- Quality control in the potato chip production process is elaborate, with each individual chip is scanned by computer and those deemed not up to snuff removed with a puff of air, effectively condemning it to the potato chip equivalent of Siberia.
- Rather than place chips in a bag after they made, the bag is actually built around the chips in order to reduce the chances of the chips crumbling and breaking, and is then vacuum-sealed for freshness.
- The pieces of salt down are cut down to their appropriate size with frickin' laser beams. I kid you not.
Take the snack wrap, which came about when restaurants started to see a plateau in sales volume of its Chicken Selects. McDonald's executive chef, suppliers, and franchisees got together at headquarters to figure out how to ramp up the turn of the crispy chicken strips. After chefs, food scientists, suppliers, and members of the menu-management team and advertising agency weighed in on how to define the product and pricing, the snack wrap had to pass muster with 150 to 200 consumers in focus groups.
It then went into a four- to six-week operational test in a handful of restaurants to determine if changes needed to be made in crew positioning or equipment. McDonald's had mastered the bun, but with the snack wrap, the menu-development team had a lot of work to do operationally around tortillas: What was the right packaging? How do you get them at the right temperature for the customer? What's the right amount of flexibility in the tortilla?