Splitting Headaches?

As co-owner of Let’s Dish Mid-Atlantic, I read every one of the hundreds of customer comments we receive each week.  If you take the time to write it, I’m taking the time to read it.  I know it’s your hard-earned dollars that go into my paycheck, and I’d be crazy not to listen to you.

That’s why I had to act when I saw comment after comment with the same suggestion.  Of course, actual wording varied, but they all went something like this:

“Your stations should have utensils for the splitters recipe, not for the fulls recipe.  I’m a splitter and I either have to go fetch my own utensil or ‘eyeball’ a half-cup for each split portion when it’s the full-cup Spoodle that’s been provided.  If the splitters utensils were provided, those making fulls could easily use ‘two scoops’… isn’t that a lot more exact and more efficient than grabbing a new utensil each time and/or estimating ‘halves?'”

I had to admit, I couldn’t argue with that logic.  With one elegant change of policy, we could make life much easier for splitters (which, by the way, now represent over 60% of our customers).  Very tempting indeed.  But it was not a decision we would enter into lightly, as four years of habits are hard to change.

So we tested this new policy in two of our busier stores, beginning in October 2008.  As we expected, splitters loved the idea — it provided them a greater degree of exactitude, and saved them about 90 seconds per station by not requiring them to go grab their own utensils.  And yes, we got some complaints from fulls folks, who were frustrated by having to learn a new system (though most admitted to catching on quite quickly).  But here’s the great part: While fulls folks take about 20-30 seconds longer dishing at each station, they actually took less time to complete their sessions.  Yes, in most cases, fulls folks took less time to complete their sessions, compared to the old system.

How is that possible? 

Because splitters were taking less time at the stations, compared to previously, there was less traffic and fewer backups– particularly during the busiest sessions.  So while fulls folks were spending a few extra seconds at the stations, they were spending less time waiting.  Net net, we found that most fulls folks finished their session in about the same amount of time.  And yes, those splitters were completing their circuits better than 10 minutes faster than before.

Just goes to show you that when you listen to your customers, everyone can come out a winner.  Please keep the feedback coming.

Rick’s Signature

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