The research proposal aims at describing the current situation and the problem of McDonald’s in Dubai. The company is among the largest players in the segment and was characterized with high performance until recent years when its level of sales experienced fall, both due to not sufficiently competent cross-cultural policy and sustainability policy, drawbacks in strategic management. Meanwhile, competition in the industry is increasing due to the emergence of new players applying customer-oriented approaches, corresponding to the recent trends in consumers’ preferences. The research attempts to reveal ways to raise customers’ satisfaction and thus strengthen the market position of McDonald’s.
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McDonald’s is an American foodservice corporation, the world’s largest fast-food franchise chain. It has 129 restaurants in the UAE, half of which are located in Dubai, generating 60 percent of the profits (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2017). In the past couple of years, in the Middle East, where Dubai takes the largest share of the market in the McDonald’s portfolio, sales fell 2.4% – more than in all other markets (McDonald’s, 2020). The chain’s shareholders are concerned about the falling performance of McDonald’s, as it means a decrease in customer loyalty and is fraught with a significant decrease in goodwill with a corresponding drop in the company’s value. Analysts attribute McDonald’s failures to successful marketing activities of competitors, including in the mainstream of healthy eating and sustainability (Ahmed, Salih and Elbushra, 2019). McDonald’s food concept has been criticized in the UAE – this is mainly due to the growing trend towards organic food in the country.
The commitment of Middle Eastern consumers to organic food is driving the development of a market in which the UAE is the second largest organic food regional producer. This fact contributed to the formation of this sector as an integral part of the UAE free economic zones, facilitating the development of this sector in the near future (Zghoul, 2019). The trend is especially clear if considering that the total area occupied by farms of organic products is 3,920 hectares, compared with 218 hectares in 2007 (Zghoul, 2019). Based on retailers’ reviews and market observations, experts predict a steady increase in regional demand for organic and healthy products (Ahmed, Salih and Elbushra, 2019). Growth in disposable income, initiatives of consumers, and the UAE government striving to reduce obesity will accelerate demand for these foods.
Over the past few years, UAE retailers have sought to capitalize on this growing consumer trend by making more room for organic products on the shelves. The UAE retail industry is targeting customers from four main demographic groups: local emirates, Arabs, Westerners, and South Asians (Luciani and Moerenhout 2021). Retailers not only monitor consumer attitudes and trends in these groups but supply affordable and beneficial food from ex-pat countries of origin (PMA, 2020). This form of marketing aims at building customer loyalty, while McDonald still does not apply such a forward-looking policy. Thus, there is an urgent need to find ways to improve customer satisfaction, considering the existing trends.
Problem Definition and Research Objectives
- MDP: Market Decision Problem for McDonald’s is as follows: “What are the potential and possibilities for the company to raise the level of customers’ satisfaction and loyalty?” Is it the fact that McDonald’s loses its competitive position due to a noticeable reduction in consumers’ satisfaction?
- MRP: The Market Research Problem is as follows: To identify and systematize consumers’ needs and preferences and outline ways to improve customers’ experience and raise their loyalty.
- To reveal consumer expectations regarding the company’s services and sustainability.
- To understand problems facing consumers in the process of using the company’s services and reveal an appropriate correlation with the company’s market position and goodwill.
- To outline ways of improving consumers’ satisfaction and sustainability practices.
The research design implies a structured survey questionnaire, the advantages of which include standardization, due to the fact that all respondents are asked the same questions with the same answer options. It provides the base for in-depth analysis and statistical analysis, as well as classification and categorization (Creswell and Creswell 2018; Nardi 2018; Tracy 2019). However, the survey method has some limitations: it does not allow revealing latent motives, beliefs, and attitudes of respondents; it excludes the possibility of obtaining additional valuable information from respondents.
Data Analysis and Reporting
The data will be collected with the use of the SurveyMonkey tool and analyzed through statistical analysis using SPSS software.
Costs and Timetable
- Step 1 – Submit Proposal – February, 04
- Step 2 – Finishing of literature review and secondary research – February, 10
- Step 3 – Create Questionnaire – February, 13
- Step 4 – Revise questionnaire and collect data – February, 15
- Step 5 – Data analysis – February, 22
- Step 6 – Preparation of report – February, 24
- Step 7 – Submit report – February, 27
Research Organization and Key Researchers
The team of researchers consists of John, Jill, and Jane. All participants will make collaborative efforts to contribute in all research stages.
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Ahmed, A., Salih, O. and Elbushra, A. (2019) ‘Food consumption patterns and trends in the gulf cooperation council’, Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 18(7), pp. 623-636.
Creswell, J. and Creswell, D. (2018) Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. New York: SAGE Publications.
Luciani, G. and Moerenhout, T. (2021) When can oil economies be deemed sustainable? London: Palgrave Macmillan.
McDonald’s (2020) Reports fourth quarter and full year 2019 results and quarterly cash dividend. Web.
Nardi, P. (2018) Doing survey research: a guide to quantitative methods. Abingdon: Routledge.
PMA (2020) Fresh produce industry: United Arab Emirates (UAE). Web.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (2017) Opportunities in the GCC food landscape: strategies for success. Web.
Tracy, S. (2019) Qualitative research methods: collecting evidence, crafting analysis, communicating impact. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.
Zghoul, F. (2019) Natural and organic food market in the United Arab Emirates. New York: Global Agricultural Information Network.