From Scott Beautier at the Economic Way of Thinking who writes that he learned a lot about economics from working at McDonalds. He shares an example
That's why I find stories like this one about the Mc10:35 fascinating. At most McDonald's around 10:30 grills must be switched from breakfast to lunch. Shortly before the change-over, last runs of breakfast foods are cooked and held in warming ovens. Then, the grills are cleaned and heated up for burger runs. The challenge for the manager is to figure out how much breakfast to cook--cook too little and you have people with a "right" to breakfast at 10:20 but no eggs to sell; cook too much and your store owner is irate about product waste. It's one of the most challenging moments in any McDonald's restaurant's day (and the worst for quality food and service, by the way!).
By combining eggs, ham, and burger into one massive sandwich out here in San Francisco, some clever managers have created a Mc10:35 that has helped smooth the transition from breakfast to lunch. The sandwich can only be offered around this time (because of the different grill temps for eggs and burger), and it feeds the hungover while at the same time helping to reduce product waste for managers.
It's no surprise to me that McDonald's--a franchise that must always be tending towards efficiency--has found a partial solution to the transition problem. And, furthermore, it's no surprise at all to me that the discovery has come from some of the people in the trenches.
I worked for 8 years at Walgreens during the late 80's and early 90's, 4 of those years years as an assistant manager at various stores in the Omaha, Ne. area. Walgreens used to - and probably still does - have a rewards program for employee suggestions. Employees, using a standardized form, could suggest that stores do this or that to improve profitability. If the corporation adopted the suggestion as general policy, the employee would get some type of reward (the passage of time has eroded my memory to the point that I can't remember the exact reward).
The "suits" at Walgreens, as we used to call the district managers and other higher-ups, realized that discoveries and ideas come from local, decentralized knowledge. Encourage your employees to share their ideas with you, and you'll end up with a better company.
Update: I forgot to mention that this is via King Banaian on Facebook.