Learning From McDonalds

I have a habit of observing teams wherever I go. Drives my family nuts – but having a passion for what I do means I’m always looking to learn, and sometimes this comes from unexpected places.

There’s a particular McDonalds I stop at with the family (Bassett’s Pole – B75 5SA) which is mid-way between our home and my parents place. Over the last few years I’ve never failed to be impressed with everything that happens there. 




Let me list some examples of things I see consistently there, but rarely (or never) at others….

– Any time there’s a queue and an available cash register , any member of the crew will step up and open a line. Manager, shift supervisor – anyone. The important thing is clearly that the queue is short, not the status of the employee.

(I’ve seen the managers emptying trash, running across the car park in the rain carrying orders, helping clean tables)

– Last time I was there the manager looked out and saw a queue had built up. Then started ferrying the cups between the fountain and the tills, and restocking the high traffic items. Helping the crew to serve faster. 

– I have four children, on several occasions extra toys from previous months happy meals have magically appeared on the table with a smile. 

– The food is always, repeat always hot. I’ve often returned to the line with a cold sandwich in other places. Never here – because the crew are checking the temperature as they pick it off the slide, not relying 100% on the system.

– The guys that run round keeping the place spotless are clearly part of the crew. They laugh and smile with visitors and the rest of the team.

– There’s usually someone being trained, and I’ve yet to see micromanagement going on. Equally, if there’s a question – there’s no hesitation from the trainee in asking for help.

– These guys think outside the box. My daughter likes her burger with just the ketchup. With four children there’s a lot of orders to get through but sometimes she’ll still be waiting for hers whilst the rest of us eat. Not here. Last time, the crew member excused himself mid way through my order to ask the chefs for it – that way, he explained, everything would arrive at once.

So what’s my point? This is one of the best teams I’ve ever seen – they seem to naturally exhibit all the things that we try so hard to learn from books and experience and pass into more office based environments.

The team at Bassett’s Pole are innovative, clearly place the customer first, their managers lead by example, there’s a lot of fun happening – and they break the rules when it makes sense to do so. 

It’s not a dictatorship – nobody seems to being told what to do, the team just do the right thing when needed, and help each other to give the customer the best possible experience.

And it has to affect their bottom line – we’re not only willing to stay hungry for an extra hour on the journey to stop there, but happy to do so. I’m sure many others do the same. 

If you work on the corporate side of McDonalds, or own that particular franchise – please go out of your way to congratulate them. I’ve stopped a few times on my way out to tell them what an amazing job they do – but I’m darn sure it would mean more coming from you 🙂



**** Update: This weekend we visited again. My Dad accidentally knocked his half empty cup of tea, and spilled some on the table and the floor. Before he could go and get a napkin, one of the team was there to clean it up…….and then, out of the blue returned two minutes later with a fresh cup of tea and a smile. Just brilliant *****
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