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 is 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 did not want any sauces, they could ask for an
11-cent discount. Every time a restaurant would forget to include an item at the drive-through,
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 did not think it was very funny.
The "Salad Dressing Policy" was similar. Guests are allowed one dressing pack for each
salad purchased. Additional packs 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 do not order a salad or chicken
nuggets / tenders / fingers. When I stepped up to order, I certainly did not want to even think
about asking for a special request on my order. There might have been a "Special Order
"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.
Do not believe me? Look at it one day for an hour or so. Count how many extra requests
you receive contrary 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.