The authors’ key point in the study is that context influences the type of contact that occurs between two or more individuals. They show in their research that an individual’s immediate surroundings, whether at work, at home, or in a recreational setting like a restaurant, convey something about that person or the organization. As a consequence, the operating environment of a business expresses its mission to its customers.
The study focuses primarily on two of the world’s largest fast food corporations, Burger King and McDonalds, and how their interior design communicates to their consumers.
The author suggests that the interior designers at McDonalds intentionally design their interior with the sole mission of reducing comfort to maximize its profits. According to the report, the interior environment at Burger King is more comfortable than the one at McDonalds.

The authors of the report conducted studies in ten outlets of both McDonalds and Burger King located in suburban areas. They observed the body language of the customers for clues of how comfortable and involved they were while in the restaurants. The research revealed that customers at Burger King were more comfortable than at McDonalds. They smiled and laughed more signaling that unlike their competitors, Burger King put more emphasis on the comfort of their customers compared to profits.

However, the research also revealed that customers at McDonalds were more involved than their counterparts in Burger King. They talked and leaned forward more than those in Burger King. In conclusion, the research clearly shows that it is true that the immediate environment of an individual is in itself a form of communication. The environment at McDonalds (a high load environment) encourages customers to eat fast and leave to create room for more customers while the environment at Burger King encourages customers to spend more time in the restaurant.

References

Eaves, H. M. & Leathers G. D. (1991). Context as Communication: McDonalds vs Buger King. Journal Applied Communication Research , Pages 263-289 .

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