By Ron VandenBoom
It takes 42 seconds to grill a hamburger and 11 seconds to toast a bun. From beginning to end it takes only 90 seconds to construct a hot and fresh sandwich.
Its an improvement that many customers to the Havre McDonalds perhaps never noticed, but the heat lamps are gone and making the customers order hot, fresh, and just the way they want it, is the motto for the future.
Carson and Moe Coryell, who bought the local McDonalds franchise in August 1993 and are co-owners and working managers of the popular fast food outlet, are in the midst of an extensive remodeling of the business.
Weve moved some walls, weve moved our grill, we changed our total production system, said Carson Coryell about the changes.
Everything in the new kitchen, from the toasters to the hamburger grill, has been designed specifically for McDonalds. It is very high-tech and very efficient.
Its quieter, its neater, and theres no waste to speak of because we only make what you need, Coryell said. Were moving into what theyre calling hot and fresh, just for you.
Coryell explained the new system begins with the clerk who takes the customers order. As soon as the clerk places the order in the computer it comes up on a screen in the back where the crew instantly begins preparing the sandwich. A process that takes only 90 seconds from beginning to end.
The new system works like an assembly line where four employees, each with a specific job to do, complete the sandwich.
Everybody has their job, from the initiator to the terminator, Moe Coryell said, explaining the employees like the term terminator best, probably because of the movie.
Gone are the days when the clerk had to yell the order into the back of the kitchen and the cooks had to try and guess what food might next be needed. Gone too are the heat lamps where the cooks guesses were stored until the customer placed an order requesting that type of sandwich.
Now the customers can special order what they want on their burgers and it requires no more time to make them than other orders, Carson Coryell said.
Fast food may be what McDonalds is best known for, but in Havre it also has a well deserved reputation as one of the largest employers of high school-age teens entering the job market for the first time. Currently, it has about 50 employees, most of whom are teen-agers.
Training first-time employees is a unique responsibility the Coryells take seriously.
Were here to teach them responsibility and what its like to have a job and be responsible, Moe Coryell said. To learn to be punctual, to learn how youre supposed to dress, how you should act, how you should respect authority, a lot of things you dont realize when you first have a job. Thats what were here to teach you.
Coryell said McDonalds is the biggest first-time employer of high school students in the country.
Thats where I started, she said. As a crew person in St. Louis.
Coryell said McDonalds also can present opportunities for advancement for many young people citing the current president/CEO of McDonalds Corporation as someone who started his career working as a crew person.
But she is also very proud of the number of senior citizens who find employment in her business.
Its a good diverse group, she said. Other employers too know when theyve worked for McDonalds, theyve got the training.
The Coryells also enjoy contributing to charity, both on the local level and through the Ronald McDonald House in Billings.
The most common sign of the Coryells effort is what they call the Orange Bowl.
We donate it out to non-profit groups, said Coryell. All they have to do is call us up and make a reservation and they come pick it up and we donate the juice and ice and cups.
According to Carson about 20 of the Orange Bowls at any given time can be in and out.
The Coryells also sit on the Board of Directors of the Ronald McDonald House in Montana where the parents of critically ill children can stay for $5 a night while their kids are in the hospital.