There’s no question about it, McDonald’s changed the fast food game many years ago.

They were first to realize that if you offered decent food, clean restrooms, and good service quickly, you could win in the market. And, they did.

Of course, the McDonald’s of old is not the McDonald’s of today. Their hamburgers won’t win any taste tests and their service has much to be desired. And, these problems are compounded by their competition. Chick-fil-A, for example, is now the gold standard for customer service and 5 Guys wins the hamburger taste test in every market they enter.

The one thing McDonald’s still has going for it, though, is they still provide fast service. You drive up or walk in, place your order, and receive your food and drink within a couple of minutes, tops (yeah, there are exceptions).

AH, BUT SPEED CAN BE A BLESSING AND A CURSE.

Here’s what I mean. When you go to a good restaurant to get high quality food, the last thing you expect is for your order to come quickly. And, if it does, you immediately become concerned.

Why?

Well, we know from experience, or intuition, that custom, handmade items take time to produce. We expect to wait.There is an expectation of quality and superior taste.

Now, back to fast food for a moment.

When 5 Guys came on the market, they made it very clear that their hamburgers were made to order and never frozen. Wendy’s also claims that their hamburgers are never frozen.

Funny. We believe 5 Guys, but we don’t believe Wendy’s.

Why?

Speed. We aren’t made to wait at Wendy’s like we are at 5 Guys. So, the perception is that Wendy’s hamburgers were a blob of cold, stiff meat before it hit the grill.

Here’s the thing: If you want a 5 Guys hamburger, you know that you’re going to have to take a number, and wait. But, you don’t mind waiting. We’ve been trained, if you will, to wait.

THERE IS A PERCEPTION THAT THE “BEST OF” TAKES TIME TO PRODUCE.

A handmade watch takes months or, in some cases, over a year to produce. A mass produced watch takes minutes. You are willing to wait and pay dearly for the former, but not the latter.

Yes, time (to complete a task) communicates.

If a graphic designer, for example, says that he can produce a custom logo for you in two hours, you are automatically skeptical. Well, you should be. It takes days to capture the brand essence. As such, you begin wondering, what template is he using? Will my logo look and feel like that of ten thousand others? Probably.

Yeah, that would be a problem.

Okay. As you develop your brand, be careful how you communicate time or speed to market. Now, if speed to market matches your mission, then, by all means, go for it. Otherwise, don’t let speed kill your brand.

Cool? Cool.

Now, go fill your second cup.

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