McDonald’s restaurants began just like any other. They had a big menu and cooked everything to order from scratch.
Customers had to wait up to half an hour for their meal to be cooked. There was a lot of food waste. And the restaurants struggled to stay profitable.
It wasn’t until the "Speedee Service System" was implemented in 1948 that the business really took off.
The brainchild of the McDonald brothers, this new system incorporated production-line processes inspired by Henry Ford, such as ‘stations’ that broke down each part of their burger production process as singular tasks, performed by one person who was in charge of that piece of the puzzle.
The brothers cut the menu right down to just a few select items, and systemised the hell out of producing these few foods as quickly and efficiently as possible.
As we all know by now, the new McDonald’s food production system was a huge hit. Customers could get their food faster than ever before.
But this new assembly-line model had a far bigger, more powerful payoff than speed alone.
We humans are creatures of habit. New things carry some element of anxiety. What if we don’t like this new thing? What if it’s not what we expected?
Thanks to the consistency of the McDonald’s system, today you can walk into any McDonalds in the world, order a burger and fries, and know EXACTLY what you’re going to get.
While burgers in restaurants all over the world differ in size, ingredients, taste, and so on, McDonald’s food products are completely standardized.
This consistency gives consumers confidence in what they’re getting.
And it’s this consumer confidence that has underpinned the McDonald’s story’s success.
Are their burgers the best in the world? Nope (although some may disagree)
But while trying any new restaurant has an element of risk (ie: you may not like the food), there is absolutely no risk when going into a McDonald’s store and ordering a burger.
Consistency is more important than perfection
The core focus of any business is to deliver a quality service or product, at the right time, and at the right margins.
If you don’t get this right in your business, you’ll find that you’re regularly delivering a less-than-great result to your market.
You might also find that you’re not retaining clients, or are seeing few return customers.
There are so many ways to build consistency capability into your business.
Here’s a few ideas -
For businesses selling products, this can involve looking at your data. When are peak buying times for certain products? What’s happening in the wider environment that might affect your sales? How can you maintain consistent supply at all times?
If you run a service-based business, make sure you never expand faster than what will still allow you to consistently deliver your service. It can be exciting when new work comes in, but taking on too much leaves your resources overstretched. This results in rushed work, poor quality, and underwhelmed clients.
2) Quality control
How do you evaluate whether your service is consistently at a level that keeps your customers happy? The difference between a 100% quality job, and a 90% quality job might not seem like much to you. But it can actually hugely impact your business. Little things matter!
Make sure that every part of your delivery process is tracked, so you can ensure your clients are getting a quality service from you that you become well-known for. Look into the world from your clients’ eyes. What are they looking for? How can you make sure they get it every time?
What can you implement in your business to make your service delivery more consistent?