Case Study: Mcdonald's: Polishing the Golden Arches Devon Reitzes

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McDonald's: Polishing The Golden Arches

Devon Reitzes

Fall 2, 2006

Case Summary:

McDonald's corporation is one of the most successful organizations in world history. It has restaurants in almost every country on the globe and for the first time in 2004, its international revenue beat its domestic revenue. The overall growth of the company over the past century suggests that McDonald's more than its competitors have maintained a strong brand equity despite changing leadership, times and customer demands.

McDonald's corporation was started in 1940 by two siblings, the McDonald's, they originally started their store in San Bernardino, California and ran a successful drive through restaurant for more than ten years. Eventually under the leadership of Ray Kroc, of Des Plaines, Illinois, the company became one of the world's most successful franchises. It quickly spread throughout the United States and became the unquestioned leader of fast food. Throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s, McDonald's became an American icon and emblem, it was used to communicate a certain lifestyle as well as the American approach to good business. McDonald's currently has over 31,000 locations worldwide and is considered the largest world fast food chain by far. One of the most important and intriguing aspects of McDonald's history is its success within the global market. It was one of the first American franchises to take its good on the international market, and became an instant sensation, in many markets this good became synanamous with the American way of life.

In the following analysis, we will fully examine the case and understand the implicit values that come with it. Specifically we will analyze how the McDonald corporation has imprinted its vision and its mission statement to be emblematic of its continuing rise and conquest of the international marketplace.



In defining the term vision when it comes to business, it is important to realize what a vision is not. It is not a mission statement, it is not a projection, it is not a demand. A vision in business is simply a blueprint image of what the company hopes to achieve in the future. It is "a statement giving a broad, aspirational image of the future that an organization is aiming to achieve.." More than anything else, a vision defines the ultimate goals of the company and creates an understanding of its overarching deliverables both internally and externally.

When a hospital or bank or other company decides to build a new location, they have an artist produce a rendering of what that building is going to look like upon completion. In much the same way, a vision of a business is a "rendering" of what the company hopes to become as it grows and follows the plans laid in place.

There are several key essential components to a vision statement. These components are mission critical to the success of the overall company because it provides the principles and foundational approach that the company will pursue. A vision must first feature a compelling picture or image of what the company can become in the future. Second, the vision itself must be grounded within reality and is something feasible and attainable. Third, a vision is connected to and articulates deeper values and hopes for the future. Fourth, a vision needs to be translated into actions and plans that can be and are implemented effectively by the business. Finally, a vision must be put worth in a manner that is easily communicated and remembered, because a vision will easily die if it is not regularly communicated. These components creates the defining characteristics of a strong vision statement. They ineffect allows the vision to become an emblem of the corporation and how it wishes to function. Moreover, it becomes the defining characteristic of the organization and defines its future pathway.

The vision is used as a guideline for planners, financers and others to follow as they make plans for the future. Whether it is the growth, the decisions for products or services or the impact the company wants to have on the world, the vision provides an image from which the specific plans and needed steps can be drawn to make that vision become a reality. A vision allows everyone in the company to periodically take a look at the rendering and guide the current decisions on a path that will eventually become that rendering.


While McDonald's started out in the 1940s with a very simple mission of serving high quality food to customers that demand convenience and accessibility, over time their corporate vision has changed significantly. McDonald's vision, "is to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile. To achieve our vision, [McDonald's is focused on three worldwide strategies;

Be the best employer for its people in each community around the world,

Deliver operational excellence to its customers in each of its restaurants, and Achieve enduring profitability growth by expanding the brand and leveraging the strengths of the McDonald's system through innovation and technology."

McDonald's vision statement, although very long tries to be very concise in its specific definition. Its overarching principle is that it will be the best fast food restaurant in the world, however its vision specifies precisely how it plans to accomplish this lofty goal. Overall this vision is extremely well crafted because it embodies all of the characteristics of a very good vision statement. First, it provides an overall dream and goal that the organization is moving towards, this is the vision to become the best provider of fast food in the world. Second, it provides very concrete and grounded realities of how they can achieve this overall goal by specifying that they will focus on their employees, operational excellence, and brand equity on an international stage.

McDonald's overall vision is very successful for several reasons, it states a very concise and definitive goal that is well articulate and simple to understand. It provides deliverables that will achieve its vision and it is very emblematic of how the company functions as a whole. It is evident that McDonald's put a lot of thought into its overall vision and that it strongly believes in it.

Summary vision statement is sometimes confused with mission statement but the two are completely separate and stand alone designs. A vision statement provides an image of what the company hopes to become while not outlining any specifics about how that is going to happen. A vision is a loosely-based hope or goal of the overall picture that the company founders and workers have for its future. It provides a mental picture that can be related in similarity to the rendering that an artist provides for building a future bank or store location.

McDonald's has a vision of being the best provider in the world of quick meals. Its vision statement is clear and concise when it comes to the dining experience of its customers and it allows for enough flexibility that the company has been able to maintain the vision throughout history with many changes in attitude by the consumer with regard to healthy eating, trans-fat issues and other things that may have interfered with a less well crafted visions.

What I Learned that a vision statement provides a guideline by which all future statements and plans should be able to relate back to. It is important that the vision statement provide a broad-based idea about the future desires of the company while at the same time providing room to make changes that will still comply with the vision as a concept.

This means that it is important to reduce the vision statement to its most basic and free flowing components so that future team members will be able to formulate the needed steps based in their current economy and current society to maintain the original vision.

I believe that the vision statement is the defining characteristic of how a good company begins its transformation from good to great. In order to become successful as economies of scale takes place, a company must gear itself so that all the members of the team understand precisely what they are doing in order to accomplish their goal, this at times is extremely hard and it must be evidenced by everyone who is working within the institution. Therefore, a vision statement provides the groundworks for what employees should be doing on a daily basis to better the company and better themselves, this is at times an extremely difficult metric to accomplish.



The definition of a mission statement is that it builds on the vision statement. While the vision provides the overarching principles that companies are after, the mission statement defines the core purpose of the organization, or more simply why it exists. The mission statement goes beyond surface level goals of simply increasing shareholder wealth, and reflects the employees' motivations for engaging in the company's… [END OF PREVIEW]

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