How Has McDonald's Maintain Consistency Throughout Years

Big Visioners
5 min readSep 12, 2020

The fast-food industry has grown from $6 billion in sales from 1970 to over $570 billion today globally. The restaurant leading the industry is famous for its burgers, fries and a drink. Employing over 210,000 people, How did McDonald’s go from a San Bernardino restaurant to over 37,855 outlets in 120 countries, having a global impact?

MacDonald was founded by two brothers Richard and Maurice James McDonald in San Bernardino, California. It was later bought by Ray Kroc, Kroc was a salesman from Illinois who after receiving a big order from brother for a mixer decided to go and see them in 1954. He saw that the customers were pleased with the food they were receiving, and they had big line ups.

Before Ray, the brothers were selling $200,000 worth of food a year, from their ‘Speedee Service Systems’ know today as fast food. One day they started to think of ways to improve their service and decided to shut doors and reopened in three months. The result was a shorter menu but a lot more effective system.

Inspired by Henry Ford’s assembly line at the time, the brothers build a system where they could serve their customers quickly. With a handful of employees, everyone had a task, and the service was quick. Historians have it that the first customer at the newly reopened McDonald’s was a 9-year-old girl ordering a bag of hamburgers. With the approach of selling to the masses, they dropped their prices down by 50%. The brothers introduced, french fries as we know of them today and also introduced milkshakes. Searching for a mixer machine they ran into Ray Kroc. Ray interesting served in the Military alongside Walt Disney.

Ray Kroc

In 1961, Kroc purchased the franchise from brothers for $2.7 million. Ray had a vision from the very beginning, his leadership guided McDonald from one location in Des Plaines, Illinois to a global restaurant franchise. Under his leadership, MacDonald soon opened 1000 outlets before the end of the decade.

No one expected the company to become, what they are today. McDonald’s, more than any other fast-food franchise, changed the way we eat and the way we spend our money. Not by changing their hamburger, but because they created a better business system.

Ray Kroc took it mainstream by taking the idea in one store and duplicating it to the next. From the very beginning, Ray wanted to build a system, rather than to rely on a brand. Growth was rapid in the 1990s, McDonald was opening a store somewhere in the world every five hours. It effectively became the most popular family restaurant, emphasizing affordable food, and a fun place for the family to be at.

Ray’s belief in building a system, was strong, in 1961 he launched a training school, “Hamburger University” the University is a training facility of McDonald’s, located in Chicago, Illinois. The corporate university was designed to instruct, personnel employed by McDonald’s in the various aspects of restaurant management.

With a vision of serving everyone, everywhere consistently. The school emphasizes “consistent restaurant operations procedures, service, quality and cleanliness. Today, anyone looking to own a McDonald’s location has to attend the program to learn and implement Ray Kroc’s vision. This helps the franchise keep consistency and also increases productivity.

If you have been to a drive-thru of MacDonald, you may have noticed the two windows. This concept was also implemented by Ray Kroc. The goals of having two separate windows were to have a quick turnaround for customers at a drive-thru, one to pay, one to get food.

McDonald’s is always looking for ways to innovate. In 2014 McDonald’s spent approximately $3 Billion on restaurant renovations, creating a more family-friendly environment for people to stay longer and socialize, introducing WIFI, upgrading children’s playing area. They also constantly test out new items for their menus. When they were starting out they had, a burger, fries, and a drink but things such as Filet-O-Fish, salads, Happy Meal were added later. But McDonald does not randomly introduce an item, as a-CEO James Skinner once said “McDonald’s doesn’t put something on the menu until it can be produced at the speed of McDonald’s.”

They work closely with experts for nutrition and children’s well-being. Looking to improve their service time they introduced smartphone ordering and self-service kiosks.

With the strong foundation of having effective processes and procedures, welcoming innovation, fighting through challenges, listening to their customers, and by maintain consistency, they have built confidence in their customers for the brand. McDonald’s is a place where their team members are asked to be friendly and provide “service with a smile”, a place for children to be at, a place where you can socialize, making them one of the largest restaurant operators in the world.