Chipolte as an Example

Normally, Yeni and I have a “no chains” rule when it comes to eating out. Many reasons why on this… from Karma to the 68 rule to keeping the community unique, there are many reasons why a personal no-chain rule works.

Of course, rules are made to be broken, and we do this with the no-chain rule from time-to-time. One of the reasons is to see the process. We don’t feel that chains are evil, far from it, we just normally choose to patronize local independent businesses. Because of this, we still understand that there’s a lot you can learn from visiting a chain… and any brick and mortar in the community is still a good place to spend money.

Back to the process. So, the concept of a chain is that I can visit a McDonald’s in Gainesville or a McDonald’s in Tulsa and have the same experience. My burger should be the same… the fries.. the cleanliness… etc.

The way chains accomplish this is my creating a process for everything. From cooking to cleaning, everything is supposed to by the book. As a result, the process ends up being incredibly efficient.

The other day, Yeni and I thought we would check out a Chipolte in Gainesville. We have a few of them in town and hadn’t been in over a year. Plus, with the open kitchen, it’s a great place to process watch.

What we found is that process isn’t as important as execution. To execute a process, you may not need the most skilled workers, but you need employees that both care and work hard.

Chipolte had a great example of a hard working employee as well as a few crappy ones that killed the process. We walked in and were greeted by a friendly smile. This employee was busting her ass– greeting every customer, starting the order, asking for refills of product, etc.

As the line grew, she asked for help. One of her co-workers shook her head no and rolled her eyes. The co-worker then used her cellphone for a bit, washed her hands (always nice to see), and then started what may be the longest hand drying I’ve ever witnessed. She did everything she could to avoid the line.

So did others… despite the first employee asking for help, others just didn’t respond, didn’t care, and didn’t do a thing. We ended up leaving the line and heading somewhere else, but I couldn’t help but think about my godson working at Publix…

Yeni and I like to come in now and then when he’s working because (a) he’s awesome, (b) he makes us smile, and (c) when he works, he both cares and works hard.

It’s tough to understand how some people can work a job so well and others so poorly. I have to wonder what keeps the hard workers motivated when their managers clearly don’t care enough to get a good team together.

Just reminds you, no matter how good your process is… a quality employee is the key to a good customer experience.

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