Sunday, June 18, 2006

Let Me Speak To The Manager

Sunday for lunch ... a late lunch after catching an early movie ... the Wife and I decided to run into a Burger King in Columbus. What were we thinking?

Actually, the food was good. That is, it's exactly what you'd expect from a Burger King. Didn't take long to place the order ... food arrived rather quickly ... like we ordered it ... and it tasted like it was supposed to. So far, so good.

Then, while sitting at the table, we looked out the window and saw the sign that advertised their Dulce De Leche Cheesecake. Sounded good. So, I went back to the counter, double-checked the menu and there it was. So, I ordered one.

The young man behind the counter, who had taken our initial order, notified me that they no longer carried that item. So, I asked to speak to the manager. I stepped down out of the way so the next person could be served.

The young man went to the office, stood in the door, and spoke to the person in the office ... who I couldn't see because of stuff blocking the window.

After a little bit, the young man came back ... alone ... and asked if there was something else I wanted. So, I replied, "Yes, that address" ... pointing to the sign indicating the address of the company that ran this particular Burger King ... "and the name of the manager."

So, the young man dutifully wrote it down ... I had expected him to give me a card, but he wrote it all down on a piece of paper ... and handed it to me. Then apologized for the trouble.

That young man, I thought, handled a pain-in-the-butt customer like me just fine. But the manager in the back ... the one who didn't want to come out and deal with someone like me ... well, he leaves a lot to be desired.

So, I'm going to contact the Burger King office in Columbus ... their phone number is 706-563-3066 ... and tell them that I wasn't impressed with Dave's management style. But the young man behind the counter was just fine, in my opinion.

Maybe I'll write them ... the address for Schuster Enterprises is 3530 Macon Rd, Columbus, GA 31907-2029 ... and tell them what I thought.

Maybe I'll blog about it. Yeah, that's the ticket!

But what about you? Am I wrong to not be happy about that store posting a sign out front advertising something they no longer carry? Am I wrong thinking that a manager should handle customers that ask for the manager ... rather than sending a teenager to deal with him?


  1. Ehhhhhhhh Well I wasn't mad at the Animal clinic for having the sign "Free pets" up and having run out of pets. Or even Cracker Barrel for running out of baked potatoes and that is a menu item!

    Sometimes ya just cant get up there to change the sign...or they recently ran out it...or the ladder is broke....or the letters lost...Or it is Burger King not Olive Garden so to get a good meal I'd be simply over joyed by that.

    Never the less, I've never lost sleep over an un updated sign. I'd never sleep in that case!

  2. Nah, it certainly makes sense that you probably shouldn't have a sign up for something you don't have. And even if there were extraordinary circumstances for why you do, it shouldn't be too much to ask the manager to at least show his/her face long enough to at least explain that.

    Sounds like Dave needs to spend less time hiding in his office and more time seeing how his store is run.

  3. Fire the manager and promote the teenager!

  4. They should have told you, "Sir, we're sorry, that item didn't arrive on the truck this morning, could I get you something else in its place?"

    Than "after" you left, the sign would have disappeared and so would its note on the menu.

    I hope you write the company - please do!

  5. Speaking as someone that managed restaurants for years It seems that they have a lazy manager there and you should complain by phone and in writing. Make sure to compliment the kid though. Odds are Burger King will send you coupons for free stuff along with a letter of apology.

    Now if you are really irritated you could give the coupons to a few people who are never satisfied with anything thereby generating even more complaints the corporate office.

  6. Jo: I will contact them.

    Dyre42: Now there's an idea.

  7. Hmmm I see

    Sign: Still No biggy to me personaly.

    Manager: Yea, lazy bum. Complain at free will

    Though as a teenage who has had to fetch the manager for many an angry customer in the past It is of the upmost importance to have someone who will show up rather than let you deal with a possibly crazy person. (who won't leave your line) They were just lucky you were nice about it ;)

  8. As for LittleOrangeFox - I would hate to go around life with such low expectations of "professionals" in a customer service business. However, I might be a little less irritated because stuff that basil is talking about really gets me too.

    Write that letter basil!! Emails somehow get deleted, but letters always make a splash.

  9. Basil. the manager was probably busy reading blogs!! hehe Think of all the calories he saved you! I could go on, but I won't! ;)

  10. As for Jax I'd hate to go around life worrying about such odd things. Bigger fish to fry ;) and not at fast food places. I got a heaven to get into to not managers to see ^_^

  11. I actually work at 9703, the aforementioned store, and I actually work with Dave (who will be tickled that his name popped up in a random google search for Schuster Enterprises)- and let me explain a few things to you.

    1. Burger King Corp., actually mails signs to the store, and tells the RM (who is NOT Dave) exactly when they should remove old signs, and put up new ones. It's to keep the stores looking uniform, and if the correct signs are not up at the time of an unexpected inspection, the store loses points.

    2. No manager is going to risk getting nerfed by the Corp. or Schuster Enterprise brass because a customer might whine over cheesecake that isn't there.

    3. If I were in Dave's shoes, I wouldn't have come to see you either. He's busy dealing with money in the office, and you want to whine about signs he has no control over, and lack of cheesecake which he also has no control over. Enough said.

    4. If you actually called the office, I'm sure they were nice, and polite, and got Dave's name- but he was never reprimanded. Why? Because the people at the office already know what I've just explained to you, and they see you as a lowlife trying to get free food. Why do you think they send coupons???

    5. Customers are NOT always right, and you are proof of this. I don't think the cheesecake ruined your entire day. I think you just wanted something to complain about. You kept talking about that "nice young man" - well, you made his job harder that day. And why? So you could have something YOU think is amusing to blog about? It's not funny, kinda sad, more than a little pathetic, but definately not funny.



    Lisa, at 9703. Feel free to ask for me.

  12. Xen/Lisa:
    Let me respond to a few things for you.

    1. I understand perfectly well that some folks may simply be "following orders." But all that does is not excuse the behavior, but point out a deeper problem that's behind the initial problem. That is, if your statement is correct, then the Burger King corporation's policy is to advertise items after they're not available. Rather than having a generic replacement sign to use when items are gone.

    2. This point reflects, if your "following orders" excuse is accurate, the problem with such a policy: Awareness of a problem isn't reason to do anything about it. You're reinforcing that BK's policy is to advertise items after they're not available.

    3. Your intended refusal shows that you are as chicken-sh*t as Dave and doesn't prove Dave right. It proves that there is an environment of not caring, and you and Dave are products ... and causes ... of that environment.

    4. Actually, no, I never called the office. And I never asked for ... nor expected ... anything free. You must be projecting your own attitude about life onto me. I'm not one who asks for something for nothing.

    I have returned to stores to return too much changed being tendered. I have checked my tickets many times and found items missing, and brought it to the attention of the store. At times, I have been offered coupons or compensation for customer service complaints. When offered in person, I reject them, explaining I'm not wanting something for nothing, but a situation corrected, nothing more. If I receive them via mail for a written complaint, I give them away to others, or toss them in the trash.

    You may be after something for nothing. I'm not.

    5. No, customers are not always right. And, no, I wasn't looking for something to complain about. I was looking for an advertised cheesecake.

    And, while my decision to complain may have led to the nice young man having a worse day than otherwise, the decision of the manager (or acting manager) to send a boy to do a man's job would be the overriding factor.

    Unless working for and with a bunch of lazy incompetents like you and Dave makes every day miserable for him.

  13. A man's job is what? Listening to you bitch? No. What you call laziness or being chickenshit, I call weeding out useless complaints. If a customer comes in with a legitimate complaint, such as their order was wrong, or an employee was rude to them, or even if they decide they don't like what they ordered, we fix it for them, quickly and gladly. Had you gotten a pie that was defective, he would have spoken with you and replaced it.

    Of course, that wasn't your complaint. Your complaint was about the sign. Say he did come speak to you. He would have listened to what you told him, probably agreed with you, because yes it is a stupid policy, and would have still been unable to correct the problem. A waste of his time.

    As for the policy, yes it's dumb. There is no arguement there. If it were a Schuster policy, there'd be no problem. A quick word with the District Manager, and we'd be able to change the signs as we see fit. The problem is that it's Burger King Corporation policy. The biggest franchising pitfall: you have to follow the guidelines of the parent corporation. You have to use their their floorplans, equipment, uniforms, food, signs, cleaning supplies, and paper products. Or, it has to be purchased from an approved affiliate company. And they inspect to make sure its done. Failing inspections = losing franchising rights. Which, in Schuster's case- he'd be stuck with about sixty some-odd stores he no longer has the right to call "Burger Kings".

    Usually, Corp. policy only makes the employees miserable, but you're one of the few customers that got a taste of it. The Corporation has some of the most useless policies in existance. Everyone that works there knows it, and now you do, too. Suck it up. There's several policies that I'd LOVE to break, just to make the employee's jobs easier. For example, Corporation policy says we have to use a particular kind of massively craptacular glass cleaner. It won't clean anything, and it streaks horribly. It would be much easier for the front counter person if we were to take some petty cash and buy a couple of economy sized bottles of Windex from Wal-Mart, but Corp. policy says we have to use the crappy glass cleaner, so we use it.

    It makes more sense to buy the Windex. The store would look better, and we'd save money on labor, because a decent glass cleaner would mean it wouldn't take so long to clean the glass. It would make more sense to change the signs. But, I'm not going to do either of them. Schuster Enterprises is a good company, and I like working for them. I'm not going to make Schuster's life harder by losing him a bunch of points on a BK Corporation inspection.

    Not even for a customer.

    My suggestion: Go to work for McDonalds, find out what it's like to work for peon's that have franchising rights (next to Burger King Corporation, Todd and Marvin Schuster are peons), and maybe you'll find out that following orders isn't an excuse. In any type of organization, people have to do what their superiors tell them, or the whole thing will collapse like a house of cards.

    Learn something, just don't eat the food.


  14. A man's job? It begins with responsibility. You might want to go look that word up, seeing how it's apparently unfamiliar to you and Dave.

    Responsibility to employees isn't abandoning the young man to do the manager's job. The only thing this manager managed to do is teach the person working under him that he is not there for him. If he wanted to teach the young man how to deal with situations, he tells the young man to follow him, comes out, and deals with the situation (me).

    Abandoning the young man, is not proper management. It's irresponsible. Dave (and I assume, you) are familiar with the concept. It seems to be your creed.

    Agreeing with me that the policy is stupid would have been the wrong thing to do. Had he had the guts to come see me, the approach should have been, "Yes, sir, I understand. However, we're required to keep the signs up. I'm truly sorry for the inconvenience."

    Note that such a response does not undermine the corporate policy by having a manager express disagreement. You see, an employee ... and particularly a manager ... should not publicly express disagreement. More in a moment about this.

    Had I pursued further, he could have offered me a method of voicing my issue to those responsible: writing 5505 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, FL 33126, or calling 305-378-3000.

    But, no, Dave's management style, of which you seem to approve, is to do nothing.

    I understand about franchising. I've worked with franchises before. I know all about the signage, and floorplans, and using approved products.

    Now, about "following orders" or disagreeing with policies: Being former military, I know about the importance of following orders. You see, in the Army, when orders aren't followed, people can die. I think my understanding of the importance should be clear.

    However, any proper organization has a process for addressing orders that don't make sense.

    Have you or Dave used such a process? I'm guessing no. I could be wrong.

    But if I'm right, that means that either BK has no such process, or that you've decided to not use the process.

    True, such a process will not always lead to a correction or modification of the policy. But failing to attempt to use such a process shows a lack of concern for doing the right thing.

    And, from my experience at that BK, and with you via the comments here, that seems to fit what I'm experiencing.

  15. They are still doing the signs thing 37 years after I worked for one? Didn't corp change hands a few times in the interim?

    If I were running the place, I'd measure the franchises by profitability not signs. But that is just me. I am under the delusion that burger joints are supposed to make a buck.

    Stuff the whoppers then. A dozen other burger joints are out there that seem to get it.

    When I read this originally in June, I thought it was a Basil problem.

    Now that it has been revived and explained, I ain't going to BK again.

    Yea, some prioritizing of complaints Dave has there. Just pissed off a customer in West Virginia. But I'm sure he has the proper amount of flare

  16. you know what, it's not just BK that has a thing with the signs, i work for subway and we have the same issue. i think i remember you going in to a subway in down town and they had up a soup sign right, but did they have any soup???? nope cause they don't have to have soup, but they do have to have the sign. so, if we are going to be down on BK then hell let's be down on subway down town cause they ain't got the soup that they have signs for.

  17. que le freak? all this passion over a fast food franchise?

    no. i understand. it is about poor customer service and ivory tower management. that is the thing. why should the local manager care if upper management is so out of touch?


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