Thursday, April 24, 2008

What's good about McDonalds

Everyone loves to pick on McDonalds, but a paper by Adrian Tschoegl from the Wharton School of U-Penn shows how dramatically the hygiene standards improve in a country's other restaurants, thanks to the forces of competition when customers see McDonalds obsession with cleanliness.

I like this disclaimer the author makes at the beginning of his paper:

The author came to the US in 1960 and ate his first McDonald’s hamburger in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1961, at a time when the signs said, “Over 125 million served.” He has happily eaten at McDonald’s several times a year ever since, but unfortunately never bought its shares. He has not
consulted for McDonald’s or any other fast food company, and does not expect to in the future, though he would not be averse to doing so, having recently renovated the kitchen in his house. The author would also like to thank participants at seminars at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Melbourne for their comments and criticisms of an earlier draft. (What motivated the disclaimer above was the response of a participant at one of these seminars, whose questions implied that only venality could explain the author’s suggesting that McDonald’s might not represent unalloyed evil, the participant having presumably ruled out an alternative hypothesis of stupidity.) This paper draws in part on information gathered for the case study, “The sun never sets on the Golden Arches”: McDonald’s internationalizes’ that the author and his colleague Mauro Guill´en prepared for classroom use at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

I wonder what my favorite foodie blogger, Marion Nestle thinks about this.

[see also Don Boudreaux's summary]

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