McDonald’s just made a big announcement. Is it smart or just lucky?

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Of all the large companies that I have observed and reported on during the coronavirus pandemic, McDonald’s could be the most interesting – and perhaps the luckiest.

McDonald’s has radically changed the way it operates, but it has also been in a better position than many other retailers, simply because much of its business has already come from customers behind the wheel.

In fact, McDonald’s spent $ 300 million on a technology acquisition to create the so-called drive-through of the future last year. Good timing, if you ask me.

Now, however, we come to a point where McDonald’s is facing the same problem that so many of its competitors face – in virtually any retail business or in contact with customers.

So let’s see if McDonald’s luck still stands. On Friday there were two big back-to-back announcements:

First, McDonald’s has joined the list of other major U.S. companies that will require customers to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in every store across the country – even where they aren’t required by local law.

Second, McDonald’s has announced that it will suspend reopening of dining rooms for an additional 30 days.

Let’s take the second ad first, because it could be bigger. In June, McDonald’s announced great news: a plan to hire 260,000 new workers at McDonald’s restaurants across the country.

But, those workers were supposed to get on board to help open dining rooms that had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. And earlier this month, due to the worsening situation, McDonald’s said it was delaying plans until the end of July.

Now it looks like it will be the end of August before these reopenings – and the impact of these new jobs, which alone could change the unemployment rate if they all came at the same time.

It is unfortunate for new hires and for McDonald’s as a whole. But this is again tempered by the fact that a large portion of McDonald’s revenue came from drive-thru, which is not affected.

Then there is the McDonald’s mask ad. It’s interesting to note the exact wording of McDonald’s statement about the change:

“To protect the safety of our employees and customers, we will require all customers to wear face masks when entering our US restaurants starting August 1. “

I think “ask” is the key word. Dig deeper into the statement, and McDonald’s says that “in situations where a customer refuses to wear a face mask, we will put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly and expedited manner. “

The policy suggests not to put low-paid employees in a position to try to impose a restriction on clients. However, McDonald’s is even taking advantage of the announcement of its mask, as it only applies inside restaurants.

Again, many McDonald’s are closed for food service and the date when they will reopen keeps getting pushed back, meaning that even more than before, McDonald’s is primarily a drive-through business – and the Executive Order masks is not much of a drive-thru issue.

I should mention a third announcement that McDonald’s made on Friday: the addition of protective signs and barriers to at least some restaurants. But given the delay in reopening both inside the dining room, it seems less important at the moment.

The great French chemist and inventor Louis Pasteur is credited with inventing the phrase: “Chance favors the prepared mind”.

I hope it’s no exaggeration to say that in the case of McDonald’s, the coronavirus, and the company’s focus on drive-thru as the most efficient part of its business, luck favors also the prepared company.

I’m pretty sure there is a lesson here for your business.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.

Of all the large companies that I have monitored and reported on during the coronavirus pandemic, McDonald’s could be the most interesting – and perhaps the luckiest.

n

McDonald’s has radically changed the way it operates, but it has also been in a better position than many other retailers, simply because so much of its business has already come from customers behind the wheel.

n

In fact, McDonald’s spent $ 300 million on a technology acquisition to create the so-called drive-through of the future just last year. Good timing, if you ask me.

n

Now, however, we come to a point where McDonald’s is facing the same problem that so many of its competitors face – in virtually any retail business or in contact with customers.

n

So let’s see if McDonald’s luck still stands. On Friday there were two big back-to-back announcements:

n

First, McDonald’s has joined the list of other large U.S. companies that will require customers to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in every store across the country – even where they aren’t required by local law.

n

Second, McDonald’s has announced that it will suspend reopening of dining rooms for an additional 30 days.

n

Let’s take the second ad first, because it could be bigger. In June, McDonald’s announced great news: a plan to hire 260,000 new workers at McDonald’s restaurants across the country.

n

But, those workers were supposed to get on board to help open dining rooms that had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. And earlier this month, due to the worsening situation, McDonald’s said it was delaying plans until the end of July.

n

Now it looks like it will be the end of August before these reopenings – and the impact of these new jobs, which on their own could change the unemployment rate if they all came at once.

n

It is unfortunate for new hires and for McDonald’s as a whole. But this is again tempered by the fact that a large portion of McDonald’s revenue came from drive-thru, which is not affected.

n

Then there is the McDonald’s mask ad. It’s interesting to note the exact wording of McDonald’s statement about the change:

n

“To protect the safety of our employees and customers, we will require all customers to wear face masks when entering our US restaurants starting August 1.”

n

I think “asking” is the key word. Dig deeper into the statement, and McDonald’s says that “in situations where a customer refuses to wear a face mask, we will put in place additional procedures to take care of them in a friendly and prompt manner.”

n

The policy suggests not to put low-paid employees in a position to try to impose a restriction on clients. However, McDonald’s is even taking advantage of the announcement of its mask, as it only applies inside restaurants.

n

Again, many McDonald’s are closed for food service and the date when they will reopen keeps getting pushed back, meaning that even more than before, McDonald’s is primarily a drive-through business – and the Executive Order masks is not much of a drive-thru issue.

n

I should mention a third announcement that McDonald’s made on Friday: the addition of protective signs and barriers to at least some restaurants. But given the delay in reopening both inside the dining room, it seems less important at the moment.

n

The great French chemist and inventor Louis Pasteur is credited with inventing the phrase: “Chance favors only prepared minds.”

n

I hope it’s no exaggeration to say that in the case of McDonald’s, the coronavirus, and the company’s focus on drive-thru as the most efficient part of its business, luck favors also the prepared company.

n

I’m pretty sure there is a lesson here for your business.

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