Background of the Study
The fast food industry is witnessing an unprecedented growth in the recent years. In this era of globalization, multinational organizations are willing to expand their business operations in growth markets. For exploiting this opportunity of global expansion, they must formulate appropriate business strategies according to the targeted market (DePalma, 2002). These strategies are based on host country’s geopolitical and socio-economic environment. Nowadays, companies are aware of the fact that if they want to attain lucrative business then they have to focus on local needs, as well. Glocalization is new business concept, which is used to elucidate the concept when an international product or service is customized or localized according to the unique needs of a specific market. This term is originated by combining two words together localization and globalization. It suggests that if the particular requirements of cultural expectations and local practices are adapted then the global product and service can succeed (Gopalakrishnan, 2008).
KFC is the best example of glocalization, which is one of the biggest international fast food chains. Glocalizaion is an effective strategy for the companies to build and retain brand image as well as maintaining long-term brand loyalty. In UK and China, KFC as a global product platform sustains its core Kentucky Fried Chicken theme; however, in China the product portfolio has been localized successfully. KFC has tailored numerous menu items according to the Chinese and UK consumers’ palate. KFC has also initiated five years plan for increasing the local residents’ visits. The plan is for upgrading KFC franchises with new contemporary designs. This study will highlight KFC Glocalization strategies in Lincoln (United Kingdom) and China.
Contribution of the Study
This research will highlight that why an international business should focus on localized needs and demands while formulating and implementing strategies in host country. It will elucidate this concept through practical comparison between McDonalds Restaurants in Lincoln, United Kingdom and China. McDonalds Restaurant is renowned globally due to its idea of co-presenting its products through internationalization and particularization (Eoyang, 2007). As there are a multitude of emerging businesses opening businesses in different countries, they must be aware of this concept. If a British Fashion Store is opening its outlet in Saudi Arabia, then they cannot replicate the same business idea of the country of origin to this country. The culture of Saudi Arabia is entirely different from United Kingdom. In such situations, where the country of origin and the targeted business country have different culture, the company is faced with a major challenge. This challenge is notion that what will happen to the brand image of the company if the business is required to change its outlook and strategies to fit into a new country? If it will completely change it for fitting into this new market then it will put its brand image in danger, and if it replicates the same strategies it will put its revenues on stake. For exploiting benefits both the ideas, the organizations must find an appropriate balance between the both. This research will present practical insights why one company must find an appropriate balance between internationalization and localization. These insights will be beneficial for not only businesses in food industry, but it will be valuable for myriad other businesses as well.
Research Question and Research Objectives
The proposed research question of this study will be as followed:
- What are the global product localization Strategies of KFC in China and Lincoln, United Kingdom?
Following will be the research objectives:
The concept of glocalization is a neologism of localization and globalization. This term emerged in late eighties in the articles of Harvard Business Review by Japanese Economists. Roland Robertson is the credited with popularizing this term amongst the international audience. This term refers to new result of local pressures that are towards global environment. According to one of his speech by Robertson, he referred this term as the simultaneous presence of particularizing and universalizing tendencies (Kotler & Caslione, 2009). Due to the forces of globalization that transforms the structure of economies, it serves to change the global economic structure of the world and reorganization of consumption and production. An understanding of the notion of globalization assists understanding the concept of glocalization.
Although the forces of globalization has reduced the gaps between countries and their subsequent cultures, but still there are a multitude of things that is different from country to country. For instance, Chinese prefers comparatively low spices than British. While a conventional Chinese dining table is round due to shared dishes, while is unusually rectangular in United Kingdom. Due to the recent outbreak of avian flu in China, KFC has introduced Spicy Pork McBites. This launch is backed by strong Chinese likeness for pork. Since rice is a very important part of Chinese cuisine, KFC further localized itself by the introduction of Rice-based menus.
Although this term is usually restricted to business processes, but its usage is relevant to a diverse areas. The term of glocalization is new in the business context, and it is even newer in the context of food studies needs further exploration why it is necessary for a global company to to localize things based on local needs. Although, the glocalization is a significant strategy to get get business successes, but it has its negative aspects as well. In this case innovation comes from top to down, where the product is localizes, and it ignores the notion of reverse innovation.
This study will use interpretivism philosophy, as it will focus on comprehending the differences between human beings performing the roles of social actors in society.
In this study, ethnography qualitative research method will be used. This approach will be used in this study as ethnography approach discovers and describes the culture of group of people. In this study, KFC’s customized food styles in two different cultures will be analyzed and discussed. The consumers’ consumption and buying preferences will be observed. In ethnography, ethnology type will be used, as in this; comparative analysis between cultural groups will be done. The study will use qualitative research methods for extracting out pertinent data that will further assist and support in analysis. Qualitative research method is usually used in those research studies where researcher has to attain in depth information, as it relates to comprehending some aspects of social life. For data analysis, this method generates data in form of words than numbers.
In this study, the inductive research approach will be used. In inductive approach, researcher gathers information pertinent to the topic (observations). After it, the researcher looks for patterns and analyzes the collected data (classification). Generalization is done and at last it develops theory. It is a process that takes the research flow from specific to general. The main focus of the research is to study the different food styles of KFC in China and Lincoln, UK.
Methods of Data Collection
In this study, the primary and secondary sources will be used. The justification for choosing both sources will be to attain authenticated and reliable outcomes of the research study. In the primary sources interviews will be conducted.
In this study, secondary sources will be used for attaining already existing data regarding KFC glocalization in China and Lincoln, UK. The justification for using secondary sources is that, information attained by using this method is more reliable and cost effective. On the other hand, interviews will be conducted, which comes under primary source of data collection. Interviews will be conducted to attain firsthand knowledge, although this type of research method is cost and time consuming but the information attained from this method will help in concluding the research paper with more reliable and authenticated facts. Semi structured interviews will be conducted from the respondents. The interview questions will be related to KFC glocalization strategies in China and Lincoln, UK, and it will be conducted from two KFC’s marketing/brand managers in China and Lincoln, UK. The interviews will be taken via Skype accordingly at their flexible time availability. Twenty to twenty five minutes interviews will be conducted from both marketing/brand managers. For attaining information about KFC’s global product localization strategies in UK and China, numerous secondary sources will be attained. The secondary material will be attained by using academic sources like books, online libraries i.e., Emerald, Ebsco, Sage etc, peer reviewed journals and reports as well as some reliable and authenticated official websites.
Key Ethical Issues, Validity and Reliability of Issues Considered
There is not any ethical issues involved in this research as it is based on secondary research and semi-structured interviews. There might be some ethical concerns on the side of the brand managers, when they share their insights about their specific market. Reliability is based on the idea that if the same procedure is applied repeatedly, same results will be generated. Since the research is based on secondary research and semi-structured interviews, the results might be show diversion if applied on repeated basis. Validity reflects the notion that how much a research is successful in elucidating the concept that he/she is willing to expound (Sandberg, 2008). Issues might be faced, if the researcher is not able to get access to the mandatory data.
Following will be the time scale for conducting this study:
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