Give a S.H.I.R.T!

T.J. Schier

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Who doesn’t enjoy the accessibility of eating lunch or dinner in their car while rushing back to the office, or to their child’s next activity? After all, quick service is what we expect from quick-serve restaurants. To make sure your quick-serve gets it right —at the dine-in, drive-thru, or to-go—the key to success is to get your employees to Give a S. H. I. R. T!—yes, there is an ‘R’ in there.

  • Speedy accuracy—Get the order to the guest quickly and accurately. Ensure, however, that speed is balanced with the rest of the formula. Far too often, drive-thrus feel like a mail train in the old west—there’s a bag on an arm hanging out the window and you just pick up the food, pay, and go.

  • Hospitality—Deliver three-second sizzle to wow the guest. Make their day by being friendly—it helps make the wait time feel shorter and the guests smile. Some examples include: “Great to see you again!” “Having a great day?” “Going to the game?” Or, try filling the dead time with small talk and conversation—make it an interaction vs. a transaction.

  • Inform—Don’t sell the guest, rather inform them of their options. Leverage the impact of point-of-purchase signs or preview boards by asking the guest, “Which combo would you like today?” or “Welcome! Today’s special is…” This way it’s suggestive selling without adding time to the experience.

  • Repeat—To ensure the order is accurate, have the cashier repeat the order back to the customer as they order, as well as when the food is handed out to the guest. If the production crew is wearing headsets or listening to the order called back on a microphone, mistakes will be greatly reduced. I can not overemphasize this step—don’t leave the ‘R’ out of the formula!

  • Thank—Always thank the guest and invite them back—but do it with flair. Examples include: “Have a great day!” “See you tomorrow!” “Enjoy those fries!” “Drive safe!”

    “Have a good day!” and so on. Better yet, if you see a customer in a sports uniform, tell them good luck in the game. Or, if there’s a customer in a work uniform such as scrubs or police garb, ask them if they work around here, or tell them to tell co-workers about us, or say have a great day at work. This sort of communication helps personalize a customer’s visit.

    Who is up to the challenge? Let me hear some of your S. H. I. R. T-tales…

    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 for more info motivating today's employees, training today's generation and delivering outstanding guest service; or , a unique new system and the foundation of ‘i-learning’ - using the device of today's generation, the iPod - to train your workforce.

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