The Bulletin

How McDonald's has weathered global recession

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McDonald's caters its menu to local tastes

The 2008 financial meltdown triggered a global recession - from the streets of Manhattan to villages in Africa. McDonalds Corporation has managed to remain on top of the business cycle with some clever product localization despite experiencing a sales lull this past quarter.

Foreign policy is running a slideshow of some of the international culinary abominations from under the golden arches, and some look downright delicious! There's a spicy vegetarian wrap sold in India, a fried shrimp concoction that's popular in Japan, a kofte burger in Turkey, a cumin flavored flatbread beef sandwich in Morocco, extremely edible looking croque-monsieur in France, croquet sandwich in the Netherland, and even chocolate orange pies. A voice in the back of my mind is screaming, "insulin resistance!"

Cheap, fast food will never replace local cuisine, but McDonalds has proven that it can titillate the world's taste buds with variations on local street foods - often through trial and error. McDonalds has had some failures and many lessons in culturally appropriate marketing. It has, however, continued to innovative its menu.

Its willingness to recognize global trends is quite literally paying dividends. McDonald's 2011 annual report read: "Our success continues to be truly global, with all areas of the world contributing. Some highlights include the U.S. adding more than 350 million customer visits in 2011, Europe continuing to grow and now generation about 40% of overall revenue, and Asia/Pacific, Middle East, and Africa doubling its income contribution to our business over the past six years."

"Such balanced growth highlights our deepening connection with customers everywhere, as well as the underlying strength of our business in today's ever increasing global economy."

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— By on October 19, 2012, 11:27 AM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure