October 19, 2010

And in other news: McDonald's is taking over the world (or at least the news)

From Fast Company: McDonald's experience design of the future:
The next phase, McDonald's execs say, depends on design. "People eat with their eyes first," says president and COO Don Thompson. "If you have a restaurant that is appealing, contemporary, and relevant both from the street and interior, the food tastes better.
As the younger generation starts to see McDonald's as a place you go to eat instead of just picking up food, you could very well change their behavior for years to come," says Darren Tristano of restaurant consultancy Technomic. "The next step," he says, "is to draw people in for a dining experience."
As previously discussed about Starbucks:
"How do you increase service speed and efficiency and optimize the customer experience at the same time?"
Line of interaction
"If Martians came to Earth and visited a McDonald's, a post office, and a bank, they wouldn't be able to tell the difference. They would just see that everything starts with a line, has a counter that acts as a divider where the money exchanges, and has something hidden going on way in the back."
On technology innovations (self service):
 A few minutes later, the mother and son try a prototype of a self-ordering kiosk. "Oh, you already know what you are ordering," Karen exclaims, when Joey starts interacting with it like a video game.  "The mom and son shared a moment while looking over that menu," he says. "And the kid obviously felt empowered by the kiosk. It gives customers more control and makes it easier to make decisions. Those are the directions we might want to explore."
On integrating design into operations:
""We don't design in a vacuum here. If an idea doesn't come alive in the restaurant, it doesn't work. Once you can see it," Weil says, "you can show it to an operations person and they can see the differences and they usually get it." And if they don't? "Repeat often," he says. "This is the only way to line up what we are doing with our business needs."
On experience design (old post on oatmeal here):
Weil has restored some live entertainment value by positioning McCafé barista stands next to the registers. Customers can view their drinks made with traditional espresso machines that pull fresh shots and steamed milk on demand -- just the way Starbucks used to do before it got too big. At breakfast, employees must stir a cup of oatmeal a minimum of 12 times before serving it to the customer, both to mix the ingredients properly and to signal homemade goodness.
On queuing or wait perception:
Weil and his team have a patent pending on a design that adds an additional window for people with enormous orders. The drive-through of the renovated Kearney store, a rural outpost just past Kansas City's suburbs, features two lanes of cars lined up at two different ordering kiosks. This rejiggered drive-through isn't going to find its way into MoMA, but functionally, it's genius: It consolidates the traffic around the restaurant so everything appears much less gridlocked.
And finally, on sequence:
Rather than the usual swinging gate in front of the trash bin, this one is open faced with a slimmer, oval-shaped slot that still seems to shield customers from an unpleasant view or smell. He leans over and slides his trash off the tray and into the receptacle. This is the last step in the customer experience. "It always took two hands to operate," he says, one to hold the gate open and one to fumble with the tray. "I wanted it to be quick and easy, to leave the customer with a good impression as they leave."

In other news, from CNN: Weddings at McDonald's or "Can you hear the fry bells ringing? Would you like an apple pie-cake with that?"  

The package has all the details to attract a wedding banquet cynic or a Golden Arches obsessive: a baked apple pie wedding cake, dress made out of party balloons, kiddie party favors for guests, and of course, catering by McDonald’s.
In still other news, McDonald's is the winner in the Cornell Hospitality Research in Practice Award competition
McDonald's has evolved its menu many times over the years, basing their modifications on customers' preferences and tastes. Their strategic plan to enter the beverage market space was no exception. Since the coffee market space was already crowded, McDonald's developed its McCafĂ© Beverage Program by methodically testing all products in three different ways. Every product had to pass customer taste tests, operations testing, and market analysis. 
And some older McDonald's related links:

Photo of isolated seating in Japan

Smooth supply chain Smoothie roll out

hat tip: Tyler Cowen 

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