Category Archives: Customer Servicce

The Best Reason For Fast Feeders To Up Wages in Corporate Stores

cook station-mcdonalds

Even before election day in the U.S. was – thankfully! – fast approaching, a number of fast food chains were anticipating the success of minimum-wage-raising ballot initiatives in various states … and going ahead on their own to better compensate their workers.

An article today (Oct. 31) in South Florida Business Journal (and, no doubt, in other publications from the same company), before noting that both McDonald’s and Starbucks had recently announced raised wages for workers in company-owned stores, cited perhaps the best reason for other companies to make similar moves: The paper quoted Sonic Drive-In CEO Cliff Hudson as saying his company expects to improve sales by paying managers higher wages and hiring more full-time workers and, as or more important, he anticipates the company’s action will encourage the franchise owners of 95% of Sonic locations to follow his lead.

Business Insider noted that while such initiatives may seem counter-intuitive for a business that depends on low-cost labor in an industry where thin profit margins make it difficult for franchisees to either up wages or cover health care insurance, Sonic’s Cliff Hudson says that his company’s research has proved that investing more in labor is necessary if the chain wants to compete in a crowded industry.

“We’re just trying to show [franchisees] this can be a win-win deal, if it’s done right and it’s done well,”  Hudson  said, referring to the chain’s plan to increase its number of full-time employees.

With 95% of Sonic locations being franchises, Hudson can’t automatically raise wages at Sonic restaurants. However, he said, the company can try and convince franchisees that doing so would be financially beneficial. Hudson said raising wages was a major topic of discussion at the company’s annual franchisee meeting in September.

There’s also the argument that better-paid workers should be happier in their jobs and, thus, be more likely to provide better customer service. Similarly, better-paid managers would, you’d think, be motivated to work harder at find ways, within their limited playbooks, to encourage workers in that (better customer service) direction.

And if raising wages for workers and managers leads to marginal increases in prices to customers, let’s be realistic: Most people who regularly eat fast food aren’t going to be put off by a nudge up in the price of a burger, fries or a soft drink. Most of those customers are in the fast food place in the first place for one of two reasons: Either they don’t see themselves have a choice or where or how to spend their food dollar, and/or they simply like the food.

PepsiCo Charts Healthier, More Environment-Friendly Path


In one of the boldest, bravest and most extensive commitments a food industry company has made with the intent of “meeting changing consumer and societal needs,” PepsiCo announced Oct. 17 that a sizable share of its massive product range – marketed under a staggering assortment of brand names – will have their sugar, saturated fat and sodium content drastically reduced by the year 2025.

The Purchase, New York-based company simultaneously announced plans to reduce its environment impact and “to empower people around the world.”

The company

  • Plans to continue transforming its product portfolioby offering healthier food and beverage choices, reduce its environmental impact and empower people around the world
  • At leasttwo-thirds of PepsiCo beverages expected to contain 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 12-oz serving by 2025,with increased focus on zero- and lower-calorie products
  • Targeting 15% improvement in water efficiency of itsdirect agricultural supply chain in high water-risk areas by 2025 – saving the equivalent of total water used in PepsiCo’s manufacturing operations
  • Seeking 20%reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the company’s value chain, including its agricultural supply, by 2030
  • In partnership with PepsiCo Foundation, plans toinvest $100 million supporting initiatives to benefit at least 12.5 million women and girls around the world

A company press statement said, “These new initiatives continue PepsiCo’s decade-long commitment to delivering Performance with Purpose, a pioneering vision launched in 2006 rooted in the fundamental belief that business success is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world we share.

“To succeed in today’s volatile and changing world, corporations must do three things exceedingly well: focus on delivering strong financial performance, do it in a way that is sustainable over time and be responsive to the needs of society,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. “The first ten years of PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose journey have demonstrated what is possible when a company does well by also doing good. We have created significant shareholder value, while taking important steps to address environmental, health and social priorities all around the world.”

“PepsiCo’s journey is far from complete, and our new goals are designed to build on our progress and broaden our efforts,” Nooyi continued. “We have mapped our plans against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and we believe the steps we are taking will help lift PepsiCo to even greater heights in the years ahead. Companies like PepsiCo have a tremendous opportunity – as well as a responsibility – to not only make a profit, but to do so in a way that makes a difference in the world.”

Oregon School Takes ‘Local-Only’ Food Campaign To Whole New Level


Photo credit: KVAL-TV, Eugene Oregon

All the food – all of it – served in the Fairfield Elementary School in Eugene, Oregon’s Bethel district last Wednesday was locally grown and/or produced in their town’s pretty immediate area, it was reported by KVAL-TV.

“Every bite was produced in Oregon,” the station declared.

Farmers and representatives from companies like Franz Bakery came to the cafeteria to serve the food to kids.

Bethel nutrition director Jennie Kolpak says the special lunch was intended to introduce students to the idea of eating locally.

Kolpak says locally-produced food is better for Oregon’s economy, and healthier for kids.

But that idea isn’t unfamiliar to the Bethel District.

“Every day, every single meal that we serve has some local items in it,” says Kolpak. “About 40 percent of the food we serve is grown or processed in Oregon.”

Kolpak says Bethel is one of the best districts in the state in locally-produced, nutritious food.

Wednesday’s food came from all over the state, but a lot of Bethel’s food comes from much closer to home.

Fairfield boasts a school garden with tomatoes, peas and other plants.

And recently, a four-acre field on district property was turned into a functioning farm.

“We harvested thousands of pounds of vegetables this summer,” says Bethel Farm manager Kasey White. “And we’re supplying fresh food to our cafeterias.”

Going forward, a goal for the Bethel district is to expand access to nutritional and physical education to give kids healthy habits.


Starbucker ‘Exploded With Kindness’ At NYC Bomb Scene


A former colleague, Kevin Coupe, publishes a blog for executives involved primarily in food retailing. He posted the following item this morning:

It has gotten a lot of attention in the media, but one almost cannot focus on such acts of kindness too much.

It was Sunday night in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, where an apparent terrorist attack resulted in an explosion rocked several blocks and resulted in the wounding of 29 people. As first responders came to the scene, an employee from a nearby Starbucks who identified himself only as Jermaine also showed up, and he passed out bags of pastries and cups of coffee to the police and fire department personnel at the scene.

“I wish I could give a little more,” Jermaine told the officers.

But Jermaine’s act was more than just an act of kindness. It was proof that even in moments that can reflect the worst of what humanity can do, there is the opportunity for people to show the best of themselves.

Sort of like the Standard High Line, a local hotel, which CNN reports “opened up its rooms to residents living within the attack area. In a Facebook post, the hotel said residents would proof of address could also eat for free.”

This story has, in fact, received a lot of publicity — undoubtedly providing a huge amount of goodwill for Starbucks. And well it should!

One of the things that has helped Starbucks grow and prosper over the the years is the company dedication to employee training, with an emphasis on serving two clients: The person in front of the counter, and the ‘bean counters and co.’ who own the business.

Kevin’s blog hammers hard on the importance of that kind of management mind set. Germaine in New York City clearly takes it as much to heart as his employer does.