This post is going to be about ice cream. Well, sort of. Do not try to eat your computer monitor.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am a big fan of ice cream. It doesn’t really matter what kind it is, I’ll eat the crap out of it. Because of this sickness, I’m at the local Dairy Queen eating a blizzard about once a week. Yeah, I know, that’s probably not the wisest thing for a recovering fat guy to do, but stuff is okay in moderation, right?
So I end up at Dairy Queen after a long day of lugging around potato chips last night. I pay $5.76 for a medium blizzard (chocolate extreme, which might be better than sex) and I eagerly await my number. Now, normally when you get a blizzard, it looks a little something like this.
Notice the ice cream level in the cup. You’ll notice that, like in every single blizzard picture in history, the ice cream is at least half an inch above the top of the cup. This is what I’ve come to expect when I get a blizzard. In fact, back when I used to work at Dairy Queen over a decade ago, we were encouraged to make blizzards with the ice cream above the rim of the cup.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. Last night, my blizzard was not filled to the top of the cup. Hell, it was at least half an inch below the top of the cup. What did I do? Did I dress down the poor guy who made my blizzard, making him question his very existence with a profanity laden tirade? Did I pull the owner aside and calmly voice my displeasure? Did I let anyone there know that I was disappointed with my blizzard?
Nope. I came on the internet to whine about it. And, over the next few weeks, I will make sure to tell my friends how pissed off a half inch of ice cream made me. The good news for Dairy Queen is I have no friends.
There’s a couple of lessons about business that we can take from my situation. Hopefully the owner is reading this, assuming he actually reads English. He sure doesn’t speak it very well. I’m not going to reveal what part of the world he’s from, which means I’m not racist. Somehow.
The first lesson is, just like we learned from my toilet paper post, cutting the size of your product doesn’t really do that much for net profits. I’m going to guess that ice cream costs on a blizzard is $1.00. If they reduce that by 5% by not filling the cup all the way, ice cream costs go down to 95 cents. Considering the fixed costs of running a restaurant stay the same and so do the costs of the cup and the spoon, this isn’t really saving the restaurant very much money.
Secondly, every single blizzard picture in history shows ice cream above the top of the cup. Most Dairy Queen’s realize this, so they make the product that way. The company has worked hard over the years to establish this standard. And then, one rouge operator decides to buck the trend to save costs.
By doing this, he’s opened the door for me to get pissed off. And like I said earlier, I’m not going to take him aside and voice my disappointment. I’m going to vote with my feet, and take my ice cream business to the other 4 places in town that sell ice cream. Or, I can go to the grocery store and have my choice of hundreds of different flavors. Maybe it’s because we’re polite Canadians, but we just won’t complain about stuff like that. We’ll just take our business elsewhere, usually quietly.
The owner probably thinks oh, it’s just a little bit of ice cream. He’s guilty of not looking at the big picture. Restaurants need volume to make money. Rent costs the same no matter how many people go into the place. Cutting back the amount of product you give people is not a good way to drive volume.
This concept applies in your life too. No matter what you do, you have customers. They might be your bosses, they might be clients or they might actually be people who come into your store. Whatever you do, don’t disappoint them. Under promise and over deliver. Don’t say you’ll do something unless you intend to do it. Give the best value you can. With so many people out there who don’t see the big picture, standing out won’t be so difficult.