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6.7. Management of Translative Displacement

Such act of consumers influences McDonald's Japan, the management of which follows the consumers' attitude of taking time in eating and appropriating the space of McDonald's restaurants in their favour. Restaurant managers tend to presuppose their space as slow and cope with customers as such. Even outstaying students are welcome, as they can become frequenters. McDonald's in Sugamo, a popular area among older people in Tokyo, is widely recognised as one of the resting spaces not only by customers but also by restaurant crews who are supposed to take care of the older customers.

In other East Asian countries also, the same phenomenon is observed. Local subsidiaries of McDonald's there follow the customers' desire and its change and adjust the contents of what they provide (i.e. hamburger menu, restaurant space and service) to consumers'satisfaction. Glocal spaces have been formed in this way in McDonald's restaurants, where glocal moments from both above and below interact.

Anecdotes are picked up sometimes about McDonald's. The first McDonald's restaurant was opened in the first floor corner of a famous department store Mitsukoshi by Den Fujita, the founder of McDonald's Japan. It was after his persevering negotiation with US headquarters of McDonald's, which had actually planned to open a drive-through restaurant as the first McDonald's restaurant in the suburb of Chigasaki, mid-scale city in Kanagawa, adjacent to the prefecture of Tokyo. Also, Fujita's target customers were not only families but also the young generation whose liking for meat was growing, which represented the richness and novelty of American food culture at that time in the 1970s. In this micro interface between the US headquarters and McDonald's Japan, in other words, between the global and the local organisations, the latter is considered to have exerted and maintained certain agency upon the former. As a result, McDonald's witnessed an increase in demand of hamburger in Japanese society.

As mentioned before, a glocal product teriyaki Mcburger has been a popular item among the menu of McDonald's in Japan. Its form is an American hamburger, but its taste is Japanese. Big Mac as well as plain burger is sold in most of the countries and has become a product of global standard, while McDonald's in each country has its own hamburger menu which is “invented” by combining the taste and stuff of traditional foods of each country like teriyaki Mcburger in the case of Japan, which is a product of local translation of the global and shows a stark contrast with the product of global standard. [1]

In Japan, Chicken Tatsuta burger (fried chicken hamburger with vinegar and tartar sauce) and Tsukimi burger (fried eggs hamburger) were popular menus of McDonald's Japan, but now they are not sold any more, following the management's efficiency strategy to reduce the items of the menu depending on the decrease of their sales. This step of controlling the production has been taken in response to the change in demand of customers. They are occasionally on sale—retro-Mac—for a limited-time though.

Figure 6.8 shows a McDonald's restaurant in Beijing in 2002 soon after its opening. A couple facing each other are talking in a cosy space of the glassed wall restaurant. As in Japan, a couple of young men are discussing with a book or a notebook with probably a pleasant light music playing in the background. A lady was leaning on the shoulder of a man, against the wall hung with a painting of modern art. A slow space was being produced which is not seen or even supposed in any McDonald's restaurant in the USA. McDonald's China which joined the business in the 2000s must have researched into the situation of customers' utilisation and appropriation of the space of McDonald's restaurants in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan and elaborated diligently in advance a restaurant like the one in the figure.

Fig. 6.8 McDonald's restaurant, Beijing 2002

Fig. 6.9 Multilayer structure of cultural interface

Here, I integrate Figs. 6.5 and 6.7 into 6.9. Thus, the relationship seen from the interface between the global and the local is complex and multilayered. The global and the local levels are mediated by the national level, depending on the context, and their relationships nested as follows. The level of the national takes the position

of the local against the global, and it also takes the position of the global against the local. Moreover, acts and influences are of both globalisation and glocalisation. In addition, glocalisation processes both from above and below are recognised.

Entrepreneurs especially in non-Western societies are required to comprehend such multilayer structure which plural systems form, to be aware of the process of inter-displacement in cultural interface and to carry out an adaptive management by grasping such structures and their dynamism in it.

  • [1] For the side of global standard, the price of a Big Mac in each country in the world is listed as BMI (Big Mac Index) or Big Mac currency in Economist, the British Magazine, annually. BMI is based on the hypothesis that exchange rates of currencies are supposed to get balanced so that the price of a Big Mac whose quality is regarded as the same all over the world actually becomes the same sooner or later in all the countries.
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