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Processes and Procedures Matter

Or, why does a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger taste the same in the remote islands of Indonesia as it does in Roswell, GA?

A number of years ago, I was traveling through the islands of Indonesia for a research project. After a week or so of living off the local cuisine–mostly rice, vegetables and a tiny portion of chicken or pork, I began to have a real craving for protein.

One morning as we trundled down an ill-paved road on the island of Lombok, low and behold, there they were… the Golden Arches! I insisted to my fellow travelers that after we finished our business with some local elders, we had to come back so I could get some meat!

We finished our business and made it back to the McDonald’s and I ordered one of my then favorites, a double cheeseburger.  And although there were items on the menu tailored for the local tastes, I happily found that the burger tasted “exactly” like it did back home.

How was that possible?

The answer: Processes and Procedures.

How do I know this?

When I was in college, I worked as a Swing Manager at the local McDonald’s in Roswell, GA. Unlike most stores which are franchise operations, this was a corporate-owned store. It was used to train new franchise owners and test new prototype equipment. At that time, many of the upper management positions in Corporate McDonald’s for the Atlanta region were former Marines.

And everything was done by the book! What book you may ask?

Well, McDonald’s had an Operator’s manual that provided a specific procedure and process for every aspect of the operation. Along with the processes and procedures, performance and quality standards for the delivery of food and services was clearly spelled out. For instance, it took 100 seconds to cook the hamburger, toast the bun and add the required condiments. Not 98 or 102 but 100 seconds.

And there was follow up. Periodically there would be unannounced visits by Area Supervisors and they would measure the temperatures of everything from the oil frying the French fries to the soda coming out of the fountain. They would sit in the lobby and, with a stopwatch, time how long it took a customer to get their order after they had placed it. The benchmark standard: 60 seconds.

There was a process, procedure and measurable standard for everything.

So that is “how” a McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger tasted the same in the remote islands of Indonesia as it did in Roswell, GA.

And that consistent standard was a critical part of their Brand Experience. Wherever you go in the country, or the world for that matter, you know what to expect. That is “Valuable.”

  • Do you have processes and procedures in place in your organization to ensure a consistent customer experience?
  • Do you have regular training programs in place to make sure your staff know what your current processes and procedures are?
  • And most importantly, do you follow up to make sure those processes and procedures are followed?
  • Can your customers count on you to consistently deliver the goods and services they expect?

If they can, you’re well on your way to building a growing business.


Post by Web Developer Kerry Wolfe





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