Having examined the respective worlds of beer and fast food globalization, it becomes clear that companies have not exactly been able to control their global expansion. Instead, consumer desires and interests have influenced the manner in which these two fields have grown. With the growth of beer sales, consumers have dictated popular styles rather than the producers. In terms of Lambic beer, it didn’t find worldwide success due to its strong, tart flavor and barnyard funk. Pilsner Urquell brought light lagers to the masses by appealing to consumer preferences of low alcohol and subtle taste. And American adjunct lagers now dominate the global market in a similar fashion, on a wider scale, having lightened beer to consumer tastes.
In terms of Subway, the company has operated as an anti-McDonald’s, of sorts. While McDonald’s developed into an unwilling representative of Americanization and cultural imperialism, Subway has managed to avoid that label. One could never argue that the Subway logo incites passion (and even hatred) like the Golden Arches. As McDonald’s came under fire for adverse health effects due to the likes of Morgan Spurlock and the New York lawsuits, Subway emerged as a healthier alternative—maybe due to marketing, but also due to a changing consumer desire for health-friendly options. Lastly, Subway’s franchise model encourages expansion in a way that McDonald’s doesn’t; it is cheaper to open a Subway, easier to manipulate the menu to local tastes, and requires much less labor to maintain a franchise.
Both the global expansion of beer and Subway restaurants point to a simple yet under-the-radar fact: markets and consumer preferences drive the expansion of the global food and drink industry. All too often, globalization scholars cite the dominant hegemony of big corporations and their worldwide takeover. Yet when considering the popularity of Subway restaurants and American adjunct lagers, it becomes clear that the consumer’s taste has dictated which companies find success. While McDonald’s has found controversy and the heavier types of beer haven’t found success, Subway Restaurants and American adjunct lagers are globally successful brands because they realized a simple fact: consumer preferences are king.