blog banner

Quality Is Our Recipe – Yeah Right!!!

wendys.jpgThe other day my wife was craving Wendy’s (she’s pregnant) so we swung in there to grab a bite to eat. The experience was ghastly. First of all, it was in the middle of the afternoon on a weekend and the place was dead. I mean this place had less live people in it than a cemetery – Dead! We stood at the counter for about two full minutes until someone from the back came to the front. The person saw us, didn’t say anything and then went back in the back. Then about another minute went by and someone else came out and was very surprised to see us (guess they don’t see customers very often.) We ordered, got the food and sat down. I ordered a hamburger off the value menu. I think it was a junior cheeseburger. The burger was hidden by the bun. Isn’t this the place that used to run the commercials, “Where’s The Beef?” Those commercials made fun of other hamburger joints that don’t have meat that fits the bun. I guess out with the ads, out with the big meat. Anyway, the burger was uneventful. It was slapped together with an unripe tomato and a smear of mayo, sloppily wrapped and carefully hand pressed (squashed). I also ordered a spicy chicken sandwich. This thing was ridiculous. The wrapped item sitting on the tray had a rather peculiar shape to it. When I unwrapped the item I noticed that the sandwich had an unusually large piece of lettuce on it. I hate lettuce to begin with so I wasn’t impressed. This piece of lettuce was comical. It was the end of the lettuce head. It was a big, white leaf with a rigid stem about 1” wide and 1” longer than the leaf itself. My wife picked off the lettuce and was using it as a fan. The chicken was as dry as an Egyptian mummy and it tasted like one too. The sign in the lobby (which looked like it hadn’t been updated since 1979) said made fresh when you order. This was made like yesterday and had been sitting under the heat lamp until I ordered it and they slapped some mutated piece of lettuce and a weak looking tomato on it. Overall experience: Zero out of 10. I have to ask myself if they are even trying to compete to be in the top 2 or 3 fast food franchises. I would think that would be a goal of theirs. Not with this going on. This is a lack of systemization and a lack of management and a lack of anyone giving a crap. Here’s the kicker though. As we were walking out of the place in total disgust I noticed the logo on the building. It’s got a great picture of Wendy and over top of her head it has a tag line, a slogan if you will. The line reads…”Quality is our Recipe.” So let me ask all of you...was there any quality in that story I just described to you? If you are at all unsure let me just tell you the answer is absolutely NO! No quality whatsoever. But they say, “Quality is our Recipe?” Do you think I believe that? Do you think anyone believes that? I can guarantee that no one believes that. Everyone has had at least one bad experience at a Wendy’s. The system is too big and too clunky not to have made mistakes. So nobody believes that line about quality. If they don’t believe it about a big company like Wendy’s why would they believe it when you say it? They don’t. That’s why quality and service in marketing is worthless. It isn’t true and it doesn’t matter until after the sale. I went in there assuming I was going to get some decent level of quality food. I expected it. I got less than expected and they made it a point to let me know in all of their messages (in their logo, on their cups, fries, and tray mats) that “Quality is our Recipe.” That makes it even worse. Lesson to take home…don’t ever use quality or service as a marketing message. It’s cliché. Nobody believes it. Everybody expects it and they only care about it when you don’t deliver it. Most small businesses don’t have the infrastructure to make successful, stellar, over-the-top customer service a clock work system in their business. If you can’t do that don’t talk about it. Just do the best you can and prove your service and impress people. Use a real Gravitational Proposition, offer and hook to get them in the door.