What is Old is New – What is New is Old – Setting and Demonstrating Clear Expectations

February 10, 2017

I was reminded this week by an incident at one of the companies that I visited of a moment from my past.

As some of you are aware, in a former life, I worked with Burger King International. While visiting one of the restaurants in the United Kingdom, I observed a team member working the fry station. He was a new hire and as I watched, the manager came over to join me. I asked him about the new guy, his name was Robert. Speaking with the manager, I discovered Robert had never worked in food service before and that the fry station was the first position he had been trained on.

Additionally, the manager indicated that he had spent time training Robert on the station. I continued to question him about the training. With this all said, I pointed out to the manager, that if Robert has never worked in a restaurant before, that he had never operated fry equipment, and that the manager set the expectations and conducted the training, why was Robert doing it wrong? That is when true confessions came out.

The manager confessed that Ian had actually trained Robert. I verified that this was the same Ian that the manager had complained about and was about to let go because of poor performance. Yes, it was. With this said, I pointed out that now the restaurant had two Ians!

Moral of the story, if you do not set and demonstrate your expectations, don’t be surprised if they are not met.

Thirty years later, two new products were being introduced by the company I was visiting. However, the management focused on numbers relayed to them by their computers relying on their assistants to implement the rollout, and guess what? Surprise, Surprise there were a number of problems that will require additional resources to correct, thus impacting productivity and profitability of the business. If the managers had taken less than an hour of their time to review their expectations, demonstrate the process, and have the team members implement it while observing, they would have had a successful rollout of their products, saving approximately 100 hours of labor a cost taken straight from the bottom line.

Computers are wonderful tools, but that is their only function as a tool to help monitor the business, they are not a substitute for not being involved personally in the business and working with your people.

There is a lot to be learned from the past that assures a successful future.


LMI Offers 3 Simple Keys to Success

May 17, 2011

3 Simple Keys to Success
#1 Become Goal Directed – Goal driven people focus on the critical few instead of the important many. The economy can be robust or slow, on fire or dried up, it makes NO DIFFERENCE.
Take the “noise” out of the system and be free

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Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges!

December 22, 2009

None of this stuff — life, I mean — is about needing something. It’s about wanting something. All of the sales training tells us that buyers don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want. They buy

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Driving Your Business to an Early Grave Through Poor Customer Service


September 6, 2021

Stopping by what used to be a favorite fast food restaurant, I saw an example of what happens when excellent customer service skills are not followed through.

The initial wait for the cashier was within the organization’s guidelines, less than 30 seconds and she was there with a smile on her face, taking the order and confirming the special requests for each one of the sandwiches, cheerfully taking the money and making the change.  Finally handing us the cups for our drinks….. so far so good for customer service.

Until the clock began ticking and ticking and ticking

Filling the drinks, finding a seat and then waiting….

Counting the number of employees on the front-line and in the kitchen, there were three, the manager was never seen.  The sandwiches slide to the front of the heat table, but the fries are not ready.  Finally the cashier walks around and drops a basket of fries, another three minutes and thirty seconds.  Looking at the watch as the minutes pass, recalling a comment made by a manager long ago; “Customers have two things to spend, time and money.  They would rather spend their money than their time.”  How true those words ring tonight.

With the passage of nearly seven minutes two sandwiches and two orders of fries are delivered.  Not once during this time did the Cashier or any other employee apologize for the wait, or display any sense of urgency.

While the dining room was relatively clean, the trash containers were overflowing and no one came out to empty them, contributing to the overall negative customer experience.

 While some reading this will wonder if I am a masochist, or ask “why did you stay?”  My response to such a question is I wanted to see how bad can this get?  And found out, pretty bad.  Now this event occurred at 6 p.m. in the evening, there were only three employees visible, in a restaurant along a busy highway, yet there were fewer than four customers that visited during the thirty minutes we were there.  Missed opportunities to build business?  Or has the restaurant through its emphasis on payroll and controlling costs managed its business to a level that it can handle?

With the current economy, companies cannot afford to turn away sales with poor customer service.  There is not additional expense to creating an environment that results in outstanding service, which generates increased sales, resulting in increased profits in the business.  The customer wins, the business wins, and the economy improves.

When you walk out into your business, take a look from a customer perspective, are you doing all that you can to ensure a positive customer experience.