Or Saving the day for McDonald’s!
A few months ago I started a series of articles explaining what I had learned about forming strategic partnerships and what it takes to do so.
Eventually, all key relationships need to become strategic and intertwined in each other’s interest. If we don’t ramp them up to that level, competitors and alternatives will fill our place very quickly. The cost of playing catch up is rarely cheap. Worse, it can result in lost business and eventually lost customers.
In a couple of these earlier articles, I provided detail about how we helped McDonald’s open new countries. In this final article of the series and to celebrate my 100th blog, I would like to take you through the last parts of the opening of new countries process.
In South Africa, we became very integrated with McDonald’s. In 1995, McDonald’s decided to make a grand opening in Sandford, a suburb of Johannesburg, followed by a second opening a week later in Cape Town.
On the lead up to the opening, Wolf Fischer (a colleague of mine, who had worked for McDonald’s and had unique and practical solutions for everything) got very involved. As lines built up like a Disney chain link outside the Sandford restaurant, all the last-minute checks were being made; such as cookers, fryers, beverage dispensers, POP systems and tills.
McDonald’s was only too aware that this experience in a new country was, for some, the opportunity to have their favorite fast food again for the first time in the country they lived; or for many more, their first McDonald’s experience ever. Therefore, it had to be good. It had to be better than good. It had to be of excellent quality, with super service, served in a wonderfully clean environment and be of great value.
About 15 minutes before opening the doors, as the final checks were being completed, it was discovered that the electronic tills were not operating. They would open and shut, but not calculate change or register orders. We looked at the enormous lines of people wrapping around the building and a drive-thru of cars that counted over 100, just waiting for the doors to open.