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Health and fitness have become increasingly important issues in the twenty-first century. With concerns about rising obesity levels and a greater understanding of the importance of good nutrition, consumers have been demanding healthier food options. This is perhaps most apparent in the quick service restaurant industry, which has had to undergo something of a revolution in recent years. The choice for the industry was clear: respond to changing consumer needs, or suffer the consequences.
With 761 stores in Australia and 1.2 million customers visiting these stores daily, McDonald's Australia was in a very good position to undertake the necessary market research required to start making the appropriate changes and thus lead the revolution.
This ability to move with the times is what made the business successful to begin with. The fi rst McDonald's restaurant opened in 1955 in the United States, and in 1971, Sydney's western suburbs became the home of the first Australian McDonald's. A customer focus on family-friendly affordable meals ensured rapid expansion. Around two thirds of Australian McDonald's restaurants are run by franchisees: see the diagram below. A franchise is a system of selling goods or services, in which a business that already has a successful product (the franchisor) enters into a continuing relationship with other businesses (the franchisees), permitting them to sell their products. The franchisee pays for the right to use the franchisor's name, products, and display methods. Franchisees receive company support and benefit from the established goodwill of the franchisor.