The McDonald brothers started their first business in the great depression only to have it fail. They then decided to pivot to a barbecue stand, pictured right, which 20 years later evolved into them having a restaurant that closely resembles In N Out hamburger of today, a handful of items done uncommonly well and quick. However, that wasn’t always the case.
In Post Depression America, most “quick serve” restaurants could take 15-20 minutes to get your order out to a car from the time it was placed. In today’s standards, that seems unbelievable right? However that was status quo or the norm then. The McDonald brothers recognized that not everyone wanted to wait that long for their food, in matter of fact it was a huge problem.
So they committed to get their order to delivery cycle down to 30 seconds. If you haven’t seen the Founder yet, this will be a spoiler. When Ray Crock visits the McDonald’s hamburger stands he orders, pays, and then his food is almost immediately handled to him. People were shocked but also thrilled with the innovation.
The work that the McDonald’s brothers put in to design the innovation though was substantial. Borrowing from the playbook of Henry Ford, they went from having a chaotic kitchen with an extremely diverse menu to only a few items that would be produced quickly and reliably.
There’s a scene where the McDonald brother bring their team of cooks to a tennis court and draw the exact dimensions of their kitchen onto the court with sidewalk chalk. They then have their team do mock run throughs of getting an order from customer to delivery as fast as possible. They did this by having a stop watch and continually refining the process.
When was the last time you looked at the 5 to 8 core processes in your business? By the way, there are only 5 to 8 key or critical processes for every company. The idea is to take the mindset of the McDonald brother’s and see how you can make them better, faster, or cheaper. Never be satisfied with the first, second, or third innovation. The simple fact is there’s always copy cats so you have to keep innovating your processes to uniquely solve your customer’s problems.
If you’d like a tool to help in identifying or refining your company’s processes, reach out. We’d be happy to email it over to you as our gift with a quick guide to get started.