An interesting comment by a Facebook friend about their recent bad experience at a McDonald’s store got me thinking.

From an early age we have been conditioned to expect every McDonald’s store to be the same. From the food on the menu, to uniforms, to cleanliness, to the “would you like fries with that” question or “have a nice day” greeting – the systems that the McDonald’s organisation has put in place have conditioned us to believe that each experience we have at any McDonald’s store throughout the world should be of the same standard.

McDonald’s systems can be used as a great example of how systems can work in all businesses. Documenting procedures and monitoring results makes everything you do, from marketing and sales to daily operations and billing, more efficient, more effective and more consistent. PLUS if you ever want to sell your business, documented systems can make your business more valuable and also easier to sell.

But back to my opening, the comment on Facebook related to one of the key systems that McDonald’s is built upon – cleanliness.

This friend went into a McDonald’s store and it was not clean at all, in fact they thought it was disgusting. Had McDonald’s systems let them down? Had this store become complacent and not followed the organisation’s systems?

It’s hard to know exactly what caused this system breakdown at this particular McDonald’s store however we can use this example within our own businesses to reiterate how important it is to ensure we never become complacent ourselves. It is important to continually monitor our own systems and results (even in the good times) as bad habits can easily form and once formed can be extremely difficult to change.

NOTE: This example is also a timely reminder of the power of social media! The days of writing a complaint letter are long gone. Not only is a customer’s bad experience broadcast much quicker and easier via Facebook, it is also capable of reaching a far greater audience!


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