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McDonald’s sell french fries but it doesn’t sell onion rings. Why?
There is an urban legend that says Ray Kroc’s first beloved sweetheart was killed when a huge burlap sack full of onions fell on her and smothered her. From that day forward he vowed never to support the onion industry and only reluctantly allowed chopped onions to be added to McDonald’s burgers.
For some reason I don’t think that is true, but do think there is a lesson that online communities (and other businesses) can learn from McDonald’s about globalization and localization.
First, let’s talk about globalization since that’s what matters most when talking about onion rings. The business school legend on why McDonald’s doesn’t sell onion rings as part of their standard menu is that the world’s onion supply is insufficient to support the sale of onion rings in their stores globally. Apparently the potato supply is sufficient to ensure that anyone who comes to one of the 33,000+ stores in one of 120+ countries can order a standard french fry. (I know there are some operations issues such as the cost of production, the batter tainting the taste of the oil, and the amount of time the onion rings will stay fresh, but for the purposes of this discussion, let’s just focus on the issues related to globalization.)