Tag Archives: food

Open During Remoldeling

Today, I passed a KFC that is obviously undergoing remodeling, but what caught my eye was the sign out in front of the restaurant, which said, “Drive thru open during remoldeling” (emphasis mine).

A couple of immediate thoughts I had…

  1. I don’t want any part of a food place that is “remoldeling.” One mold is bad enough; repeating it is worse.
  2. I definitely don’t want food prepped in a restaurant that is undergoing a remodel. “Would you like your chicken to be original recipe, extra crispy, or extra drywall dust? And would you prefer gravy or paint chips on your mashed potatoes?”

Just do us all a favor — close the restaurant while you remodel.

And fix the misspelling on your sign.

We Give You Thanks, O Lord

In the movie Seven Days in Utopia, Robert Duvall’s character, Johnny Crawford, offers a prayer before a meal that seems appropriate during this Thanksgiving season:

For food in a world where many walk in hunger,
For faith in a world where many walk in fear,
For friends in a world where many walk alone,
We give You thanks, O Lord. Amen.


Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving

Artist: Norman Rockwell

First Day Dinners

So I started something last Monday when Jake had his first day of kindergarten — because it was his first day of school, I let him choose what we would have for dinner that night. Being a five-year old boy, and the offspring of his father, he asked for “Pizza, Pizza”. Of course by that he means pizza from Little Caesar’s, but I think their sauce is too spicy, so we often order takeout pizza from Happy’s Pizza, which is what we did that night.

I didn’t connect that since today was my wife’s first day of school, she would want the same prerogative, of deciding what we had for dinner, but I let her choose. I’m happy I did, because she chose takeout from Outback Steakhouse. We love their teriyaki medallions!

The Customer Focus

I had an interaction today that reminded me of the importance of focusing on the customer, not just pushing your product to make a sale.

Arby's Roast Turkey and Swiss Sandwich

Arby’s Roast Turkey and Swiss Sandwich

I’m a fan of Arby’s. I like their food. And while I love a good roast beef sandwich with fries and a jamocha shake, when I’m there at lunchtime, that’s rarely what I order. I’m trying to be healthier. In small ways. Trying to make healthier choices. So at lunchtime, I’ve started ordering the Roast Turkey & Swiss Market Fresh® Sandwich on whole wheat bread, with a side salad (honey mustard dressing), and a Sierra Mist. That has been my go-to meal at lunchtime at Arby’s for several months now. And I almost always visit the same location. Now I’m not a daily customer there, but I’m there several times a month, and I know I interact with the same few people each time, so I expect that my order won’t be new to them, but the interaction generally goes something like this:

Arby’s employee: Thank you for choosing Arby’s. Would you like to try [whatever product they’re promoting that day]?

Me: No, thanks. I’d like combo number 11, the Roast Turkey and Swiss.

Arby’s employee: Would you like that in a combo with curly fries and a Pepsi?

Me: Yes, I’d like that in a combo, but with a side salad instead of fries, and a Sierra Mist instead of the Pepsi.

Arby’s employee: So you’d like a side salad instead of fries. What dressing would you like?

Me: I’d like honey mustard, please.

Arby’s employee: Okay, so you’d like the Roast Turkey and Swiss with a side salad with honey mustard. Would you care to make your Pepsi a large?

Me: Yes, I’d like a large drink, but I’d like Sierra Mist instead of Pepsi.

Arby’s employee: Okay, so you’d like the Roast Turkey and Swiss with a side salad with honey mustard, and a large Pepsi. Will that complete your order today?

I don’t post this to be a jerk, or to highlight failings on the part of Arby’s or its employees. I get it. They have a highly repetitive process, with probably very little variance from customer to customer. I don’t expect an Arby’s executive or manager to read this and make drastic changes to their ordering process. And I’m certainly not going to stop visiting Arby’s.

Nor do I have a problem with Pepsi. I like their product(s). And I’m aware that Sierra Mist is a Pepsi product.

But this experience made me reflect on my own interactions with my customers, and the processes that I try to build for consistency.

  • Am I too focused on the process to really pay attention to what the customers want?
  • Does the process allow the flexibility to accommodate each customer?
  • Have I become too accustomed to delivering what previous customers wanted that I fail to uniquely diagnose the needs of the current customer?
  • Can I deliver a better experience by allowing the customer more time to describe their needs?

I think I’ll remember this for a while — the tendency to sell fries and a large Pepsi to someone who wants a side salad and Sierra Mist.