Do you associate consistency with profit? Let me tell you who does:
There are others as well - and please don't get me wrong, this isn't about big business smooshing out the little guy. I love buying local and shopping local, and small businesses can be just as successful as the big boys if they take a moment to be consistent.
Whether I go to Starbucks in the Detroit airport, Starbucks in Manitowoc, Wisconsin or the Starbucks in Seattle, Washington I can order a Venti non-fat caramel machiato with no whip and I will receive the same tasting beverage. There is no question about what it is that I want or what ingredients will go into it. The staff is trained as to what ingredients will be used, what the menu design will look like, what order to do things in, exactly what to say to each customer, etc...and personalization is encouraged, however variation is not.
I have lived and traveled in many cities and I know that regardless of who owns the Subway I am in, I will have the same choices, the same level of cleanliness, and the same healthy options. A Happy Meal at McDonalds will be the same, whether I am hitting the drive through on my way to the O'Hare or on the way to get my hair done in downtown Two Rivers. I could take a chance at driving through "Joe's burgers to go" but there is a 50/50 chance that the food could suck and I'm just not a gambler. I may not be totally in love with McDonalds, but I know what I'm in for and I know what to expect - I am comfortable and therefore, that translates into loyalty and money in Ronald's pocket (Ronald McDonald - get it?).
If you own or run a business, please keep in mind how important consistency is if you want to build your clientele/customer base. What does your business stand for? Do you want to be the restaurant that is only clean when ______________ is working, or whose cheese curds are only good if ______________ is cooking AND in a good mood? (here's a pet peeve for me - don't burn the cheese curds - I did NOT order air filled pockets of burnt breading...I want cheese). Know what you want for your business, know how to achieve it, and share share share - share your vision with each and every member of your team and then share your vision with your customers and ask them for feedback so they feel comfortable letting you know when things aren't quite right. Once your team knows what is expected, monitor monitor monitor to make sure the entire organization is headed in the right direction!
Just my thoughts for the day - for what that's worth!