Big Mac; Little Mac

Well, it appears that McDonald’s has fallen on hard times.

According to the New York Times, it is “pulling out of three countries and closing restaurants in about 10 other nations as part of a restructuring aimed at righting its flagging fortunes.”

At first glance, one might assume that globalization has backfired on this food giant. But context is everything. Despite all the gloom and doom about these cutbacks: “McDonald’s operates in 121 countries — soon to be 118 — and has 30,000 restaurants worldwide, less than half in the United States.”

I think the issue is less about globalization than it is about a business that is maturing, even in foreign markets. And maturity is a tough phase of life, even for major multinationals. And I find that American multinationals find it a bit less painful to cut their foreign operations before looking closer to home. Easier to fire people you don’t see as frequently. McDonald’s didn’t name the countries that it was abandoning, but said only that they were in the Middle East and Latin America.

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