McDonald's has a restaurant on the eastbound side of the Connecticut Turnpike Interstate 95 in Darien. For years, the place had been an almost unimaginable filthy highway eatery before going out of business and being acquired by McDonald's in 1985. Three years later, it was one of the busiest McDonald's in America. In July 1988, it set an all-time monthly domestic record of $604,000 in sales. Same location, just a different standard of quality.
Recently a story on TV FOX 18 News, giving consumers advice about how to determine the quality of a restaurant, suggested, ``before ordering make a trip to the restroom.
``You can pretty well determine the cleanliness of the kitchen by what you see in the restroom. After all, if the restaurant does not have a sparkling restroom, a room the customer sees, what does the kitchen, a place the customer does not visit, look like?
Hertz had been in business for nearly 20 years when Avis started. Hertz was owned at the time by General Motors Corp., which had plenty of financial muscle to stave off new competition. But Avis decided to raise the standard of the car rental service and rent cars at airports, a market that Hertz refused to see as profitable.
Because of recognizing that the public wanted the standard of service raised, Avis became a major player in the car rental business. Higher standards pay in any business.
Alvin Burger had spent much of his life in the pest control business. He grew dissatisfied with the lack of quality and low standards in his industry and pledged to do something about it.
Most of the industry only wanted to control bugs, but Mr. Burger wanted to raise the standard and eliminate them. Now, Mr. Burger has outlets in almost every state and is considered the standard of the industry.
McDonald's and Avis have nothing on Cooker Bar & Grill-Charlotte, N.C./Ballantine location.
Last Saturday evening two friends (the Treadways), my wife and I dined at Cooker. The service was well above average. Prompt and professional attention was paid to all details, including:
* Waitpersons well informed and well able to present the evening's specials and particulars of meal preparations.
* Filling and refilling of drinks, rolls, etc.
* Timely serving of appetizers, salads and entrees.
Approximately three quarters of the way through our fine meal, the manager appeared and said, ``Folks, I must apologize. Our policy is for every meal to be served within 20 minutes, and because of a mix-up in the kitchen yours took 25 minutes. Therefore, your entire evening's dining will be at no charge.'' We did not even notice the tardiness.
Assistant General Manager Gregg Bibik explained that Cooker believes and practices ``The Highest Standards Win'' in gaining and retaining customers.
Guest satisfaction is first and foremost with all employees. Everyone in the line of service, from the cook to the server, will only serve the food if they're proud of it. Gregg explained to me how their demand upon themselves for a higher standard of service toward the customers also pays huge benefits in employee retention.
Are your standards high enough?
Mr. Janet, a marketing consultant and professional speaker, lives in Matthews, N.C.