Four Things McDonald’s Teaches Us About Business Systems

No one comes close to McDonald’s when it comes to implementing business systems. Here, we’ll take four lessons from the best in the game on how to create a solid system. 


Marianne spent three decades of her life working at McDonald’s. 

She started with flipping burgers. 

Then, she became a restaurant manager. 

A few more promotions later, she was finally asked to lead McDonald’s support services department. 

She was put in charge of the company’s internal customer services department, working closely with their head offices. That meant Marianne was in a position where she could create new business systems for the fast-food giant. 

For example, she created new systems for receiving and responding to customer reviews and feedback. 

This was a huge deal, given that McDonald’s rapid expansion was only made possible because of its strong systems. 

And being in a position to create new systems for the company gave Marianne a unique insight. Particularly as to what exactly makes McDonald’s a powerhouse when it comes to implementing systems. 

In this article, we’ll share some of those insights so you could use them to create stronger systems in your business. These systems, in turn, can help you grow and scale your business to new levels. 


How Systems are Implemented in McDonald’s

One of Marianne’s biggest realizations while working at McDonald’s is that systems are implemented much more than they are discussed. 

She shares that when you’re in McDonald’s, no one really talks about systems as a concept. And yet, there’s a very specific way things are run in the back office, in the kitchen, and in the register.

Every new hire, trainee, or apprentice is taught this particular way of doing things… until it simply becomes a way of life for every member of the organization. 

Sounds quite simple, right?

Marianne thought so too, at first. 

She’d spent so much time with McDonald’s’ system-based operations that she didn’t even think there was another way of doing business. And yet, the moment she left McDonald’s to work with another business…

She learned that not every operation runs on systems. In fact, some business owners don’t even know what a system is or how to use it to streamline their operations and scale their business. 

Marianne then realized this was the very reason why many businesses struggle to match McDonald’s success. 

So, in a bid to help you utilize the power of systems in your business… and perhaps even catch up to how well McDonald’s implements theirs… I asked Marianne to share the most important lessons she’s learned about systems.


4 Lessons from McDonald’s World-Class Systems

Lesson #1: Systems should be simple


The entire point of having systems in your business is to make your operations as simple and as efficient as possible.

That’s why you must avoid complicated systems at all costs. Otherwise, it will just defeat the purpose of having systems in the first place. 

Take, for instance, the highly popular McDonald’s drive-thru. Isn’t it amazing how it very rarely causes traffic – and how you could be in and out with your food in 10 minutes? 

That’s a simple system at work. 

McDonald’s has made it a very straightforward process for its customers to get their order in on the first window… pay for it on the second… and pick up their food on the third. 

That’s the level of simplicity you want to have when it comes to your own business operations. 


Lesson #2: Systems must be logical


Apart from being simple, business systems must also be logical. So much so that your team members would never dream of doing things any other way. 

Think of it this way.

In McDonald’s, no matter which branch you visit, they cook their fries the same way. They prepare their burgers the same way. And they even clear the tables and serve your food the same way. 

Not one employee there would even consider doing things differently. 

They don’t have to, because someone a long time ago took the time to identify the most logical system of doing things. 

If you could achieve this in your own business, you’d be set for some stress-free workdays. 


Lesson #3: Systems have to be repeatable

The magic of having McDonald’s-esque systems is that your operations will never be crippled. 

Even if a team member jets off to a vacation or suddenly gets sick, someone else from the team could step in and do their job… and do it right. That’s because they simply have to follow the system by which things have always been done. 

That’s why McDonald’s is never stressed about part-timers moving on, or even regular employees ghosting them. They know anyone who walks in the door can take the job just by following their systems. 

So, make sure your business systems are repeatable. That’s how you could prevent situations where there’s only one person who can do a specific task. 


Lesson #4: Systems must be followed to achieve a consistent operation


Systems are not meant to live in your archives. They shouldn’t be in folders or hard drives that no one ever looks at. Nor should they be brought up only once or twice in a meeting… and then never again. 

Instead, your systems should be lived and breathed by everyone in your business. 

In other words, they must be followed and implemented. Otherwise, you would never achieve consistently systemized operations. 

You could imagine that a McDonald’s employee who doesn’t follow their systems would quickly lose their job, right? 

That’s the kind of importance you should be putting in your own business’s systems. 


Start Building Strong Systems for Your Business


Now you’ve got the secret recipe to McDonald’s’ success: 

Strong, reliable, and repeatable systems. 

Just a dash of the same could do wonders for your business. But imagine if you pour as much effort as you could into creating and implementing these systems for your business. 

There’s just no telling how fast you could scale… and how much your business could grow. 


Now, if you need any help or guidance in building or installing solid systems in your business… just book a call with me at… and we’ll come up with a great plan together.