Taking Fast Food Further
Empowering equal opportunities, industry localisation and social investment, McDonald’s Pakistan is embodying the country’s strategic strides
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Lewis Bush
Pakistan is nothing less than a nation on the rise.
Described by the World Bank as a region with a demographic dividend and significant development potential, the country is already capitalising on such abundant prospects, its economy having grown almost six percent in fiscal year 2018 (FY18).
Resultantly, national poverty rates are also falling. According to current estimates, this is forecast to decrease to 3.1 percent (in accordance with the international poverty line) at the conclusion of FY19, down from the four percent recorded in 2015.
Indeed, the government continues to take the reins in facilitating these outcomes, readily addressing economic, social and fiscal imbalances. Yet enterprises similarly have begun to play a greater role in enabling socioeconomic progression – a role that McDonald’s Pakistan is proactively embracing.
“Pakistan’s potential is tremendous,” states Jamil Mughal, Chief Operations, Marketing, Development and Supply Chain Officer at McDonald’s Pakistan.
“Home to a population of 200 million people, there’s clearly room for the economy to grow, but only if it continues to stabilise – a requirement that we’re attempting to assist.”
It is this underlying ambition that ultimately drew Mughal to joining McDonald’s back in 1998, the company’s meteoric expansion in the two decades since having been underpinned by strives for grassroots development.
“I’ve loved every minute of working here,” he affirms. “It’s an amazing company, every day is a new day with a new challenge. McDonald’s is innovation, it’s evolving, and it epitomises and supports the development trajectory of the country.”
Cultivating a culture
The latter point rings particularly true when looking at McDonald’s Pakistan’s modus operandi.
Upholding an ethos that is geared towards facilitating opportunity, the business strives to support the local populous wherever possible.
“We’re a people company at heart – run by people, managed by people,” explains Mughal. “In every corner of Pakistan, in any nook and cranny, you will find that our outlets support local communities.
“Equality is in our blood. Whether it’s men or women, the young or old, the differently abled, we don’t discriminate. We encourage all our staff to think big and have spent time cultivating an entrepreneurial, transparent culture to support this.”
Taking on those with the desire to build a career and deliver excellence, McDonald’s Pakistan’s structure simultaneously helps to transfer knowledge and develop skills in line with world-class standards. The firm’s three (soon to be four) dedicated training centres provide the best evidence of this, facilities which are testament to the brand’s consistent service and esteemed reputation.
“Of course, commitment, people skills, management skills and a range of other traits have their merits,” explains Mughal, “but the most important characteristic that we look for is passion.
“You should love what you do – that’s a common agreement at McDonald’s. It’s why both myself and many of my colleagues have worked here for so many years.
“Our exuberance levels and enthusiasm remain as pronounced today as they were on day one.”
Employment is not the only area in which McDonald’s excels as a socioeconomic innovator across Pakistan.
The firm is also heavily focussed on supporting the increasing localisation of industry wherever possible, opting to build and maintain close working relationships with a range of local partner companies.
“These relationships are extremely important to our success,” states Mughal. “Be it our sauces, proteins, paper and packaging, we almost always opt to work with local suppliers who deliver world-class international standards.”
This approach has proved to be crucial to the country’s wider success. By supporting regional industry specialists, McDonald’s has helped to sustain local businesses, contributing to not only direct employment but equally indirect employment.
“It’s something we are focusing on,” Mughal continues. “By embracing mutual relationships, our partners are able to hire more workers themselves, imparting skills, allowing careers to flourish, and so on.”
Similarly, Pakistani communities are beneficiaries of this ethos.
From aiding soccer clubs to sponsoring swimming competitions, promoting an active and balanced lifestyle amongst children is a major part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility agenda. This often translates into the company supporting young, talented individuals, evidenced by McDonald’s Pakistan’s efforts in the performing arts sector.
“We regularly help local theatre productions,” Mughal reveals, “allowing aspiring young actors, playwrights and directors to reach national audiences.
“We’ve also been supporting a number of underprivileged schools, inviting them to our restaurants on a regular basis to enjoy McDonald’s. At times there have been children who are differently abled or challenged physically who aren’t able to come to our restaurants, so we’ve taken our restaurants to them.”
Birthdays are often the focal point of such occasions, the firm regularly visiting disadvantaged children at their homes or in hospitals.
Mughal continues: “We see it as out duty to ensure that these children never feel as though they’re being left behind. We also work with hospitals in other ways, promoting their causes across the country.”
All things combined, Mughal and indeed McDonald’s Pakistan remain optimistic for the future, the company set to maintain its society-first agenda on all fronts, from equal opportunities to its extensive social investment programmes.
Narrowing into the specifics to wrap up our conversation, the Chief Operations, Marketing, Development and Supply Chain Officer reiterates his hopes of developing more sustainable relationships with local industry partners.
“This is a key priority for the year ahead, working with local businesses on everything from the procurement of raw materials to consultancy,” he affirms.
In addition, Mughal is expecting innovation to take on a greater role at the company as it moves forward, indicating that vast efforts will be placed on increasing its digital engagement and bolstering the development of McDonald’s Pakistan’s mobile app.
And finally, and conclusively, he reveals that the business will be looking to expand during the course
of the coming year.
“Our ambition, same as ever, is expansion,” he states. “I’d say we’re optimistic, we’re just hopeful that the economy continues to stabilise so that we can be as affordable as possible.
“For me, that’s what epitomises McDonald’s – we’re fixated on offering world-class quality products and upholding customer convenience while maintaining affordability and accessibility for all.”