Won't McDonald's Bun Kabab drive street vendors out of business?

03:36 PM | 3 Apr, 2019
Won't McDonald's Bun Kabab drive street vendors out of business?
I once read somewhere:

"If smaller businesses are driven out by bigger businesses, it could have profound social and political effects that are hard to measure."

As soon as Mcdonald announced to include Bun Kabab AKA Anday Wala Burger in their menu after a social media stunt with Ali Gul Pir, I kept thinking about this particular line, it bothered me. I thought of it to be a con of Capitalism.

All my life, I have seen small vendors sell Bun Kabab, and the minute McDonald made this announcement the one thing that came to my mind was, how are we going to protect the interests of small vendors with limited resources when a much bigger organization has decided to capitalize the product. For me the consequence was clear, small vendors are going to have a hard time competing with McDonald's while selling the same product.

When I voiced my concerns in front of a colleague, he justified it by saying that what McDonalds's is doing is the basic principle of the free market. It may drive small vendors out of business but it will also create job opportunities and their burger will be cleaner. He gave the example of other free-market economies and how we don't see many street vendors in developed countries.

I would have agreed if I hadn't realized the basic difference between the free market and capitalism. McDonald's business model is essentially capitalist. Also, the fact that the free market isn't just about providing opportunities to everybody to do business but also providing small business owners with skills, appropriate training, and loans to enable them to compete with the big organizations that are essentially capitalists.

Though I agree that when organizations like McDonald's expand their business, they create job opportunities. But a brief look at the profiles of their employees can give us a clear hint that a regular street vendor doesn't fit that profile. If McDonald's Bun Kabab is successful in driving out these street vendors then that's it for them.

Am I arguing that we should stop McDonald's from capitalizing on what's essentially street food in Pakistan and bread and butter for so many street vendors? Not really. I'm arguing that we need to empower these street vendors, train them to use cost-effective techniques to help them float, use the internet to promote it, educate them with the basic principles of business and teach them how to make their carts stand out for their own benefit.

If we don't empower the small business owners and turn a blind eye on how big businesses are using their deep pockets to bankrupt small vendors, the social impact is going to be huge and dangerous.