Don’t Cheapen the Experience

Yesterday, my daughter and I went to a local Shake Shack for lunch. If you are unfamiliar with the restaurant chain know that it is a Danny Meyer establishment, which serves hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, frozen custard and, of course, shakes. With lines sometimes out the door or literally down the block, the food is always made fresh and tastes great.

As my daughter and I sat down and started our meal, I needed to cut her hot dog into pieces, because that’s the only way she will eat a hot dog. (I try not to argue with a five-year old.) To cut the hot dog, I used the plastic fork and knife which the restaurant provided and, as soon as I started cutting, there went my dining experience. The fork and knife were so flimsy, and of such poor quality, that it was like trying to saw wood with a butter knife. Not easy. Was this tragic? No. Was this the worse dinning experience I’ve ever had? No. But I believe it points to a strategic issue which many companies often lose sight of.

Sure companies need and want to save costs when and where they can, but should those savings come at the expense of the overall brand, product or service experience? In this particular instance, doesn’t Mr. Meyer and his team know that utensils are an essential part of dining and the experience I presume he wishes to provide to hungry consumers?

While some people may have never experienced what I did at the Shake Shack, I can tell you that this has happened to me many times before, in a variety of restaurants, and it just distracts from the experience, the food, the brand, etc.

In articles that I’ve written about the use of QR Codes and mobile, the experience needs to be seamless, and frictionless, from first point of contact to the last, and this should be the case with most any B2C and B2B interaction, on-line or off-line. Companies need to be mindful of the entire customer/user experience, not just one or two parts of it, and certainly not just the part before the sale.

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