Dear Fast Food: STOP CHARGING ME FOR EXTRA SAUCE!!!
An Open Letter to ALL Fast Food Restaurants That Penalize Customers For Liking to Dip.
Dear Fast Food Restaurants:
You are alienating me and a large portion of your customer base. I like sauce. I like to dip various components of my meal in sauce; not just chicken nuggets, chicken strips or chicken wings. I didn’t think this was an outrageous request. I spent my hard earned money at your establishment. Your service was ok, I guess. But when I asked for more sauce or some sauce, I saw a different side of your staff.
I was mocked. I was jeered. I was side-eyed for my love of dipping. I asked why and you told me sauce is only for this or that. Have you forgotten the age old adage: the customer is always right? Now I get it, and I’m wise enough and mature enough to understand that the customer clearly isn’t always right. Me included. But what I will say is that they are ALMOST always right, especially when making REASONABLE requests of you and your establishment. Extra sauce would certainly, in my book, fall squarely within this realm.
Let’s examine two of the main anti-fast food chains who have bucked the fairly recent trend of extra-sauce-shaming made popular by such fast food behemoths as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Popeyes to name a few. (I also acknowledge I’m giving way too much information about my eating habits lol.) Those two “other” chains would be Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A.
A recent report was published that indicated Chick-Fil-A’s sales have now surpassed KFC and CFA is only open 6 days a week and has about 50% fewer stores! Now KFC isn’t necessarily in the extra-sauce-shaming business but I think it’s interesting commentary on how if you don’t adapt AND treat your customers royally, your business can die or at least whither before dying. Oh, and by the way, I can ask for 10 extra sauces at CFA and get. Every. Single. One.
Now let’s look at probably my favorite anti-fast food establishment, Chipotle. They charge extra for nothing!!!! And at the time of this writing, their stock price was a beefy (no fast food pun intended) $723.55, which is more than McDonald’s, KFC, Popeyes and Burger King. Combined!! Oh and for good measure throw Apple in there too (unrelated but just to prove a point). Chipotle doesn’t shame you about anything. They just give it to you and continue winning. Other fast food joints, take note.
Please know, though, I understand the cost of doing business is rising. Americans are among the most wasteful human beings on the planet. I have also wasted sauce before. But I’m not perfect, I’m your customer!! Does losing my business cost more or less than sauce? If the answer is more, make the sound business decision to stop humiliating your customers.
In short, STOP CHARGING ME FOR EXTRA SAUCE. It makes me perceive your customer service as horrible, even though it might not be. And that’s what this whole thing is about–making your customers feel great, not ashamed. Those little signs that read something like: “Extra Sauces are 25¢ each” are the fast food equivalent of walking into a clothing store and seeing signs that there are no refunds or that you’re being recorded. I immediately exit those stores. Ironically, this same concept of giving the customer what they want and not shaming them for requests can be applied to any and every business. A simple concept: either ask your customer what they want, then do it; or listen, closely, to their requests and oblige those you can, as quickly and happily as possible. There are too many examples of companies who didn’t do this in the business graveyard.
I’m not a criminal, I’m mostly right as a customer and I want my extra sauce, now.
A (shamefully) loyal fast food patron
Sadiq Ali, MBA, is a speaker, trainer, professor, and author of Millionaire Manners: The Men’s (and Boy’s) Guide to Social Grace in the New Age and founder of Millionaire Manners Academy, a full service educational consulting and leadership training organization that teaches life and career success through great personal and professional etiquette.