American fast food chains have been spreading abroad at an immense rate; this situation has baffled many people. Notably, the main cause of this trend is the need of maximizing profits and staying relevant in the market. However, this leaves many questions unanswered. For instance, people interested in the market trends have focused on exploring the reasons behind the spread of these fast food chains in Europe and across the world. There are several reasons that may explain the trend. It should be noted that the situation is taking place at a time when myriad campaigns advocate for healthy eating habits and, as it is evident, fast food chains are usually associated with junk food. Fast food chains appeal to people of all age groups. Besides, they offer food, which is already ready, thus, it is preferred by many people, who currently seem to be so busy that they cannot find time to prepare healthy homemade dishes. However, it is essential to mention another factor, which has led to the spread of fast food chains; it is their location. Recent trends indicate that the owners of these outlets usually focus on busy areas where people can enjoy their favorite food. It has been also observed that the spread of fast food chains has a significant negative effect on children. This stems from the fact that children love fast food, especially burgers and French fries. Consumption of these types of food leads to obesity, as confirmed by various researches. The spread of fast food chains also presents a challenge related to raising and slaughtering of cattle as explicated below. This essay explores the spread of American fast food chains.
The past three decades have seen the expansion of fast food chains. This stems from the fact that the industry that began with a few modest hamburgers and hot dog stands in South California, but currently, it has spread across the United States. Currently, these outlets offer various foods wherever paying customers can be found. Due to the spread of fast food chains, fast food is now served in zoos, airports, drive-throughs, stadiums, elementary schools, trains, airplanes, universities and many other places. According to the statistics on the issue the Americans continue to spend more on fast food than on anything else. According to research, the amount of money spent by the Americans on fast food increases each year (Schlosser). For instance, the amount of money spent by the Americans on fast food in 2000 significantly differs from the amount spent in 1970. Thus, it is asserted that the Americans currently spend more on fast food than on anything else. It seems that people in the USA have become so accustomed to fast food that buying it is considered as a routine. The research indicates that the experience of buying fast food is currently described as mundane and thoroughly unexceptional (Schlosser). It is considered a social custom.
The research asserts that the fast food industry has become a revolutionary force in America (Daszkowski). A critical factor to be noted is what influences people`s choices in regard to food. Notably, technology, social and economic factors influence what people eat. There is even a quote stating that a nation’s diet is more revealing than its literature or art. This can be used to explain the spread of fast food chains in America. It is indicated that on any given day one-quarter of the adult American population visits a fast food restaurant. Another significant point to note is the fact that fast food chains have significantly transformed the American diet, economy, landscape, popular culture and the work force (Pearlman 78). However, it has been asserted that the impacts of fast food have become inescapable, regardless of whether a person consumes fast food twice a day, tries to avoid it or has never taken a single bite.
The fundamental changes in American society have contributed to the spread of fast food chains. For instance, according to a research, there has been a remarkable decline in the hourly wage of the average American worker (Daszkowski). Moreover, women entered the workforce in great numbers since the feminist perspectives of emancipation motivated them. Thus, this resulted to the fact that by 1975 about one-third of American mothers worked outside the home. Today, the number of such mothers is much higher as two-thirds of such women are employed. This trend has fueled the spread of fast food chains in America since the entry of women in the workforce led to the increased demand for services provided by housewives such as cooking, child care and cleaning (Smith 58). This has led to a significant shift in how people spend their money since almost three-quarters of family money is used to buy fast food.
The McDonald’s trend has also promoted the spread of fast food chains in America. Notably, it has become a powerful symbol of America’s service economy, as it provides 90 percent of America’s new jobs. The owner had a good strategy since the chain has experienced a significant development since 1968. The number of the company`s restaurants grew from 1000 to more than 20, 000. Besides, McDonald's opens more than 1500 new outlets each year. The company is also liked by people since it employs the highest number of people in the US. Besides, it has also promoted the development of the country`s agriculture since it is the largest purchaser of potatoes, pork and beef. It is also the second largest purchaser of chicken (Smith 74). The company has also invested significantly in property and it is indicated that most of its revenues originate from collecting rent. Additionally, the company has invested a lot in advertising and marketing, which can also be considered as a factor promoting the spread of fast food chains in America. Besides, the company also understands the secret of boosting its business because it has invested in playgrounds and distribution of toys to children. According to a research, McDonald`s has a significant impact on the Americans’ lifestyle (Schlosser).
The strategy of wiping out small businesses out of the market is another factor that has led to the spread of fast food chains in America. McDonald`s is still relevant in this context because the strategy of McDonaldization of America was adopted in the 1970s. It emerged as a giant corporation that homogenized influence on American life. The company promoted centralized purchasing decisions and advocated for standardized products. The company also focused on the obliteration of regional differences as it sought to expand its chain of restaurants throughout the country. Besides, franchising is another notable factor that has fueled the spread of fast food chains. The current trend reveals that America’s malls and streets have the same Taco Bells, Gaps, Pizza Huts and Starbucks amongst other eateries. It can be noticed that almost every facet of American life has been chained or franchised (Pearlman 68). These franchises have resulted to the spread of fast food chains across America. This is due to the fact that franchises offer uniform services or products, just like McDonald`s, for example. Notably, customers will be drawn to familiar brands in an attempt to avoid the unfamiliar. A brand name became important as it offers a feeling of reassurance that the product offered is the same everywhere. This strategy is employed by McDonald`s to facilitate its spread across America. The company`s managers believe in the fact that all workers or franchises should trust the organization and not vice-versa.
Capitalism also fueled the spread of fast food chains in America. One of the characteristics of America’s fast food industry is that a business dedicated to conformity was founded by iconoclasts and self-made men. Moreover, many people who built fast food empires did not attend college. In many respects, the industry embodies the best and the worst of American capitalism. The industry is experiencing innovations and new products appear. It also represents a widening gap between the poor and the rich. The fact that the industry has been industrialized has led to an increase of unskilled labor. This industry does not avail an opportunity for all the unskilled laborers to climb the corporate ladder since many of these workers lack full-time employment. Additionally, this unskilled workforce does not have control over their work, do not receive benefits and learn very few skills. It is also asserted that the industry does not pay its employees well as wages continually decrease (Smith 87).
Promotion is another factor that has led to the spread of fast food chains in America. The demand for hamburgers has been evident since the 1950s. However, current trends indicate increased demand for hamburgers. This is due to a promotion that a typical American consumer consumes almost four hamburgers and four orders of French fries every week. Moreover, there has been an increase in the number of advertisements depicting long golden fries and thick burgers; however, these advertisements fail to indicate where these foods come from or the ingredients they contain. The birth of the fast food industry coincided with Eisenhower-era of technology. The latter promoted such optimistic slogans as Better Living through Chemistry and Our Friend the Atom. According to research, the wizardry promoted by Walt Disney finally reached its fulfillment in kitchens (Daszkowski). This is evident from McDonald’s mode of operation as the company invests a lot in sleek machinery, automation, and electronics. The research has also revealed the fact that other leading food chains also indicate their faith in science (Schlosser). This has in turn transformed what the Americans eat and how the food is processed.
Another factor that has promoted the spread of fast food chains is the way the food is prepared. Notably, the fast food companies` recipes cannot be found in cookbooks or journals. Moreover, most fast food chains receive fast food frozen, dehydrated, canned or freeze-dried. Thus, these fast food chains have reformulated their food. The research asserts that what we eat has been significantly changed in the past decades (Daszkowski). It is further asserted that fast food chains have hidden remarkable technological advances behind an ordinary looking façade. This indicates that fast food chains have ensured secrecy of their menus in order to make people eat out; thus, it explains the increased number of fast food chains (Pearlman 95).
The spread of these fast food chains has several impacts. Firstly, it has been indicated that fast food stores led to population growth. This is evident in Colorado where there are many eateries, however, new fast food chains are still emerging there. Another effect is associated with agriculture. Fast food chains have changed the way cattle are raised, slaughtered and processed. According to the research, the industry was lucrative to workers in the past (Daszkowski). However, the situation has changed due to the increased number of unskilled workers, thus, leading to poor wages. Fast food chains have also promoted social problems, such as obesity and franchising.
In conclusion, the fast food chain industry has undergone significant changes in the past three decades. For instance, fast food chains represent the lifestyle of people living in America. This stems from the fact that most American adults visit a fast food outlet three times a week or more. The availability of cheap labor has also promoted the spread of fast food chains in America. A fast food chain such as McDonald`s employed a good business strategy that has facilitated its growth and development. Notably, the chain store is a household name in the US since it employs a huge number of the population. Besides, the fast food chain capitalized on monopolization through ensuring that it killed small businesses. Advertising also promoted the spread of fast food chains since people are lured to buy the products offered. However, the spread of fast food chains presents a challenge in the country. It has both negative and positive impacts. Besides the creation of jobs, it has changed the agricultural market. It has resulted to poor wages since the industry has been flooded with unskilled labor. It has also led to social problems such as obesity and the way people carry out businesses as evidenced by franchising. Population growth also leads to the spread of fast food chains.