Last Saturday I was out early having some Bible study and prayer time in my mobile Covid coffeeshop, also known as my car. I was hungry and McDonald’s sounded good, but I have seriously lost faith in McDonald’s.
It seems like all of the fast food places are randomizers now. You give them a random amount of money, and they give you some random food. Have a nice day.
I was across town from my house and the sign outside this McDonald’s was different than the one near my house:
Open Interviews Thursday from 1-3
That’s all it said.
I pulled up and ordered via my phone and then selected the option to pickup my food from the drive-thru. (Note: this isn’t how you spell that word! McDonald’s so institutionalized the spelling of thru that it’s now acceptable!)
When I pulled up to the window and told them I had a ‘mobile order,’ they shocked me. “Alright Dan, pull around to the first window.”
She knows my name!
Of course she knew my name. It was on my mobile order. But she called me by name and that made all the difference.
I pulled up and got my sausage biscuit with egg AND my 50¢ biscuits and gravy (in app special) and was about to pull away.
But I didn’t have a fork.
No fork, no biscuits and gravy.
It took me a second to get the guy’s attention in the window, but when I did he came right over. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
“I don’t have a fork.” I said.
“Oh man, I’m so sorry! You can’t enjoy that B&G without a fork. That would be awful! Hold on a second,” and within just about a second he handed me a fork.
“Have a great day!” He said and I thanked him and drove away.
It was the best McDonald’s experience of my life.
Why I Knew it Would Be a Good Experience
The McDonald’s by my house has a different sign. It says:
Open Interviews Anytime
That means they will hire you anytime. Beggars can’t be choosers here. They need people so bad, they are interviewing 24/7 for somebody to come in and replace the steady stream of people leaving.
At the cross-town McDonald’s, you can only get on board from 1-3 on a Thursday afternoon.
The bar for interviews is higher, the level of service travels with it.
Symptoms and Systems
I’m sure there is a lot going on at both of those McDonald’s, but you can see they have exactly what they are working to have. One place can keep their employees and it’s obvious that their employees want to stay. They showed me hospitality (she knew my name!) and empathy (he knew how sad I’d be to eat my 50¢ B&G with my fingers.)
My nearby McDonald’s gives me random food and makes me feel guilty for interrupting their day. Now if I want McDonald’s, I’m probably going to drive 12 minutes across town to go back to the good one. On my way I may turn to any number of other burger or gyro joints. There really are better places for me.
Management and Culture
A fast food place or even an office can quickly underestimate the impact of a great company culture and the mood of the management. If the people are churning in and out, it’s not just the fault of the people. I’ve heard bad managers complain about how “you just can’t keep people” not realizing that the one thing all of those people had in common was that bad manager.
A culture of happy workers will always carry over to happy customers. So look for the fast food place that has high standards. It’ll show in the help wanted sign and in your 50¢ B&G.