While visiting the very cool Which Wich? sandwich store in downtown Dallas, founder Jeff Sinelli was relaying a story to me about trying to return something to a vendor. It was the vendor’s policy not to allow returns. This forced Jeff to call someone and arrange reimbursement. This situation made me wonder: How many policies do other QSRs have in place that inconveniences the guests?
Prior to writing this article, I visited a very large QSR chain for breakfast. Signs were posted on each register, “Sauce Policy” and “Salad Dressing Policy. ” The sign titles interested me so I decided to read on.
The Sauce Policy clearly stated how many dipping sauces you received based on the number of pieces of chicken nuggets/tenders/fingers you purchased, while any additional sauces can be purchased for 11 cents each—11 cents?! In response to these signs, I thought of a new policy of my own—the “Discount Policy. ” This policy would have the customer’s best interests in mind. If a guest didn’t want any sauces, they could ask for an 11-cent discount. Every time a restaurant would forget to include an item at the drive-thru, the customer would receive an 11-cent refund. This seems fair to me. So, I asked the manager what he thought about it and he didn’t think it was very funny.
The “Salad Dressing Policy” was similar. Guests are allowed one dressing packet for each salad purchased. Additional packets can be purchased for 27 cents each—27 cents?! I wonder if they also have a “Ketchup Policy” when ordering fries or a “Straw Policy” for drinks? Maybe the consumer’s policy should be to not visit places with these policies.
While I certainly have nothing against making a fair profit, the message screams loud and clear how this particular restaurant feels about its guests. Every single customer who visits this restaurant sees these policies even if they don’t order a salad or chicken nuggets/tenders/fingers. When I stepped up to order, I certainly didn’t want to even think about asking for a special request on my order. There might have been a “Special Order Policy. ” Heck, if I asked the cashier to smile, she might have to check the “Smile Policy. ”
Now is the time to look through your policies. Do you have any that resemble the ones previously mentioned? If so, scratch them and begin to build things such as special requests into your pricing. I truly believe these requests balance out in the long-term. Don’t believe me? Look at it one day for an hour or so. Count how many extra requests you receive versus orders that “hold” items. Chances are the restaurant, not the guest, is getting the better end of the deal. So, lose the nit-picky policies. They are outdated, very guest un-friendly, and send a bad message to your customers. That’s my policy and I’m sticking to it.
T. J. Schier is service professional, consultant and speaker with over 20 years experience in operations and training. Founder and president of Incentivize Solutions and podTraining, T. J. has helped numerous clients enhance their service and training programs and spoken to tens of thousands of managers, franchisees and operators in various fields. Visit http://IncentivizeSolutions.com/ for more info motivating today's employees, training today's generation and delivering outstanding guest service; or http://podTraining.us/ , a unique new system and the foundation of ‘i-learning’ - using the device of today's generation, the iPod - to train your workforce.