Are You Ready?

Since it’s Lent, the Catholic schoolgirl in me couldn’t resist a trip to McDonald’s today for a fish sandwich. (It brought back a flood of school cafeteria memories for me.)

Regardless of what you may think about the latest McDonald’s TV campaign, Gimme that Fish, the thing that impressed me more than anything else is that it was a perfect fish sandwich. That may be because I haven’t had one since last year at this time, but I think it was more than that. What struck me is this: a sandwich that flawlessly executed doesn’t happen by accident.

To be successful, restaurants have to be ready to be successful. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about being promotionally ready. I just finished up a project in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association and The Ohio State University developing a new general manager training program. It was fascinating.

♦ We aren’t really teaching GM’s. We are dissecting the steps involved in doing various tasks in a variety of disciplines from managing purchasing to managing the physical facility to growing the brand.

♦ In our meeting, the brand-building team talked not only about planning the promotion, but also being ready for the promotion.

♦ One of our team members, having worked on the McDonald’s business years ago, talked about McDonald’s “crew execution kit” for new campaigns.

♦ That’s the secret that takes execution from hit or miss to consistently flawless.

This idea of an intentional internal campaign to be media ready in the face of a promotional rollout is not a new idea. Nor is it limited to McDonald’s. I first became aware of the idea years ago from my friends at Brinker, and I was reminded of it again in the stories surrounding Denny’s free Grand Slam, which brought everyone into the game from operations to purchasing to facilities to training and every other area of the enterprise.

We know that events, promotions or even cyclical or seasonal variables can drive visits by light or lapsed users. What better time to re-engage consumers through a great guest experience?

The equation is simple…Make people want to come in. Make people want to come back. The best restaurant operators work company-wide to make sure that if marketing brings them in, operations brings them back.

Until next time, I’d love to hear your thoughts.