“The Speedee Service System applied the principles of production line manufacture to fast food, and formed the foundation of what Ray Kroc would later leverage to create the world’s largest food outlet chain, and epitomise the Business Format Franchise Model.”
Day 1: I started “dressing buns,” that is, applying mustard and ketchup and pickles to the hamburger buns and from there, every 6 weeks, I rotated to another department, french fries, grill, milk shakes, etc., and after I had mastered every one of them I reached the honorable and greatly sought position of working on the counter, taking orders, using the cash register. WOW! It was not until AFTER I learned the entire system was I allowed to step right up front and represent the whole company to the public at large. (now, they stick the ugliest and stupidest people on the counter and just taking your order, with every convenience in the world, is almost more than they can muster — true genetic defects — individual and corporate)
Yep, each order — and there were hundreds each day, was written down in detail in little “ticket books” and get this, less than 60 seconds later the customer received their HOT order. The cash register was the old skool type where you had to type in the prices of each item and then hit the “Total” button that then printed a small receipt. No colorful pictures on the screen, no automated anything, all of it done by hand, the long way, but very fast and very efficient.
In 1970 McDonald’s full menu consisted of: hamburger 19 cents, cheeseburger 24 cents, dbl hamburger 29 cents, dbl cheeseburger 34 cents, big mac 45 cents, fish sandwich 35 cents, french fries 19 cents, coke, root beer, orange, sprite 19 cents small and 24 cents large, milkshakes — choc, van, straw 35 cents, apple pie 19 cents. There ya go, McDonald’s circa 1970 entire menu, complete.
Meanehile, halfway across the country, I was working at a Mickey D’s, and the only thing I remember that was different was that we had even older old-skool registers: we took the orders with an actual pencil, and rang up only the total on the shiny stainless-steel machine.
Oh, and this:
Amazingly, very few people got fired from McDonald’s, everybody was glad to have the opportunity to work. Most that were in my age group simply moved on eventually. Me? After almost year at $1.15 an hour, I graduated from 2 different schools a couple weeks before my 17th birthday and received a job offer from the largest architectural firm in the county so I quit. My new job paid $1.45 to start.
Amazingly, I was getting paid a buck ninety-five to do the same things, mostly because I was able to work flexible schedules: I could close the store one night at 11 and open it the next morning at 9. (This was before McDonald’s reinvented breakfast.)