The best McDonald’s in the world

Jonathan Sweet, Editor In Chief

Christopher Gerber (
November 27, 2012
Filed under Jonathan Sweet

At a past job, I worked in Oak Brook, Ill., home to the world headquarters of McDonald’s and, not coincidentally, the best Golden Arches I have ever been to.

This McDonald’s was the fastest, cleanest, most efficient, best-staffed location of the ubiquitous chain I’ve ever visited. The food, while still fast food, even tasted better.

I became firmly convinced that the reason this location was so good was the simple fact that the employees were never sure who was going to walk through that door or come through the drive-thru: some lowly trade editor or the CEO or other top exec at Mickey D’s.

In other words, if your next customer has the ability to fire you, you’ve got to be on the top of your game. I’ve seen what I now call the “McDonald’s effect” at numerous other businesses as I travel throughout the country. Once you know to look for it, it’s easy to spot. As a rule, if I’m visiting a city where a restaurant, hotel or store is headquartered, I always try to eat, stay or shop there.

So the challenge is creating that culture at your company everyday. Even as a small, one-location business you can’t see everything that goes on. The most important step, of course, is hiring right in the first place. After that, one of the simplest ways is using customer surveys as an important part of employee evaluations.

Or consider mystery shopping firms. This is what some of the biggest corporations do to manage their far-flung locations. (If you’re going to do that, be sure to work with a company that is part of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association or MSPA to make sure they are legitimate.)

Make sure your employees understand why good customer service is important. Point to the financial benefits for the company, and for them. And be sure to reward and recognize employees for good service – and remove those employees that don’t buy in.


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