Many tourists have their picture taken in front of the McDonald's sign or with the Ronald McDonald statue outside the restaurant to document their contact with an exotic culture. " (1999)
5) Location, location, location - Over a period-of-time, Kwan's study notes that "...as the number of fast food outlets increased, the reasons why people go to fast food places changed. All the interviewees who have become accustomed to the presence of the fast food chains now cite the numerous locations as a major reason for going to fast food outlets. Some of the students said while they would never make a special trip to go to a fast food place, they sometimes ate fast food because they happened to walk by a fast food place when they were hungry." (1999) Additionally, other than the number of fast food outlets, the locations were noted to play an integral role in the popularity of fast food among the students from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China as many of these outlets are located nearby schools and college campuses and students were stated to be prone to gather in these outlets in the late afternoon and early evening following classes.
6) the Toys! - McDonald's was found to be popular among youth from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China because of the toys provided with the Happy Meal. Kwan states: "Recently the Happy Meal toys also attracted the attention of the adult market. The sales of Happy Meals at McDonald's in Hong Kong jumped 80% in 1998 after the introduction of the Snoopy doll, and jumped 10% in 1999 after the introduction of the Hello Kitty doll This increase in sales was driven by both kids and adults who bought and then resold the dolls at twenty times the original price." (1999)
7) Friendly staff - According to Kwan another reason cited for the popularity of fast food was the friendly staff and atmosphere. Findings of the survey relate that quality of service varies at other high-end expensive and traditional restaurants "while the quality of service at traditional places varies greatly depending on the personality of the waiter, the students said that the cashiers at the fast food places are always smiling and polite." (1999)
8) Cleanliness - Kwan relates the fact that Taiwanese and Chinese students "...were also impressed by the cleanliness of the fast food places. One reason for the cleanliness is the fact that unlike traditional restaurants where the customers leave all the dishes on the tables when they leave, the customers at the fast food places throw their own trash away. The students were also impressed by the fact that employees were constantly sweeping the floors and cleaning the windows." (1999) the students from Hong Kong however, "...didn't express the view that the service and cleanliness of American fast food chains are superior to domestic eateries." (1999)
Kwan reports that in survey questions that focused entirely on fast food at McDonald's the following findings were stated:
1) Friendly atmosphere - Kwan relates that the tops reasons for choosing McDonalds among the students from Taiwan and China included: (a) clean atmosphere; (b) friendly atmosphere. Secondary was the food itself.
2) Cheap prices - Kwan relates that unlike China and Taiwan "...where the prices at McDonald's were higher than traditional food eateries, the prices at McDonald's in Hong Kong are cheaper than most other eateries. The low prices were very attractive to the young students who had a limited supply of money." (1999)
Kwan relates that among the students he surveyed that "none of the students I interviewed expressed a strong negative view of the American fast food chains. Also stated in the findings of the study conducted by Kwan (1999) is: "While there is a bias against American fast food, especially among the older generation, the bias isn't for reasons that American critics normally cite. Many of the students said that their parents never even wanted to try American fast food because of the fact that they didn't consider it real food. In their opinion a real meal consists of rice or noodles, some meat and vegetables, not "two slices of bread, a small piece of meat and some ketchup."(Kwan, 1999) the students from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, held the view that the more choices available to them all the better and as well nearly all of the students held the belief that "...of the students also shared the common belief that the introduction of American fast food companies was not a threat to their culture, because they believe that the Chinese people are too proud of their food culture to ever let fast food replace traditional food." (Kwan, 1999)
This study reports that among those students who enjoyed eating fast food it was viewed as "...more as alternative to their daily diet, rather than being the main part of their diet." (1999) Kwan relates that there was no expressed concern among Hong Kong and Taiwanese students "over the widespread presence of fast food back home, some of the students from China were bothered by the rapidly increasing presence of fast food in China. One student said while she readily accepts the presence of McDonald's in the urban cities, she is less supportive of the idea of McDonald's spreading into the rural areas." (Kwan, 1999) Kwan humorously states: "Relax people, it's just capitalism!" (1999) it is reported that the students surveyed held a belief that the fast food corporations are just "corporate behavior as a natural part of doing business..." (1999)
The students surveyed by Kwan did not have a negative image of American fast food companies and some even held the belief that local food culture has been improved by the introduction of the fast food restaurants. The reason stated for this is: "Previous to the introduction of fast food, not much attention was paid to the service and cleanliness of inexpensive, small scale eateries; good service and a clean environment were high priorities only in expensive, high scale restaurants. The students, who are old enough to compare the conditions of local eateries before and after the introduction of fast food, said that some local restaurants are trying to improve their service and cleanliness in response to the competition from the American fast food industry." (1999)
The study conducted by Kwan also reveals the situation that occurred in Hong Kong: "In 1974 the founders of Cafe Coral changed the eatery from a traditional style restaurant, to a self-service system that combined Chinese style food with Western style concepts of mass production, quality, service, cleanliness, and value. By 1999 Cafe de Coral had 112 fast food outlets in Hong Kong, second only to McDonald's 147 outlets. These domestic fast food companies have taken what they have learned from Western fast food companies and created viable alternative for local consumers who want both the service, cleanliness, and low prices associated with Western fast food and the taste of traditional Chinese food." (Kwan, 1999)
Kwan relates that the rapid spread of American fast food in China "...China should not simply be seen as one-way process of foreign business imposing their product on local consumers. Consumers have as much affect on the way the product is perceived and used, as the corporations that market the product." (1999) Adjustments have been noted in the menu offerings by the fast food restaurants in order to adapt to the tastes of the locality which includes offering of the Teriyaki burger by McDonald's and the offerings of a seafood Pizza by Pizza Hut topped with shrimp and squid. Students in numbers have made note of the fact that the Spicy Chicken Wings at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) were greatly liked and Kwan states this is due to the fact that "Chinese people generally consider the wings, not the breast or the thigh, as the juiciest and best part of the chicken." (1999)
Another aspect of the attraction of fast food to consumers that differentiates American and Hong Kong customers is the time spent at a fast food establishment. American consumers are stated to spend, on the average, 11 minutes while the Hong Kong consumers reporting spending, on-the-average, 20-25 minutes at the fast food establishment. Kwan relates: "One student I interviewed said she and her friends would often go to McDonald's for a "quick" thirty minute meal before going somewhere else such as the movies. While for Americans the idea of spending thirty minutes eating fast food seems to contradict the purpose of going to a "fast" food place, to Chinese consumers this behavior is quite normal." (1999) Also stated among the findings of the study of Kwan is that the fast food establishment is a "place to hang out...a social gathering place for people, especially youths and college-age people." (1999)
The location of these establishments centrally located to schools, universities, and colleges and allowed those who frequented these fast food restaurants to hang out as long as they…