Monday, June 16, 2008

Lots, defined

Do you know the drill when you are ordering Lleb ocaT? You drive up to the menu and wait for someone to say something along the lines of "how are you doing?" instead of something like "welcome to Lleb ocaT can I take your order please?" I can understand if they want to shorten it to "welcome, may I take your order?" but most times when I get that fake drive-thru ice breaker I sit there after my brief "fine" answer waiting for someone to ask me what I'd want to force down. You then order your "food" and/or beverages, proceed to one of perhaps two windows, pay, get a drink shoved in your face, get your change, and then they ask "any mild or hot sauce?" as they are ready to toss the food bag at you.

I always reply "lots of hot sauce please".

Unfortunately there appear to be very few Lleb ocaT franchises that understand what "lots" means. In my opinion, there are four responses to the "sauce" question: none, some, yes (enough or adequate), or lots.

  • "None" is self explanatory. The taste of the product is adequate, you can stomach it without the need for sauce, or you have more powerful chemical additives at home.
  • "Some" indicates you need at least a couple to either enhance the flavor of the food product, toys for the kids to play with, or would feel cheated if you didn't ask for some sauce.
  • "Yes" indicates you will need at least one sauce package per food item. This would most likely be the formula agreed to by management to equally appease customers flavorfully and parent company stockholders and franchise ownership fiscally; multiplied by 1.3275 rounding up.
  • "Lots" indicate that you either need to strongly mask the flavor of the food product or are so frakkin' hungry every ounce of sauce, food product, and wrapper scrapings are required to nourish you. This realistically means at least one per taco sized item and two to four per burrito depending upon burrito size and how much refried bean food product is in the burrito.

So today I order two burritos and three soft tacos, ask for "lots" of hot sauce and I'm given a whopping four plus no napkins to clean up with afterwards. Wow. Did you spit in the food as well?

I know how food service works. There are bean counters that know exactly what volume of soft drink to push, exactly how much product to deliver, exactly how many bags you should use and how many condiment packages you should put in with the order on request. They are looking at numbers under a microscope. Somewhere someone is saying "if we reduce the sauce packages by one per order we save 22/100 th of a cent in sauce and 1 and 13/100 th of a cent in manufacturing and 8 cents in advertisement per order. If you multiply times the average of 300 orders per day the franchise and stockholders can save over ten thousand dollars per year in just hot sauce packet count reduction. Do the same for "mild" and "fire" that would be a net savings of over thirty thousand dollars. If we assume our customers are slobs and reduce the napkin output per bag we can save the franchise and stockholders another twenty thousand dollars per year. Just in the United States alone, the estimated savings is a lot of money; probably over a trillion dollars. We could knock out the national debt in three years just by shafting the customer out of a hot sauce and napkin every single day."

Wow.

I think I'll just go to S'ydnew next time.

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