Have you visited Taco Bell lately? At least in the area where I live, if you pull up to the drive-thru, you will be asked "how are you today?" As I was expecting the typical "how can I help you today" or "go ahead with your order whenever you are ready", this surprised me a bit. So I answered, "fine, thank you."
However, the experience again began to impress me in that the reason why franchises in general are successful are because they can create processes for everything! Yes, they can create processes for their food preparation, and although I personally believe that franchise food is marginal at best, people go there because they always know exactly what to expect. However, the more fascinating aspect is that processes can be created for other aspects of the business such as accounting procedures, order intake, cleanliness procedures, etc, and in the case of Taco Bell, customer service. I have not researched it at all, but I am fairly certain that the Taco Bell drive thru workers are specifically training in how to address the customers. This makes it easy for the franchise owners to ensure a certain level of customer service every time!
What can YOU learn from this? Well, even if you are not interested in owning or operating a franchise, you can learn from them by creating processes for every aspect of YOUR business. In turn, this will not only allow your customers to know exactly what to expect and improve your reliability, but it will also help your business to run more smoothly.
A great book to check out that talks more about the critical importance of processes and imitating what franchises do well is The Emyth Revisited by Michael Gerber.