paying attention to detail

Fast-food business: NOT Paying Attention To Details

What’s wrong with so many fast-food businesses not paying attention to customer order details???

Why are so many fast-food businesses not paying attention to the continued super-importance of training their employees to pay attention to customers?

To run a successful business your number one asset of customer service should be to have the ability to listen and pay attention to every word coming out of your customer’s mouth.

What shocks me is when I observe how some businesses are running their customer service operations like uncontrolled chaos. It’s like watching the Three Stooges in a daze!

Why can’t fast food workers get the order right?

Not getting the order right, disorganized or understaffed personnel, unnecessary slow service, and employees who have an “I hate my job”-space-cadet look on their face…

Sounds familiar?

Businesses not paying attention details are widespread, especially in the food service industry!

Why aren’t food service workers able to pay attention to details?

To illustrate my point, here’s a TYPICAL and FREQUENTLY ENCOUNTERED customer service experience at the Pasadena, California McDonald’s that I drop by once every two weeks or so.

Although this real-life description is what’s happening at this McDonald’s, it could easily have been from most fast food establishments. From my experience, this is whether it be McDonald’s, Popeye’s Chicken, or even Denny’s!

In this report, after placing my own order I watched another customer place her order with another cashier, and the SAME thing happened to that customer.

Being a customer under such scenarios, you might as well talk to the wall. What you tell an employee simply bounces off their forehead like water bouncing off a bird’s feathers.

Why am i writing this post?

It serves to remind all of us business people PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAILS should not just be a lesson covered in passing during training. Company procedures and policies need to be CONTINUOUSLY enforced at all times!

Or, perhaps this is a good reminder for yourself too, on how to NOT treat a customer?

My last visit at McDonald’s in Pasadena, California.

Customer service McDonalds
McDonald’s, Pasadena, California

As a businessman, I am always using every opportunity of every day to learn new things about how to run a business and how NOT to run a business.

What baffles me greatly is how a multi-billion dollar business can run as if they have no clue how to run a business correctly!

Are they too large for their own self? Understaffing and overworking the employees? Are employees being high as a kite the result of the now legal and very healthy weed-smoking popularity that’s supposedly so good for your brain and lungs in California (I am being sarcastic)? Or is it the result of an incompetent store-management, who fails to oversee, guide, and control their employees?

Personally, I would have had no problem putting a rapid stop to this customer service issue in any of my businesses.

By the way, I couldn’t care less if any multi-billion dollar company ignores important operational details. They are not in any threat of losing out by providing inferior customer service as a small business would be.

After all, for every existing dissatisfied customer of a multi-billion dollar corporation, there are 10 new customers waiting to do business with them.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Ordering at the counter

Me: “Sausage biscuit, no egg with one strawberry packet, coffee and a hash brown please”.

Employee: “For here or to go”?

Me: “For here”.

As I answer, the employee is being interrupted by a fellow employee about a private matter between them. Customer attention was totally diverted.

Employee: (She asks me the same question a second time): “To go”?

Me: “For here”.

Employee: “OK, sausage biscuit no egg and a hash brown”. (Third time): “For here or to go”?

Me: “For the third time, this is for here”.

Employee: “OK”.

Me: “Can you please read the order back to me. I don’t think you’re paying much attention to your customer”.

Employee: “Sausage biscuit no egg, hash brown and a coffee”.

Me: “Good”.

Employee: “Is that for here”?

Me: Wanting to bust out in laughter I say: “Hello McFly, anyone in there??? (Quoting from the movie Back to the Future, where Biff talks to Marty McFly). YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR CUSTOMER. It’s for here”.

Employee: “OK” (no smile or thank you).

Order being delivered:

Sitting at a table the food is being delivered. I open the bag. Here’s what I received:

Sausage biscuit WITH egg, French fries, but NO strawberry, as requested, and no coffee!

Me: “Miss, I ordered a sausage biscuit with NO egg, a hash brown, coffee, and I also requested a strawberry packet”.

Employee: (No apology or no caring customer service smile) “OK”. She takes the food back to behind the counter. 5 minutes later she comes back with a new bag of food.

Employee: “Here you go”.

Me: “Thank you. But How about the strawberry and the coffee”?

Employee: “OK”. She proceeds behind the counter and comes back with my coffee and two packets of SYRUP(!)

Me: “I said strawberry, not syrup for my sausage biscuit”.

Employee: Grabs the syrup without a word and nonchalantly comes back with a strawberry packet.

I could finally enjoy what I ordered and paid for.

Did I feel like a satisfied and valued customer?


What do you think?

You may ask why I keep going back to a place like this. I certainly don’t go there for the poor customer service. But I do go back there because it’s in a convenient location, their food quality is always fresh, and it’s clean.

Plus, to this particular McDonald’s credit, they do have quite a few employees who actually smile to the customers, who also do a consistent good and accurate job!

Furthermore, this particular McDonald’s is not different from other fast-food places. Lack of business attention to details is a problem you encounter at most fast-food places nowadays. Employees who don’t pay attention to details or employees who don’t listen to the customer has become the new norm in the fast-food industry!

Why is this happening so frequently, especially within the fast-food service industry? Do the owners only hire brain-dead employees, or is there a severe lack of good training? Where is the problem?

Please let me know what you think by leaving your comments here.

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