4 Lessons That Small Businesses Can Learn From McDonalds

There has been plenty of controversy surrounding McDonald’s sponsorship of the 2012 Olympic Games. When statistics claim that 1 in 4 UK children are overweight or obese, should a fast-food restaurant be allowed to flaunt itself at an event celebrating athletes at the peak of their physical fitness?
Further fuel was added to the fire when Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth, admitted that he had eaten a McDonald’s wrap prior to running his 100m final. Shocking stuff, although I rather feel that he probably burns enough calories during his daily training sessions to comfortably allow himself an occasional indulgence.

Love it or hate it McDonald’s also presents an interesting case as a business model. In 2011 their global turnover reached $27 billion, a staggering amount when you consider that they basically sell burgers and chips from restaurants staffed largely by teenagers. So what are they doing that makes them so successful and what can all business owners learn from them?

1) Systems – they have lots of them! They don’t need highly skilled staff they just need people who can learn to follow a system. The systems also allow them to roll out multiple branches and to sell franchises.
2) Consistency – every time you go to a McDonalds you know exactly what to expect, from the level of service to the quality of food. Again this is where their systems come in to play, right down to each burger bun being grilled for exactly the same amount of time.

3) Location, location, location – have you noticed how McDonalds always take prime sites? You always find them on the busiest section of the high street or just around the corner from the train station or even right in the middle of the Olympic Park.

4) Marketing – McDonalds have created a brand that is recognised around the world. Rarely does their advertising need to spell out their full name – everybody knows them by their “golden arches”.

So why not start implementing some McDonald’s lessons in your own business today? Think about what systems you have in place, document them and make sure that everyone is following them. Most importantly make sure the systems involve you, the business owner, as little as possible. That way you free up your time to think about what other improvements you can make.

Nicola Pearson – Partner

Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936.
Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272 or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.