Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Filbertos vs A&W/Long John Silvers

Good morning folks,

Like most American communities, we have a dozen or so fast food outlets within "take home" distance of my home.  On average, that's probably on the low side as compared to other population-concentrated neighborhoods.  I hereby assert that we need to implement a "fast food productivity index" to add to all of the other government indexes which are regularly announced on CNBC every day of the week.

I can think of no better "test lab" to measure the "productivity" of a business than seeing how Fast Food outlets thrive or die, depending on how well they treat their customers....especially as compared to a near-by competitor.  Let me offer a personal experience; when I lived in the north county of San Diego we had a McDonald's franchise within a block of our home.  Big Mac had little competition save a KFC outlet across the street.  For at least five years this McDonald's franchise was surely the worst I've have ever visited.  The food was consistently served lukewarm or cold and greasy, order mistakes were made frequently, and, without exaggeration, I can tell you that I've waited 15 minutes in a drive-thru when it wasn't even busy! Despite the convenience of it being nearby I quit going.  Then, a Burger King opened less than a block away and all of a sudden the "captive MacDonald customer" opted for BK and left this horrible McDonald's franchise languishing.  Finally, after six months or so, the Mickey D manager or owner got the message and the McDonald's revitalized itself and began serving hot burgers and fries in a timely manner!  Ahh...competition!

Fade to our neighbor hood we had a co-located A&W and Long John Silvers franchise; for the seven years I have lived here I visited it perhaps half a dozen times and consistently got cold burgers or cold greasy fish and fries.  Too, the food was overpriced and the service was horrible.  I quit going.  Everyone else must have quit them too because the franchise, having failed to learn a business lesson, has shut down.  As I drove by the outlet the other day I saw a banner waving across the front announcing a "Filbertos" was coming soon...

Filbertos is a local franchise in the Phoenix area.  They serve traditional Mexican fast food and they serve it hot and quickly.  Pretty basic but it succeeds where a national franchise brand failed and failed again over an extended period of time, simply because they thought their "national brand" advantage could overcome lousy food and poor service.

In an age when American business is battling for its life, when they are confronting fierce foreign competition with a plethora of variable costs and conditions challenges, they can learn from "the little Filbertos that could".  It's pretty simple:  1) satisfy a consumer need 2) Do so courteously 3) in a timely manner 4) with a consistent quality of product or service.


Anonymous said...

Hoorah, you hit a nerve with me on this one. It is ubiquitous throughout the country. You would think they all could hire decent employees with the unemployment rate as it is. I ceased to patronize McDonald's a long time ago in the Phoenix area due to the reasons you listed.

A Modest Scribler said...

Anon: Have you ever noticed the difference between the workers at the traditional Micky D's and InNOut Burger? At InNOut those kids are hustling their butt off and producing good grub! Don't know for a fact but I was told it's because InNOut pays more and has some kind of college fund for them. Ahh, free market capitalism!