Tonight is my first time in Dunn Bros coffee shop here in Frisco, Texas. Now this is a place that knows how to prepare for customers. These guys have comfortable sofa chairs with stands for laptops that pull right up to you. Towards the back, they have what looks to be a conference table for six. They have free WIFI internet. They have local artwork on the walls for sale. They have a large, clean bathroom. They have a well marked emergency exit in the back. These guys have most everything needed to get me to come back instead of going to my normal chair at Starbucks.
PLUS… they have this beautiful, classy twenty-something singing the most sweet melody in my ear. Alicia Keys like words that inspire me. Raquel Lindemann is easy enough on the eyes to make you pay attention, but dressed appropriately enough to allow you to participate in her music without fear of breaking any of your marriage vows (ask your husbands, ladies). This girl has what it takes to make me order a CD online, follow her to another venue with my daughter in tow, and tell my friends about her. She has prepared for her customers with charmy banter, lyrics that mean something, and music that complements a fantastic voice.
Contrast these two with where I ate tonight. Two doors down sits Marco Pollo Rotisserie. I am calling it right here and now, these guys are the next Soup Nazi. Nahid took my order. She must be from the same South American location where they find the dozen herbs and spices on my chicken, because she is crusty. She does not mean to offend, she is just excited about having been open only three days. I watched as she would take the order at the only cash register, turn around and yell the order to a man standing no more than three feet behind her. “WE NEED A HALF CHICKEN”. I stood in line patiently, and then asked for a half chicken (which was on the menu outside, conveniently placed to draw me inside). “How can I help you?” I respond softly, “Well, I don’t see a half-chicken mixed (dark and white for you northern boys) option on your menu here, but there was one listed outside (for only $4.75 no doubt). I would like that, a glass of water, and one of your rolls please.”
A man standing near the wood-fired rotisserie then mumbled something to her in a language I could not detect. She opened the print menu for me… and just about the time I was going to point to what I wanted, she quickly slammed the menu shut (nearly taking off my finger) and said loudly “I got it!”. She then asked “what would you like to drink?”. I said again “A glass of water, please”. She looked at me curiously and said “we don’t have tap water, so that will have to be bottled!” I said “uhhhh” long enough to prevent her from entering it into the cash register. I mean who doesn’t allow their thirsty patrons a drop of water. Isn’t this America? Sure, the glass costs a few cents… but the ice and water costs them almost nothing. I quipped “no, I will go without”. She confirmed “no $1.75 bottled water (or something like that)?” Through gritted teeth I answered, “NO, thank you”. Then the total came. “$6.22″. You know when your mind races to do the math while you fumble for that extra few dollars you hadn’t planned on, only to not arrive at the answer before the cash slips from your hands to the person behind the counter? Yep, that… that is what happened. She militantly hands me my remaining change. No receipt. Dare I ask for it? This lady seems serious. “Ummm, would it be possible to get that receipt?”
Ah ha! Just what my mind couldn’t think through… $4.75 half chicken plus 25 cent roll plus 8.25% interest DOES NOT equal $6.22. 81 cents are unaccounted for! By the time the chicken arrived at my table for one, I had realized she charged me for the appropriately named “HLF WHITE”. Is this a statement about my color, or is this what was delivered… half white and half dark? Oh wait, this is for half a chicken that is all white. $5.75. Dare I go on?
Yes, I will go on! It proves some people haven’t prepared for customers. See there is more… two orders after mine, Marco Pollo Rotisserie chicken runs out of chicken. Remember, this isn’t fried chicken. We aren’t talking ten minutes ’till the next batch. I hear the manager say “will be about another hour and a half”. No apology, no “you won’t believe this”… just the facts. He doesn’t think it is funny. I do. See, according to what I overheard, they need to put 36 chickens on the wood-fired rotisserie every 2 hours in order to keep up with the customer demand. As I sink my teeth into the first bite, tasty juices squirt onto my tongue and my mood changes. My giggles at their misfortune turn to concentrated bites as I devour the best chicken I have ever put in my mouth. Boston Market watch out… these guys are coming. They aren’t prepared for customers, true… but the taste takes me to South America instantly. I am lost at a Brazilian bar… music hitting my ear drums making me want to dance to the groove… I need a beer!
Seriously, they took me somewhere with their chicken… a place I have not gone before… and may not go again, if they don’t better prepare for their customers. Remember, the soup nazi didn’t make it… they closed the doors. These guys won’t make it either unless they get ready for some customers. I won’t refer my friends. I won’t follow them across town for dinner. I won’t subject my family to this kind of incompetence. Yes, the chicken was a dream, but the customer experience was pour. Today, having both a great product and a great experience is a base requirement… which brings me back to Raquel Lindemann and my hot chocolate. Could my experience be any better? Not without sinning. I am calling it right here and now, she is the next big thing coming out of Dallas… and she is ready for her customers, as is Dunn Bros Coffee House.