This is largely due to the fact that, despite the constant sense of rejection of western influence among the older generation, the young generation of Muslim teenagers is more and more interested in the American lifestyle and every product that suggests a part of American culture. Dahlia Zayed, Regional Marketing Manager for TNS Middle East & Africa supports this point in her article "Fast food still sells in Egypt" arguing that the mirage of the American culture has made the society change. At the same time however, it is pointed out that the main part was played by the campaigns that tried to promote precisely the idea that companies have oriented their products according to the special needs of the Muslim religion which rejects pork meat or different other spices that otherwise make the basis of Pizza Hut products. This adaptability is important in a world of competition because it could mean the winning or losing of an important market. Craig S. Smith in his article "The Market McDonald's missed: The Muslim Burger" points out precisely this idea. He argues that the initiative to reconsider the Muslim market in terms of religious identity and not primarily as a source for profit has given birth to a new concept, the combination of the idea of classical American burger with the boef notion of beef meat. Thus, both needs were catered for. On the one hand, the tradition remains; on the other hand, it is in accordance with the moral and religious precepts of the local population.
Religion can be said therefore to play an important role in defining or redefining the strategies for certain markets. By comparison to the UK markets, Pizza Hut, from this point-of-view, did not have to reconsider its offer due to the fact that the common religion does not limit the offer in any way. At the same time however, there are other particularities the Pizza Hut brand had to face in order to reach success on the British markets. In this sense, in 1998 Pizza Hut received UK' Service Excellence Awards at the Consumer Services Category. This was the result of a thorough market analysis meant to improve the positioning of Pizza Hut in the hearts of the British consumers. In this sense, they did not necessarily considered changing the menu, but rather the main idea promoted by Pizza Hut UK. The article justifying the award is very useful for understanding the strategy adopted by the company. In this sense, realizing the higher standards of the British market in terms of the quality of the service and of the ambient, the Pizza Hut management decided to put more emphasis on the development of these areas that consumers found to be essential in order to become regular clients of a restaurant. Thus, their new concept promoted on the British market was summarized in the idea that "True, there's nothing very complicated about making pizza. But inspiring 11,000 staff throughout 380 UK restaurant locations to deliver a consistently high level of both product and service to one million customers a week is a feat requiring very high levels of skill and imagination." (UK: Service Excellence Awards, 1998).
The idea of the fast food industry is indeed a concept which entangles several meanings. It represents a business perspective, a political symbol, and a cultural linkage point. Pizza Hut, in this sense, is relevant for pointing out all these elements. At the same time, taking into account and comparing the marketing strategies the company implemented in a Muslim country such as Egypt and in a Christian one such as the United Kingdom, it can be said that the cultural and national element are one of the most important issues that any marketing strategy should take into account.
2. Research Proposal
The aim of the research paper will be to identify, in order to confirm or deny, the existence of a direct relationship between corporate strategies and territorial traditions. To reach a conclusion, several materials must be consulted and numerous intermediary questions must be answered.
The fast food industry has become a constant of our daily lives and its significance is growing exponentially each year. Proof of this stand the large numbers of local stores opened and the global expansion of renowned fast food chains, such as McDonald's, Burger King and more recently Pizza Hut. Much has been said about the fast food industry and the products it commercializes, the comments coming from both disclaimers as well as supporters. However, the dispute seems far from being over.
When analyzing the fast food industry, increased attention must be given to the numerous features and forces that affect it. In this order of ideas, fast food consumption, and consequently the success of fast food companies, is given by a multitude of forces, including but not limited to, product offering and prices implemented, life style and personal choices of the population.
The international growth and increasing popularity of fast food products, combined with the changing behavior of consumers, lead to the preliminary conclusion that there is a direct connection between the strategies implemented by companies and the culture, traditions and habits of the region to where the company expands. But to be able to come to an informed conclusion, further research must be conducted.
2.2 Background to Research
The fast food industry is an interesting segment to study from at least three perspectives. First, there is the marketing stand point, from which the industry means growth, expansion and changing behavior and demands of the consumers. Then, there is the financial perspective, which reveals a strong industry, constantly mutating in shape and size to encompass international powers which make fortunes out of selling their products. And finally, the third significant stand point is a cultural one. From this particular angle, the fast food industry is revealed to have had a major impact upon the population and has even managed to create a culture of its own.
But just like every other industry or sector, the companies activating in the fast food community must be increasingly adjustable to the changes in the environment. They must at all times remain alert to the new trends present on the market, identify what generated the changes and foresee and satisfy the needs of the consumers. And the need to constantly adapt and develop does not solely relate to products, but also to the promotion, advertising, placing and actual selling of the products. And these must be adjusted to the unique features of each host country or community. To better explain, take the case of India, where the cow is considered a sacred animal. It would be business suicide for a fast food chain to open a facility in New Delhi and sell beef hamburgers. In all, however the fast food industry has managed to make a cultural statement, they must come to respect the cultures of the countries and regions where they open subsidies.
Pizza Hut is a relevant example in this sense in the meaning that their international expansion has been made with the consideration of local specifics. In other words, however they preserved the American way through globalization and export of culture, they also adapted to the requirements of each country where they activated, such as the Christian United Kingdom or the Muslim Egypt. But their success, alongside with other chains', was also based on their capability to create culture. From the elitist store that only served the wealthy population, Pizza Hut turned into a store that served the needs of the common individual. Foremost, given the foundation of Pizza Hut by two brothers and their mother, it becomes only obvious how the pizza parlor, and through generalization the entire fast food industry, addresses a compact and united market and can easily make a cultural statement.
But as they can increase the chances of success, cultural forces can as easily raise barriers in the path to achieving the overall organizational goal. And when entering a new market, the foreign investor might find it difficult to approach the customers due to barriers such as language or mentality. Pizza Hut found it particularly difficult to successfully penetrate the UK market since they were basically perceived as the large American corporation who does not care about the unique requirements of the market, but implements the same strategies and expects them to work as they worked just fine within the United States. And their success within the U.S. has mostly been based on their clear understanding of the culture. But outside the U.S., the pizza parlor has had to increase their efforts.
Just like other companies activating in the fast food industry, Pizza Hut has been increasingly attracted by the Muslim community, mainly from the stand point of their large numbers and high sales potential. But the entering of the market has not been easy. Whereas the youth…