In the Sunday, August 6 New York Times there was an article about a fast-food company that was doing something unique with their employees. Not so unique for some industries but for the fast-food industry where turnover can be close to 300% in a year, they are being unique.
The story goes like this – Pret A Manger tried the old way of hiring people. Just like most fast food companies, they considered the reward the fact that they gave you a job. When the company had to shut stores, pull in and regroup they decided to do some things differently.
Pret A Manger decided a major focus for them would be customer service. In order for the company to give the best customer service possible they decided to hire, pay and promote on qualities such as cheerfulness. I’m not sure if they did a benchmark of their Customer Service position (in a previous post I wrote about this) but believe it or not a quality such as Customer Focus can show up as part of your company culture and an important part of the job.
While Pret A Manger is proving fast-food doesn’t have to be accompanied by snarls and slinging food across the counter. They are thumbing their noses at other fast-food places that still hire the “old fashioned way” AND they have decided to draw a line in the sand and differentiate their organization.
I know if I have the choice of spending my money at a place where the cashier smiles or spending my money at a place where I’m treated like an intruder, all things being equal I’ll take the smiley cashier experience thank you.