Burger King Mexico Entry Plan
BK Mexico Entry Plan
The author of this paper is asked to propose a marketing and staffing plan to make entry into the Mexico market under the Burger King name. The author will lay out how the menu and other aspects of the chain should manifest itself in Mexico. The author will also offer a general staffing plan that accounts for wage and benefit levels and human resources policies in general.
Any person familiar with international marketing knows that using a one-size-fits-all approach to chain stores in different countries at the same time around the world is just silly if not dangerous. For example, marketing pork products in dominantly Muslim areas will raise some eyebrows as well marketing hamburgers in India. Both of these are a bad idea because the prevailing culture in question look dimly upon the consumption and mass marketing of those sorts of products for cultural and/or religious reasons. However, in the United States the hamburger is a social icon and will not be leaving that perch anytime soon.
As it pertains to Mexico, most people know that they have their own niche of food offerings including burritos, tacos and enchiladas. At the same time, many people in Mexico also crave Western/American brand names in particular like Coca Cola (which McDonald’s contracts with in the United States), Nike and so forth. Given that, Burger King should take a blended approach that uses American Burger King mainstays like the Whopper and other popular products while at the same time adding in some foods that would appeal culturally to Mexicans while still remaining “fast food” such as tacos, taco salads and salsas. McDonald’s takes a similar approach and generally does quite well with it (Putnal, 2013).
There is no need to overhaul the brand appearance or feel as the brand is widely accepted in Mexico as well as Central and South America which would not be the case in areas like some parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The people in those areas either prefer not to see Burger King there and/or the governments in power actively block or at least shun Western ideals or brand names. Examples of the latter would be Iran, Saudi Arabia and most Muslim-dominant or — led countries in general.
There is no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to staffing plans and the like. However, the wage and benefit scales used in Mexico need to make sense given the prevailing wage and benefit trends in the area. Mexico is a different bird, proverbially speaking, than the United States in that its labor laws are not as strict and wage/benefit levels tend to be much lower as exhibited by the overall average wages of the country’s workers. Burger King should not upset the proverbial apple cart by being too much higher or lower than similar jobs at other Western (or even local) chains such as McDonald’s or Taco Bell. Burger King should at least be close to average, if not a little above average, if possible so as to attract and retain the best workers. Burger King should not lay out too much money because fast food is a field with high turnover due to the stigma the job carries with it but that stigma is probably not as pronounced in Mexico due to the overall lower wage scales and affluence in the country.
Similarly, Burger King would have to realize that the United States (and countries like it) and Mexico are different in many ways including cultural norms and human resource laws/regulations that do or do not apply to a given work situation or collective. Burger King would have to acclimate to the laws and norms of Mexico rather than using the United States as a yardstick. Even though the United States and Mexico are indeed neighbors and people cross their shared border all of the time, they are very different in a lot of ways as it relates to wage/hour and human resources laws.
Something else that Burger King would have to keep in mind is that the overall educational level of Mexico is entirely different than the United States and this would mean that the general types of people that apply for work at Burger King would tend to be less educated. At the same time, given that unemployment and squalor are much higher in Mexico, this would also mean that a lot more applicants would be available and this would put Burger King in the position to be much more selective.
Something Burger King should avoid, however, is the importation of employees and managers. Obviously, the senior executives of Burger King for the area will tend to be white (or otherwise American but not of Latino descent) but Burger King should infuse as much Latino work talent as they can and the more of it that can come from within Mexico, the better. However, if the locals see a lot of non-Latino faces managing and operating the store, there will be a good deal of grousing and animus directed at the chain. Continuity and keeping the store going smoothly is paramount but this should involve as much of the local Latino base as is possible. Western chains not from Mexico but that operate in Mexico are not subject to nearly as much blowback as would be seen in Muslim and non-Western countries but there is some palpable back and forth between different groups on both sides of the border and using non-locals to staff the stores only feeds that problemright or wrong.
Trade Organizations & Other Considerations
One thing about Mexico that is rampant and notorious is its widespread graft and corruption. This corruption pervades the government as well as the private sector and bribery is often used to grease skids and make entry into markets and business arrangements possible. Even firms like Wal-Mart have become involved (allegedly) in such behavior (Barstow, 2013). Burger King by no means should get involved in that and so long as they stick to the metropolitan and resort areas, they should be alright. If it becomes clear that an entry into a certain market or location would have to involve bribery, they should move on to different proverbial pastures. Burger King should also avoid areas where drug cartel violence and entanglement with the local business and government sectors is clearly going on because that would only end badly for Burger King as a corporation and its employees.
The author of this response uses this as a start to the trade organization section because that would be a large reason to avoid trade organizations to begin with, at least as it pertains to Mexico. Burger King should operate on its own but in accordance with the laws on the books if possible. If not possible, Burger King should alter its strategy. Coming into a position where Burger King owes any group allegiance or any favors is just not going to serve the corporate interests involved and should be avoided at all costs.
However, going too “cheap” and too corporate can hack people off as well and this is true both in Mexico as well as in the United States. A good corollary example to draw here are companies that have things manufactured in China. Apple and other American corporations have things made in China to keep the manufacturing costs and overhead to a minimum (Garside, 2013). The main reason this works is that the minimum wage and other laws that cause overhead to be what it is are much lower in China. Mexico is no different. However, just because Burger King can capitalize heavily on this disparity does not mean they should. Obviously, Burger King should not pay people more than the market demands for the city and nation that they are in but they should not take advantage of a person’s destitution from not being able to find a good job.
Even if the locals accept it, and they sometimes do not, it would become a potential black eye to the Burger King franchise name and corporation in the United States. It is no different than when Apple was attacked in the press and by trade/special interest groups due to the conditions and injuries that existed in several Chinese factories that made its products (Garside, 2013). A similar press boondoggle came to pass when a factory in Bangladesh that made clothes for many American clothes sellers collapsed and many died (Motlagh, 2013).
In the end, Burger King has to balance the norms, laws and seedy under-belly of the country they wish to enter and the norms/values that they are expected by their home country to uphold regardless of where they operate around the world. Corporations that capitalize on the desperation and inadequacies of other worlds and peoples are often viewed as bullies and this is often a deserved pejorative. However, Burger King also needs to be wise from a staffing, human resources, and corporate
Barstow, D. (2012, April 21). At Wal-Mart in Mexico, a Bribe Inquiry Silenced – NYTimes.com. The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved September 8, 2013, from http://www.nytimes..html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Garside, J. (2013, September 5). Workers’ rights ‘flouted’ at in China | Technology | The Guardian . Latest news, world news, sport and comment from the Guardian | theguardian.com | The Guardian . Retrieved September 8, 2013, from http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/sep/05/workers-rights-flouted-apple-iPhone-plant
Motlagh, J. (2013, September 7). Survivors of Bangladesh garment factory collapse still suffering, 5 months later – The Washington Post. The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines – The Washington Post. Retrieved September 8, 2013, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/survivors-of-bangladesh-garment-factory-collapse-still-suffering-5-months-later/2013/09/07/10cd9e52-156e-11e3-804b-d3a1a3a18f2c_story.html
Putnal, O. (2013, September 8). McDonald’s Food Menu – Global McDonald’s Menu Items at WomansDay.com – Woman’s Day. Healthy Recipes and Relationship Advice to Live Well Every Day – Woman’s Day. Retrieved September 8, 2013, from http://www.womansday.