Take Out Pet Peeve

This evening we placed an order for Yats Cajun Food. Their meals are about as close to authentic one can get in our town. The food is good and the portion size is just about right. Plus you can’t beat the toasted bread that comes with each meal.

The other day we ate at Noodles & Company. It’s a little fast food place that again, has pretty good food, good prices, and good portions. They have of course, noodle dishes, but they also have salads, soups, and zoodles.

There are other restaurants that also have good food, good portions, and good prices. All of these restaurants have one negative thing in common. They don’t seem to care what happens when the customer gets home with the food they’ve taken the time to prepare.

None of these restaurants label their food for you. If you are the sole order, no problemo. It is pretty easy to know all of the food is yours. When there are two people, still not too bad. However, when you get to three or more, it gets a little harder, especially if two people order the same thing, but had it cooked differently or had a slight variation on toppings or sides.

I really don’t get why it is so hard to take a moment to label the container for each separate order. Have preprinted labels with the base orders, then add a quick note on the container with the specialness of the order. If well-done, write WD on the top. If noodle dishes that look similar, write beef or pork on the top to know which meat is which.

Better yet, everything is done via the computer now. When taking an order in person, online, or via an app, just add a name, or even just initials, to the digital order. Then print that out as a label to place on the to-go orders. It really isn’t rocket science.

What it is, is a commitment to putting the customer first. It is going that little extra to elevate the customer experience. It is experiencing empathy for how a person might feel when they pull out the order at home. Do you want a frustrated customer trying to figure out which food goes with which family member? Or do you want the family to open the bag, quickly pass out the food, and start eating while it’s hot.

The first scenario creates doubt in the mind of the customer of whether to return or not. The second scenario creates a shot of dopamine and a happy customer who can’t wait to go back to your restaurant again soon.

Which customer experience do you want for your business?

For the love of food, label the container!

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