What Orange Soda Can Teach You About Processes

Quick update before we get into today’s post.

We welcomed our 6th child to the family at the end of October. She’s an amazing little girl.

We had some struggles the first two weeks, but were able to work with some great doctors to get her eating properly. Now she’s gaining weight and growing stronger every day.

All of us are still getting used to the routines of having a newborn in the house again.

Having clear routines helped the kids and I keep our house on track while my wife and the baby recovered.

Now to today’s lesson:

TLDR; Orange soda reminded me to implement one simple process, step, or task to make sure the businesses I work with deliver consistency in a way that makes it nearly impossible to mess up.


Being at the hospital for my daughter’s birth I realized how much happens behind the scenes to make them run effectively.

Everything from delivering medication, taking vitals, cleaning rooms, sterilizing equipment, and delivering in room meals has a clearly defined process.

I’ll come back to the operational efficiencies of hospitals later, today I want to look at McDonalds and the lesson I learned from a cup of orange soda.

After my daughter was born, I was lucky enough to take two weeks off and focus on my three year old son and my other kids.

I wanted my wife and baby to be able to rest, and I wanted him to know he was still loved and taken care of.

We spent almost every hour of those two weeks together. During the day we’d go on dad-and-lad adventures.

And one day I asked him what his favorite place to have lunch was…

“McDonalds!” he yelled.

I think it has something to do with getting a toy with the meal…

We went in, ordered at the kiosk (I’ll write something up in the future about how we’re losing touch with our humanity)

Our meals came (his toy too), and we continued enjoying our time together.

Then I looked down at my orange soda and saw this:


Clearly labeled you can see the exact amount of ice that should be in the cup for different drinks.

You can clearly see what exact drinks belong in this cup and what size drink it should be.

Recently McDonalds changed a corporate policy so that their staff pours the first drink you order and deliver it with your meal.

The only way to ensure this policy worked without pissing off customers with too little or too much ice was to create a system; hence the line and labels on the cup.

As I wrote about in the first edition of this newsletter, one of the most important things about documenting your processes is making them Private-Proof.

Definition: Private Proof

Army instructions so simple that brand new Soldiers, aka Privates, can complete the task without screwing anything up.

McDonalds knows their typical employees are teens or people new to the workforce.

They know that consistency is one of the reasons people come to McDonalds to eat.

You get the same exact burger every time you go, no matter where you are in the world.

So this begs a question in your business…

When it comes to your products, what is one simple process, step, or task that you can add to your system to make sure you deliver consistency in a way that makes it nearly impossible to mess up.

For my business, this is having clearly defined templates that anyone on the teams I work with can follow.

When businesses use SOPs and templates, they:

  • consistently create higher quality products and services,
  • almost eliminate bone-headed mistakes
  • decrease the time it takes to deliver that product,
  • reduce training time for new team members,
  • and ultimately lead to higher profits and happier customers.

Click Here To Get My Fill-In-The-Blank SOP Template so you can streamline your processes

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About the Author

Robby helps busy business owners simplify and automate their productivity systems so they have more time to focus on what they're best at. He helps you design and implement plans and systems so you can work ON your business, not IN your business. Companies such as Productive Magazine, Nozbe, Matt McWilliams, and Notable Themes have trusted Robby to share his productivity systems, increase sales, and create a better customer experience.