Being business-minded has always been one of the classic qualities that make up a Chinoy. It’s a bit of a stereotype, but there is some truth to it, since Chinoys do have the tendency to see the business opportunities in everything. So it does not come as a surprise that the man who established the golden arches in the Philippines is a Chinoy.
Dr. George T. Yang saw McDonald’s as a potential business opportunity, but the process of bringing the American fast food giant into the Philippines wasn’t exactly an easy one. However, another part of being a Chinoy is perseverance in the face of failure. After his application for a local franchise was denied, Dr. Yang trained as a part of the McDonald’s service crew in Hong Kong and proved that he was more than capable of running the business from the bottom up. He was finally granted the license to establish McDonald’s in the Philippines and opened the first branch in Morayta in 1981. Now, McDonald’s is celebrating its 40th year in the Philippines, with over 660 stores across the country, and its success can mostly be owed to employee-centricity, commitment to its core values, and patronage of customers.
Chinoy culture revolves heavily around Confucianist values, and although we might not always be aware of it, these values often manifest themselves through everyday actions. 礼义廉耻 or the Four Cardinal Principles of Morality is an example. 礼, which means courtesy, can be seen in McDonald’s respect towards its employees. 义 and 廉, which means righteousness and integrity respectively, are seen in Dr. Yang’s belief of investing in people and giving them the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves rather than subjecting them to contractualization. Lastly, 耻 means shame, which carries negative connotations when translated directly to English, but in reality, it also means the desire to not disappoint others. This is manifested in the quality of the food and service that McDonald’s provides.
Perhaps the overarching value that perfectly encompasses the Four Cardinal Principles is malasakit, which is not a traditional Chinoy value but a product of the Filipino influence. McDonald’s has always strived to promote the culture of malasakit through its employees, taking pride in the way it trains its crew and managers to go the extra mile and make every customer’s dining experience a memorable one. Malasakit became even more important because of the pandemic, which is why McDonald’s launched the M Safe program to continue serving the customers safely while also ensuring the safety of its people.
This year, McDonald’s is also continuously committed to the community through its Kindness Kitchen program. Launched during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, McDonald’s Kindness Kitchen initially had a goal of serving 50,000 meals to frontliners and marginalized communities. With the help of employee-volunteers, customers, and partners from the public and private sectors, McDonald’s Kindness Kitchen was able to serve over 550,000 meals.
It is steadfast in serving more meals in the future by activating all of its stores to deliver meals to the community for 365 days in 2022. As part of its 40th celebration, McDonald’s also commits to serve 40,000 meals through the Kindness Kitchen and Kain Tayo, a multi sectoral initiative to provide food to children undernourished (visit kaintayo.com.ph).
McDonald’s culture of malasakit also extends beyond the pandemic. Since Dr. Yang is a firm believer of investing in people and giving back to the community, McDonald’s has two flagship programs under the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) that center around the development and education of the youth. The first is the Read-To-Learn program, which is a partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) that aims to teach first grade public school students how to read. To date, 11,000 partner schools with over 12 millions students have benefited from this program, while over 30,000 educators were trained. The second is the Bahay Bulilit Learning Center, which was established to facilitate the early childhood development of children and prepare them for formal schooling. This program is in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and various local government units, and there are currently 36 active learning centers across the country, catering to the needs of different communities.
These efforts show how McDonald’s exhibits 礼义廉耻 and remains true to its core value of malasakit by being able to share kindness among its employees, customers, and communities. To know more about how to donate, you may visit www.rmhc.org.ph for more information.