day. The idea that McDonald's provides healthy food based on nutritional ingredients and scientific cooking methods has been widely accepted by both the Chinese media and the general public.

In Japan, too, until the mids, McDonald's food was believed to be nutritious and healthy; it is only in recent years that the Japanese public has begun to worry about the negative effects of fast food. Given the general eagerness for modernization, shared by both the government and ordinary people, and, in the realm of consumption, the growing appetite for all things foreign, or Western yang , McDonald's has benefited greatly from the cultural symbolism it carries.

Bolstering the "genuineness" of its food, the Beijing restaurant keeps its menu identical to that of its American counterpart. By the sale of Big Mac hamburgers accounted for 20 percent of local McDonald's sales, a figure higher than the comparable one for Taiwan. This figure has been interpreted by McDonald's management as an indicator that Beijing customers have no problem accepting American-style cuisine.

But what is it that the Beijing customers have accepted--the hamburgers or the ambience? My ethnographic inquiry reveals that whereas children are great fans of the Big Mac and french fries, most adult customers appear to be attracted to McDonald's by its American "style" rather than its food.

Many people commented to me that the food was not really delicious and that the flavor of cheese was too strange to taste good. The most common complaint from adult customers was chi bu bao, meaning that McDonald's hamburgers and fries did not make one feel full; they are more like snacks than meals. I conducted a survey among students at a major university in Beijing and collected 97 completed questionnaires. Table 1 shows the informants' response to two questions: 1 Is McDonald's food a formal meal or a snack?

Only one-fourth of my informants regarded McDonald's food as a formal meal, and most of these respondents were women students 18 out of Accordingly, 24 of the 29 men students 83 percent perceived McDonald's food as snacks xiaochi. Regarding the sensation of fullness, 54 informants 56 percent did not feel they had had a "satisfying" meal at McDonald's, and, not surprisingly, this sentiment appeared most commonly among young men of the 29 male students 79 percent --while fewer than half the women respondents found McDonald's food unsatisfying.

Those who treated McDonald's food as a formal meal were more likely to feel full: only 3 of 23 such informants complained of chi bu bao not feeling full. One implication of the findings is that the perception of McDonald's as a provider of meals or of snacks is largely determined by the capacity of the food to make one feel full. It seems that women are more likely to feel full, and hence a larger proportion of women are ready to accept McDonald's food as a formal meal. As a Beijing worker commented, at best a hamburger is the equivalent of xianbing, a type of Chinese pancake with meat inside, which no one would treat as a daily meal.

In Chinese terms, foods like xianbing are classified as "small eats" xiaocbi , a term close to "snack. No doubt this is why 75 percent of my informants classified McDonald's foods as snacks, and 55 percent of them did not feel full after eating at McDonald's restaurants.

It seems ironic that although people have reservations about the food at McDonald's, they are still keen on going there. Most informants said that they liked the atmosphere of the restaurant, the style of eating, and the experience of being there. In other words, the attraction of McDonald's is that it offers, not filling food, but a fulfilling experience. Or, as a local writer says, it is the culture of fast food that draws Beijing consumers to these restaurants.

Most customers spent hours talking to each other and gazing out the huge glass window that overlooks a busy commercial street--thereby demonstrating their sophistication to the people who passed by. Some local observers have argued that the appeal of Chinese cuisine is the taste of the food itself, and that, by contrast, Western food relies on its presentation. The popularity of imported fast food is thus taken as a demonstration that consumers are interested in the spectacle, the show, that this new form of eating permits.

Prior to McDonald's opening in Beijing, the company's name was already popular among trendy consumers and it was only natural that, when the first restaurant was opened in Beijing in April , thousands lined up for hours in order to partake of the experience, along with the new cuisine offered by this famous restaurant. By the end of , although more foreign restaurants such as the Hard Rock Cafe and Pizza Hut had opened, McDonald's remained a fashionable, popular restaurant.

Eating at McDonald's had become a meaningful social event for Beijing residents, though to be sure, different people came to the restaurant for different reasons. Many people, especially those constrained by their moderate income, visited McDonald's restaurants only once or twice, primarily to satisfy their curiosity about American food and culinary culture.

A considerable proportion of customers were tourists from outlying provinces who had only heard about McDonald's or seen its Golden Arches in the movies. Tasting American food has recently become an important aspect of Chinese tourism in Beijing, and those who achieve this goal boast about it to their relatives and friends back home. There are also local customers, however, who frequent McDonald's regularly. Based on my observations and interviews, frequent customers fall into three groups: yuppies, young couples, and children accompanied by their parents.

Despite differences in social background, all except for the children mentioned McDonald's eating environment and good service as the primary reason they came, and most, if not all, of my informants emphasized that eating at McDonald's was a significant culinary and cultural experience. For younger Beijing residents who have higher incomes and wish to be "connected" more closely to the outside world, eating at McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or Pizza Hut has become an integral part of their new lifestyle, a way for them to participate in the transnational cultural system.

As one informant commented: "The Big Mac doesn't taste great; but the experience of eating in this place makes me feel good. He ordered two Big Macs, one chicken sandwich, one Filet-o-Fish, one large Coke, and an ice cream sundae--all for himself. When I asked how much he spent on fast food, he said he didn't know and didn't care: "I think I am better off than my friends who went to study abroad.

Staying in my hometown, I can enjoy all such foreign goods as long as I make money. You see, today I have to attend a formal banquet for a business lunch and I will only drink when I get there. Unlike those tu [rustic] guys, I prefer eating at McDonald's to a noisy Chinese restaurant.

Throughout my fieldwork I talked with more than a dozen yuppies like this young man, all of whom were proud of their newly attained habit of eating foreign fast food. Although some emphasized that they just wanted to save time, none finished their meals within 20 minutes.

Like other customers, these young professionals arrive in small groups or come with girl- or boyfriends and enjoy themselves in the restaurant for an hour or more.

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