Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just Falafel-ing the World

Glocalization is known to be the combination of the terms globalization and localization. To be taken ‘glocally’ companies must startup and diffuse globally while readjusting to the local customs of the country in which they operate. ‘Just Falafel’ would be a perfect example of glocalization. Just Falafel is a Middle Eastern fast food company. The first branch established in Abu Dhabi, UAE in 2007. The fast food company has created a recent buzz across borders, with its ambitious attempt to expand the business and venture globally. Interestingly enough the company originated by a group of diverse friends all living in the UAE; they are now referred to as the management team. Mohamad Bitar and Reema Shetty cofounded Just Falafel. The aim of the company is to ‘revolutionize’ the industry by offering healthy fast food. It is stated on their website that the food is cooked with ‘0% cholesterol, sunflower oil’ which is changed daily. Also, they are somewhat involved in the communities they operate in. A part of their program offers scholarship funding for ‘promising students’ and ‘sport, fashion and film events.’

One might wonder why it took the company about six years to franchise around the world. The company needed to gain popularity locally and achieve a respectable reputation before attempting to go global. Also, they needed to be profitable and strong enough to pursue such an ambition goal, which they eventually did.
Falafel is known to be a traditional dish. The origin of the falafel is assumed to have started in Egypt. The green goodness of the falafel is loved and almost celebrated in the Arab region. It is one of the few dishes that are socially acceptable to be consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Today, Just Falafel operates in ten countries. They are planning on expanding the business and opening up branches in Australia, Canada and America. Operating in many countries makes it one of the most successful Middle Eastern fast food companies. They are taking something local and distributing it globally. However, the company offers an international menu, ranging from Italian to American style falafel sandwich. By incorporating international styled dishes the fast food company is partaking in global localization. The company is fulfilling local needs while developing common global goals. Glocalization has several difference definitions developed by social scientists. One of which states that glocalization is present by the ‘societal co-presence’ of similarities and differences. This suggests that a company or an atmosphere can only be glocalized by the presence of diversity and global diffusion. On their website they jokingly state that they’re hoping, for the ‘future’ to have branches all over the world. This could be an example of grobalization. The company has an ambition to take over and somewhat impose themselves geographically, which is seen by global fast food chains today (e.g. McDonalds). Promoting cultural food in different countries can be seen as increasing diversity. However, not many countries have the resources to venture globally. This creates a single world culture ruled by countries/people who are financially capable. It also raises the question if the company is strong enough to compete with big corporate names in the fast food industry. However, the future is looking quite bright for Just Falafel.

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