book types & parts design & typography production & publishing

Fast food transformation

An operations manual is a 24/7 reference tool. It helps guide someone unfamiliar with your business through the day-to-day operating procedures. In 1958 McDonald’s Corporation created a 75-page operations and training manual. It specified how each menu item should look—french fries cut exactly 0.28 inches thick, hamburgers placed on the grill in six neat rows.

Fast forward fifty-plus years where fast food cooking instructions are designed into kitchen equipment. Crew members rely on panels of images. Instructions that must be printed are written at a fifth grade reading level in English and a second language.

Your operation functions without you

To transform the production-line prototype, redesigned kitchen equipment had to be intuitive. R&D obliged by developing cookers that work only one way. The easier equipment is to use, the easier it is for global fast-food restaurants not to have to train workers. Recognizing high turnover within fast food establishments, fast food execs aimed for “zero training” as documented in Fast Food Nation.

authors & audience

Scanning v reading

I came across a business article that reads in part, “… we will use a link from XI — our [acquired] platform — to our [existing] platform …”.

Hmm? How does the author want us to pronounce the word “XI”? Possible options are:

  • Eleven
  • Ex-Eye
  • Zee

Does pronunciation matter? Perhaps not so much in scanning. But when you’re pitching a product, knowing how it’s pronounced matters big. However, anyone reading the article might find it helpful to know that “XI” refers to, let’s say, the eleventh release.

If your product name matters, then treat it like your own name. Don’t make me guess it wrong.