Boston Market ups the pressure… (a.k.a. What now, Panera Bread?)


Insanity.

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/136910586947715072

That’s right.  Boston Market not only reached out via my contact form thanks to Facebook, but also had the cojones to do this…

Boston Market RT!

Boston Market RT!

I still haven’t received a reply to my email to Mr. Wakabayashi, but what now Panera Bread? What now?  Clearly, this will pan out to be a bigger rivalry than Neil Young vs. Skynrd, or East Coast Rap vs. West Coast Rap.  Maybe even bigger than me vs. the people that think I’m McDonald’s (At Least Mr. Wakabayashi used my contact form correctly!)

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/137169033266077696

http://twitter.com/#!/bostonmarket/status/137212008138424321

If you have no idea what’s going on, or if you work for Panera Bread.  You can catch up here…

In other news, did you know that they both cater?  I wish someone would have told me.

Panera Bread (Scott Twp. Greentree Road) on UrbanspoonI actually stopped at the local Panera the other night because the wife was sick and wanted some of that cheese-broccoli soup.  I went in to get some to go, and got myself a half of a turkey sandwich and a cup of the chicken noodle.

The employee (a young girl, of course) at the counter was quite friendly, asked if I wanted lettuce tomato or onion on the sandwich, and even asked if I wanted mustard and/or mayo.  Clearly, someone went over new procedures.  Sadly, I asked for lettuce & tomato… and got neither, but I did get mustard and mayo.  I applaud the effort, and shame on me for not checking before I left the store.

I have to say, after my initial complaint, they have totally stepped it up service-wise.  I still call shenanigans on the new soup.  They ought to let sales do the talking… OFFER BOTH.  It’s certainly a popular item.  Let the consumers decide if they want a great-tasting soup… or the crappy flat-noodled healthy soup.  Clearly, as a leader in the Fast Casual industry, you can afford to test the proverbial waters?  I think more changes have been made, but it’s still not the old soup.  Shenanigans.

Also, I counted 3 signs within  a span of about 8 feet on the counter where you wait for your order advertising the catering… and the pop machine still does it too.  I think the receipt may have even said something about it.

I spend far too much time contemplating fast food & fast casual dining.  If only I could save time buy purchasing already prepared meals.  Does anyone out there do that?

New Catering Advertisement Opportunities! (for Boston Market & Panera Bread)


I’m just sayin’.

Panera Bread  - vs. -  Boston Market

Panera Bread - vs. - Boston Market

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 4, 2011
Subject: New Catering Advertisement Opportunities!
To: & Cc:  A bunch of Panera & Boston Market Employees

Hello friends at Boston Market & Panera Bread,

I assume that the lack of response to my last email about an all-out catering battle at my house was ill-received.  I didn’t get any interest from either camp, or even any kind of acknowledgement of my email.  Not even a coupon.  Isn’t that the typical response?  “Throw ’em a coupon!”  Color me disappointed.

No reply is rather rude, don’t you think?  Batman movie night has come & gone.  We dutifully provided a favorable dining experience to our guests thanks to an incredible local pizza shop.  Roasted red peppers as a pizza topping?  A hit all around, I tell you!  Subs with a homemade feel cut in to bite-size appetizers were also quite delicious.

I’m not sure why neither Panera Bread or Boston Market was willing to enter my catering battle royale.  It would have been an exciting opportunity for both of you.  I realize now… that you need help with forward thinking.  You missed this opportunity to advertise your catering and fight for my dollar.

I believe that I may have come around to your way of thinking.  Perhaps I need to fight for your dollar.  I previously saw advertisements on the pop machine and all over the windows as borderline obscene… but why stop at the border, friends?  Let’s trample the border, deface it on our way through, and not look back!  I have some ideas that you may find attractive.  I really look forward to your feedback.  (Don’t give me any shenanigans about unsolicited ideas and what-not, we’re all friends here.)

  • Advertising on the napkins.  You already do it on the receipts, walls, & windows.  Subway uses their napkins for nutrition information.  Show them up, advertise!  Think of all that clean wasted ad space ripe for the slinging of your delicious wares.  Were one ambitious, this could extend to the “to go” sandwich wrappings, the fancy new plates that you’re both using, and even the trays.  Hell, why not the drink cups?
  • Guerrilla advertising. You could have employees go into your parking lot at regular intervals, and put flyers under the windshield wipers of cars.  If you really wanna get crazy, try bumper stickers!  People would love decorations on their autos.
  • Me.  Send me a T-shirt that advertises your catering services.  I play in a band.  I’ll wear it to shows.  The throngs of bar patrons who rock out with me on a regular basis will be sure to flock to the nearest Panera Bread or Boston Market location.  I might be able to convince my band-mates to do the same.  If we’d like to get really crazy, may I offer to sell my forehead as a billboard?
  • Paystubs.  Your employees get paid right?  Get that money back!  Advertise your catering services on their pay-stubs, and any communications that you need to send.  There’s room on that W2 envelope for a 10% off catering coupon.
  • Right on the food itself.  This is the one that excites me the most!  You’ve seen the toasters that produce an image of Darth Vader, and the irons that brand your initials on to a steak, right?  There are also printers that print right on things like rice paper & cakes.  Why not take advantage of this technology?  Think about it.  Full color printing on wraps?  Toasty images on buns, bread, & bagels?  Delicious meat branded with confidence, demanding that you pick up a catering menu.  It’s never been done.  It’s opulent.  It’s genius.  (If I do say so myself.)

So, what do you think?  Can I help in this new advertising adventure?  These are the next steps in the evolution of promulgation.  Let’s move onward and upward, into uncharted catering promotional territory.  It will be an onslaught to the senses, and an influx in revenue for all involved.  I’m excited for this venture, and especially excited to get some feedback from everyone involved.

Excelsoir!
-Waldo Lunar
[ -YOUR AD COULD BE HERE- ]

incessant emails / incessant advertising

incessant emails / incessant advertising

Further Reading:

Panera responds to my insanity, so I write back…


So after my last Panera-related post, I went a little goofy. I put a post on their Facebook wall

http://www.facebook.com/panerabread/posts/124723480954835

Found this part of that amusing:

…the corporate office (or in your case the corporate office for our franchise partner who operates bakery-cafes in the Pittsburgh area) reviews your email before contacting and working closely with the general manager to try to resolve the issue.

I also tweeted a few times…

http://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/96920982714990592

http://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/96949713940643841

…and got this DM from them:

Panera Breadpanerabread Hey, thx for sharing feedback through website. Sorry about your disappointing experience, our CS team is looking into & will be in touch.

Heh.

I got this email from the local general manager…

From: 3497 <panera3497@covelli.com>
To: [me]
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2011 10:50 AM
Subject: Contact Us

Dear Mr. Carroll,

I would like to introduce myself as Carrie Janota, the General Manager at the Greentree Panera Bread. I appreciate all your feedback and coaching. Your response will definitely help us with current and future training to associates, especially this time of year. The company has made several changes with menu items that you expressed in your comments. First, our turkey is now presliced so the consistency is different than when we sliced it in house. We also changed the recipe of our chicken noodle soup, which makes it all natural. Another healthy initiative we have taken is the removal of sauces on all cafe sandwiches. We offer packets of mayo and mustard at the condiment bar or you are welcomed to inform the cashier that you would like the condiments on the sandwich and we will gladly put them on for you. The “no onions” is our mistake and I would like to compensate you for a free meal next time you visit a Panera Bread. If you could please send me your address, I will gladly put the coupon in the mail for you. Again, thank you for your input, I use all issues as a learning tools for our associates.

Carrie Janota
General Manager

So, this is what I wrote back to them…

-餧馕馒-

Thank you Ms. Janota,

You certainly can address me as “Eric”, not “Mr. Carroll”. I appreciate your incredibly rapid and well-stated response to my experience yesterday. I was going out of my mind in disbelief. I would suggest that Panera spend more time asking/telling customers about changes, and less time advertising your catering services. I mean, really… on the pop machine, you’re advertising the catering service? What about a nice big poster that says… “WARNING: WE CHANGED THE TASTY NOODLES IN THAT SOUP THAT YOU LIKE, THE MEAT ON OUR SANDWICHES, AND HAVE DECIDED TO FORGO MUSTARD.” (Or even a nice traditional Coke or Pepsi logo?)

Boston Market is annoying/obnoxious with advertising their catering too. I get it. You guys cater. I know this. I’m here for dinner. You don’t need to advertise for a place that I’m already in. Imagine going into Walmart & seeing a sign in every aisle that advertises the stuff in the next aisle. This could get quote old quite quickly.

  • Attn: Panera – I don’t host any lunch parties or have a need for sandwich rings.
  • Attn: Boston Market – I can cook my own Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.
  • Attn: Bob Evans – I can handle making my own lasagna or meatloaf.
  • Attn: Chick-fil-A – The only thing I’d do with a tray full of nuggets is eat them all myself.
Since you took the time to write, and you’re obviously concerned and well-written, I’d like to address my concerns & the new issues raised more specifically.

The Onion
– This is not a big deal. I generally don’t even say anything & just take the onion off myself. This is the first time I was ever asked “Lettuce, tomato, & onion?” in a Panera. So, I said “Lettuce & tomato, no onion please.” This is the only reason I took note. It also said on my receipt “NO ONION” – so the cashier took the effort to note it, and the sandwich-maker had to read & ignore it. Just odd. Again, this is nothing that should ruin one’s day.

The Turkey – I call shenanigans. Any foodie will tell you there’s a world of difference between lunch-meat turkey and the freshly-sliced real thing. Why would Panera decide to sacrifice quality like this? Does it save time? Does it save money? Certainly it can’t be healthier… isn’t pre-packaged lunch-meat loaded with salt & preservatives? Imagine my surprise upon looking at my $6 half-sandwich full of lunch-meat where I had expected (and previously received) actual turkey. Where was my warning of this upon ordering? I certainly didn’t get the proverbial memo here. At least there’s no confirmation of turkeys with gold nuggets in their gizzards and fine wine in their gullets. Although, I didn’t get a staunch denial.

The Lettuce & Tomato – Are Panera employees encouraged to look at the ingredients before placing them on sandwiches? Really, that’s all that would be needed to prevent the placement of brown lettuce & green tomatoes. A general rule of thumb could be “If you were going to make yourself a sandwich, would you use this?”

The lack of any condiments – Again, list this in the “things that would be nice to know before I placed my order, or at the very least as I was placing my order” category. I liked the previous dressing/sauce whatever you want to call it, and it was certainly different from the straight mayo or spicy brown mustard available by the drinks (& catering advertisement). Is this really a “healthy” option or a money-saving option? I’m reminded of the “removing one olive from every salad” story with American Airlines. It saved them a rumored $40,000. I imagine all of this no-more-condiments stuff adding up to a HUGE savings for Panera… but my sandwich didn’t get cheaper, did it? No passing along the savings? (I think Steak ‘n’ Shake has done this too… their salads used to be nice-sized with cherry tomatoes… now they’re small & have tomato slices.)

The mysterious thumbprint – The noted lack of condiments has me even more concerned about the yellow thumbprint that was on the top of my sandwich. I had just assumed it was some of the condiment that was supposed to go on the inside. I ripped this portion out of the top of my sandwich before eating, to the bewilderment of my eye-rolling yet tolerant-to-my-neuroses wife. This leads me to wonder what the yellow stuff on my sandwich was… if not mustard, was it some of her broccoli cheddar soup? If so, this is incredibly alarming because it could have easily been clam chowder… and I’m highly allergic to shellfish. How is soup on the sandwich board or my sandwich when it wasn’t even my soup? I suggest you educate your employees on allergens & cross-contamination. Barring all that… it’s just a little gross. That could have been a big yellow booger for all I know.

The healthy soup – Pardon me if I laugh at the “all natural” expression. While I understand the meaning, visions of a supernatural soup come to mind. Was the prior soup possessed by demons? The noodles certainly were homemade-looking and delicious. Were they the result of a tasty pact with the devil or an ancient spell? Did the ingredients float into the bowl themselves? I don’t know what the tiny paper-thin pasta squares in the new soup are, but they are a Ford Focus to the previous soup’s BMW 7 Series. They’re not whole-grain pasta, are they? I hate whole-grain pasta. If this soup was a state, the broth were the land-mass and the chicken bits & noodle-like squares were people… it would be Alaska or Wyoming. Do you see what I’m saying? (Actually, the noodles might be the people, and the chicken may be an endangered species living within that state… but I’ve already pushed that metaphor too far.) I’m not entirely sure if this is the fault of the soup-ladeler or the soup recipe. As far as healthy vs. tasty in soup, I suggest you look up news articles related to Campbell’s. They’re putting salt back into soup to boost sales. I see from your corporate Facebook page that this is apparently an issue that has ruffled some feathers. Perhaps a shift back is in order?

The rusty knife – Poop happens. Have the dishwasher look over some stuff. I’d throw out the rusty ones. This rust was quite prominent on the handle of the butter knife, in the details of the design.


Thank you for your time, I hope you can use my input to your advantage… for your team, and perhaps passed on to a corporate level. I’d like to respectfully decline a free meal. I don’t write these sort of emails in order to get free food… and I’m skeptical of any coupons/certificates flagging me as “oh, here’s that guy”. I may even be done with Panera bread for a while. Bedsides the potentially scary cross-contamination and general utensil-cleanliness issues, our philosophies don’t seem to mesh well. I don’t need you to make health decisions for me, I need you to give me quality meals at the prices you demand. Your new more healthy less tasty soup and lack of condiments disturbs me, and apparently your quality standards aren’t the same as mine at your current menu prices.

I’d suggest taking some of the money saved from condiment rationing, smaller noodles, & catering advertising… and funneling it into a survey system to find out what your consumers want, or at the very least making signs or T-shirts that say “We’re holding the mustard unless you tell us not to!” or “New soup! Less noodles & chicken, but no ghosts!” It would also be money well spent on allergy training or buying new non-rusty silverware. Do you have any corporate contacts whom with I could perhaps take up this discussion?


Supernatural soup supporter,
-Eric

?sretac arenaP taht wonk uoy diD .seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

-餧馕馒-

I for one can’t wait for a reply.

Panera Bread (Scott Twp. Greentree Road) on Urbanspoon

The Great Panera Bread Swindle


The last two times I have been to Panera Bread, it’s been a debacle.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit… but it’s still ridiculous when compared to the price.  At the Robinson (Settler’s Ridge?) location, I got the wrong sandwich entirely… but tonight’s experience was absolutely ridiculous.  I actually just reviewed my experience at PaneraListens.com (as per the receipt), and through the contact form on their website.

This is what I shared…

I paid $6.69 for a half of a sandwich, which is now lunch meat & used to be actual pieces of turkey.  There were onions on the sandwich, and the receipt says “no onions” like I asked.  No big deal in itself.  There was no mustard/mayo/sauce on the sandwich, except for a thumbprint of something on the top/outside that shouldn’t be there.  Didn’t it used to come with a mustard?  1 of the 2 pieces of lettuce had brown edges.  The center of the tomato was hard & green.  The chicken noodle soup was ridiculously sparse as far as the  noodles and/or chicken.  I had about 4 or 5 spoonfuls of actual ingredients, and about a half bowl of broth.  The (lack of) quality of the meal was astounding.  How far has a once-great restaurant fallen?  I expect crappy food/service from McDonald’s… but not from Panera Bread.

You can improve by instructing employees to read their screens or receipts or whatever they read to make the orders.  You can then teach them how to make sandwiches without using brown lettuce or green tomatoes… and how to not put mustard thumb-prints on the outside of mustard-less sandwiches.  (Cross-contamination is a nightmare for people with food-allergies, have you considered this?)  You can also teach them how to ladle proper portions of chicken noodle soup… now with lame little noodles instead of the homemade-looking ones of yesteryear.

You can also stop subbing turkey lunch meat for real turkey in your $6 turkey sandwiches.  A friggin’ POUND of turkey at the grocery store doesn’t even cost $6, and YOU should be getting restaurant/wholesale prices.  Not that I would deny you profit… but REALLY?  Do the turkeys that you buy use gold nuggets in their gizzards?  Do they drink fine wine?

I neglected to go complain, because everyone working seemed to really care less if my order was correct or not… I also fear some sort of retaliation if I need a re-made sandwich or an actual bowl (not cup) of soup.

My wife had a cream of broccoli soup & a salad that looked spectacular.  No brown lettuce even… and it was a whole bowl!  She did get a knife that had rust on the handle though… sort of unappetizing.  I’d rather see plastic flatware than rusty flatware.

Something was really wrong here today, or I just had some bad karma all around my order.

I know I sound insane, and it’s really not that big of a deal… but this kind of stuff drives me absolutely nuts.  I just can’t imagine serving a half-assed sandwich… with a thumbprint on it, either in my house to a guest, or especially not at a job where I’m being paid to do it.  Also, you go to a chain for consistency… which I have never received at Panera.

I think I’m most disappointed with the apparent swindling of turkey lunch meat for actual turkey… and whatever those tiny little pasta squares were compared to the old homemade style noodles.  Panrea bread… we’re not stupid.  I doubt I’ll be back.

Panera Bread (Scott Twp. Greentree Road) on Urbanspoon

Chick-fil-A CARES


I told you there were more!

Somewhat humorously, the slowest responses from Chick-fil-A have been from the webform & customer service email address.  I pulled out all the stops in tracking down & emailing every available Chick-fil-A email address, because you never know if you’re going to get a response from some companies.

I started with the webform:

From:world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
To:Chick-fil-A.CARES@p67ix100.na.ko.co
CC:
Sent: 02/07/11
Subject: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message

Hello,

I have a photo that I’d like to send with comments.  Do you have an email that I may write to directly without the cumbersome contact form?

Thank you for your time,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

And I got this reply…

From: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 18, 2011
Subject: Chick-fil-A Response
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. AiXeLsyD: 

 

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A.  You are very important to us, and we appreciate your inquiry regarding submission of a photo.  We hope the following information will be helpful.

Thank you for wanting to share this photo with us. If you will respond to this email and attach the photograph, then we will receive and submit to Marc Osborne, Operator of the Robinson location.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.

Sincerely,

Margaret
Chick-fil-A CARES
Chick-fil-A…We Didn’t Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
On the Web at www.chick-fil-a.com

P.S.  Please retain your ticket number.  This will help us locate your information should you need us again.

{ticketno:[8000257615]}

So, I sent them this:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM
Subject: Re: Chick-fil-A Response
To: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>

Hello & thanks for the email!

My original comments & the photo referenced are attached.

Can’t wait to hear from you!  (Oddly enough… the absolute 1st to reply to my email was Dan Cathy himself!  The webform is quite slow in comparison to emailing Mr. Cathy directly.)

Rock on!

-E.

No response so far.

But, I did email the original message to chickfilacares@na.ko.com just to see if I got a response.  I did.

From: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 18, 2011
Subject: Chick-fil-A Response
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Aixelsyd:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. We are grateful that you provided your encouraging comments regarding our tasty food, the friendly customer service and our Cow Campaign.

I would like to assure you that your thoughtful message has been shared with the appropriate parties at Chick-fil-A.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.  We are grateful to know that you love Chick-fil-A, and we look forward to serving you in the future.

Sincerely,

Margaret
Chick-fil-A CARES
Chick-fil-A…We Didn’t Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
On the Web at www.chick-fil-a.com

P.S.  Please retain your ticket number.  This will help us locate your information should you need us again.

{ticketno:[8000257737]}

I wonder if Margaret realizes that she wrote back to the same nutjob twice?

Chick-fil-A is so freakin’ polite.


You read my post, (The not so) Holy Cow!, right?  Well, I’ve gotten a few more replies from within the Chick-fil-A organization.  While none are as cool as getting one from Dan Cathy himself, they’re all amusing in that they won’t quite mention that the cow’s front leg totally looked like a penis.

I emailed a bunch of random Chick-fil-A email addresses that I was able to find via Google, and soem local places.  This was the first response after Mr. Cathy:

From: Circle Centre Mall <circle.center.mall@chick-fil-a.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 8, 2011
Subject: RE: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Eric,

I’m actually in a mall. The marketing material in question is not in use at our store so I hadn’t seen it.

Interesting observation!

Not sure what feedback you’d received from others, but, at least for me, it hasn’t been an issue.

Thanks for being a Fan of Chick-fil-A!

Sam

So, basically… “It wasn’t me!”  But, “Interesting observation!” must mean, “Wow, that does look like a penis!”

I wrote back to Sam, but have yet to receive any more correspondence from him:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 16, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: Circle Centre Mall <circle.center.mall@chick-fil-a.com>

Thanks Sam,

I found them amusing.  I did only hear back from the local Chick-fil-A, and interestingly enough directly form Dan Cathy himself.  Now, that’s customer service!

Watch out for over-excited cows, my friend!

-ERiC

Then, I had a nice exchange with local Chick-fil-A employee Rebecca Thornsbury, whom I have contacted before:

From: Chick-fil-A South Hills <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 14, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello Eric.  Thank you for the feedback.  I sent your email onto our Creative Team within Marketing at our Corporate Office.  They emailed back today that they received it and will look into it.  Also thank you for the nice compliments.

We really appreciate you being a fan of Chick-fil-A.

Talk to you soon,

Rebecca Thornsberry
Marketing Director

Chick-fil-A at South Hills
1620 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Store- 412-833-1165
Cell- 412-443-5534
www.chick-fil-a.com/southhills

They really are always happy for the compliments of my first email.   I wrote back to my new old friend…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 16, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: Chick-fil-A South Hills <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>

Hello Rebecca,

I haven’t heard form the creative team in marketing at the corporate office yet, but I did get an email from Mr. Dan Cathy himself!  That’s what I call service!

I would be interested to see if anyone else saw the same thing I did.  Maybe it’s more like a Rorschach test for a dirty mind, and I’m the odd man out.  Although, my wife saw the same thing.

I’m glad you like the compliments, and can assure you that they’re well-deserved!  I didn’t hear back from the Robinson CFA, but that’s where we saw the humorous (or amorous?) cow clock.  Your store is generally much cleaner and more pleasant… so a response from you & not from them isn’t a surprise.

Just writing this email I’m already hungry for some chicken nuggets.

Thanks for writing!
-ERiC

I’m telling you, it looks like a penis.

From: Chick-fil-A South Hills <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 17, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello Eric.  It is nice to hear that Dan Cathy wrote you.  Chick-fil-A is a great company and cares about what the customers think.  I am not sure if the Marketing Team will be writing you or not.  When they emailed me back, they said they would pass it along to the creative people and make note of it.

We have had no one else mention anything about the clocks.  A lot of the kids that eat in our restaurant really liked them and moms asked if they could take them home.  I had mentioned in my feedback to Chick-fil-A that it was a hard table topper because people moved the arms around and then they broke very easily.

Thanks again for the feedback and we’ll see you soon!

Rebecca Thornsberry
Marketing Director

Chick-fil-A at South Hills
1620 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Store- 412-833-1165
Cell- 412-443-5534
www.chick-fil-a.com/southhills

“Mom, can I take home the cow alarm clock where his arm is swinging around from his waist?  Sure, one arm broke off, but that’s OK.  It just needs the one.”

Although, it does seem that Dan Cathy is a swell guy.  I wonder when he’s going to be on that Undercover Boss show?  A PR team needs to put him to work with a gay Chick-fil-A employee.

I have a few more, but I’ll save them for another post.

 

Al Armcock

Al Armcock

(The not so) Holy Cow!


Have you tried any of the new SPICEE CHIKIN… or spicy chicken options?  They’re pretty good if you’re into that sort of thing.  I’ve blogged about Chick-fil-A before, specifically the South Hills location.  CFA is has a great product, amusing promotion (unless you’re a vegan I’d guess), and seems to be a great company if you can get around the whole “maybe they’re too nice to anti-gay groups” thing.

My wife & I had lunch at the Chick-fil-A in Robinson this past weekend, and we found the on-table advertisements for the Spicy Chicken Biscuit breakfast sandwich to be quite amusing for all the wrong reasons.  I decided to write to Chick-fil-A to see what they thought, my email and the attached photo below:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 7, 2011
Subject: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: promotions@chick-fil-a.com

Ciao Chicken Czars!

I am a BIG fan of Chick-fil-A.  Your chicken sandwiches & nuggets Can. Not. Be. Beat.  Seriously, I don’t know what you do with that breading… but it’s Chick-fan-Tastic.  They honey mustard dip?  Incredible (or as a cow may say, “INKREDIBULL”).  Your chicken noodle soup is my go-to soup when I’m not feeling well and there’s no time for my wife to make some homemade.  Your sweet tea is simple, yet addictive.  We have stopped at the mall units just for tea while we walk around to shop, and we’ve gone through FSU drive-troughs at times just to get sweet tea and nothing else.  The cleanliness of your stores is mostly always impeccable, and the courteousness?  Genius.  I mean, “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” is such a simple thing… but it makes such a huge difference in the overall attitude.  It puts Chick-fil-A far above any other fast food chain in the customer service category.  The in-store events, fund-raising, promotions, use of social media like Facebook, Twitter & texting?  Savvy indeed!  The first fast food joints in my area to use the new space-age Heinz ketchup packets?  Innovative!

I even love the cows.  I have a small stuffed one near my PC at home.  I have had my photo taken with more than one in-store cow.  They’re such unlikely mascots for a chicken restaurant of all places… but it works.  I have always wondered about their spelling though… are you trying to imply that eating beef makes you stupid?  Well, that’s not the main point of my email, or why I’m reaching out to you today, comrades.  I would like to talk about the spicy chicken (or “spicee chikin”) cow though, specifically the one in the attached photo taken while eating lunch at Chick-fil-A this past Saturday.

While I get that the cows “arms” are supposed to be the clock hands, I feel that sadly the placement of said arms is quite unfortunate.  Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but as I laughed at it and took a photo my wife giggled and rolled her eyes knowing what I was thinking.  Maybe the advertising department should re-think this one?  I mean, my arms certainly don’t spin around at waist level.  Do yours?  The shoulders ought to be placed at the center of the clock face in future cow “clok” (also in this case perhaps an unfortunate way to misspell clock) table displays.  I posted the photo on Facebook and the general consensus was that it most definitely didn’t remind people of an arm.  I think that if this cow were walking around with something protruding from that area, he may get arrested for indecent exposure.  I mean, I get excited over Chick-fil-A too, but not that excited!

I just wanted to write and hear your thoughts on the matter.  I’m curious to know if anyone else has picked up on the naughty firefighting cow.  “Spicee” indeed!  Thank you for your time, I anxiously look forward to your reply.

EAT MOR CHIKIN,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

 

Al Armcock

Al Armcock

Heh.  Well, I thought it was funny.  So did people on Facebook apparently.  I mean, it jumped out right away.  Maybe we have dirty minds… maybe it really does look like a giant cow penis.  It’s certainly inappropriately placed for an “arm” if nothing else.

Knowing Chick-fil-A’s history as a company, I had to see if someone would respond to this.  Maybe it’s a secret shout out to gay employees and customers that they’re supporting them.  I mean, the fireman outfit and the giant appendage?

I have proof that Chick-fil-A is the best company ever.  Dan Cathy, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the company himself wrote back to me, and he was the first to reply.  I mean, he wrote back before any of the local full service units!

From: Dan T. Cathy <DAN.CATHY@chick-fil-a.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 7, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks Eric for your kind comments; delighted to have your business and support.

I have passed along your email to members of our marketing department.  Valid observations; we’ll be a little more careful next time!

Dan T. Cathy

It’s a serious reply to me just goofing around (I mean, really… the attached file is named “Al_Armcock.jpg”), but there is no one above Mr. Cathy in the CFA organization, and he took the time to reply to my dumb email!  I could have gone goofy.  Maybe I didn’t go goofy enough.  At any rate, this has to be the best answer to an email ever.  No “I’m sorry” coupons, no form letter, no blow-off.  It was a short reply drawing attention to the matter, saying it will be dealt with, and a ridiculously perfect example of customer service… from the President of the company who I’m sure has much more important things to do.  McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, and the rest of you … take note!  This is customer service.

I wonder if I’ll hear back from anyone else that I emailed, or from the marketing department now?  This just rules.  Ha ha.