Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Do they teach them anything?

This one was unreal. I was waiting in line at a Panera Bread recently. The young lady behind the counter seemed to be some kind of manager/assistant manager (they seem to wear different shirts from the rest of the employees), working studiously on some paperwork. There were probably four of us waiting for several minutes before she glanced up and said "Oh, I'm not open."

Wow. Two things here. One: did she have to be behind a cash register doing paper work? Maybe she needed the cash register tape, I'm not sure. Two: if she had to be there, how much effort would it have required to write up a little paper sign that said "closed" and tape it on the front of the register?

One of the few gripes I have about Panera (the other is that they do not have enough power outlets for laptops) is that you never know what register is open or closed. People seem to staff the registers randomly, and walk away to go do other tasks at odd times.

That random flow may seem to be efficient to management (and I am a big multi-tasker), but it can breed an attitude that it is OK to ignore customers while you work on another assigned job. Worse, when someone in management ignores customers for several minutes before informing them they are in the wrong line, what do you think that tells the rest of the staff?

Do they teach these people anything about customer service?

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