I am writing from Tully’s in Canyon Park. I love Bothell. I love working, eating, playing in this town, especially on a day like today (which happens to be sunny and beautiful). I feel that one of the cornerstones of a great community is local business and when I see something that bugs me, I think to myself, this MUST have bugged someone else. I guess sometimes I just think that there are some basics in business, especially in retail and even MORE especially in restaurateuring. Which is the reason for my post today on the Bothell Quiznos in Canyon Park.
Anyone be there? I have, a number of times actually. I remember when Quiznos was all the rage yeas back and I was stoked that we finally got one in Canyon Park. That was back when the idea of toasting a sub was supposed to be something “innovative” that would set them apart from the 800lb gorilla, Subway. Did no one in executive management ever think that Subway might just put toasters in their shops?? I digress.
I want to talk about customer service. Us here in Bothell love to support local businesses… we love to support people that I feel support us, with either great service, or a great product. Quiznos in Bothell has a great product, but the public interaction leaves a bad taste in my mouth. A few years ago, I believe the franchise was bought by some Asian folks. I don’t think (I could be wrong) that they were the ones that started the business, but I remember there being a time where I saw the same people in there. I really have nothing against Asian folks, in fact, some of my best friends and mentors are Asian folks. I am just trying to describe who I am talking about… if you have been there, you know who I am speaking about.
This post is not really about race, but more about communication. I am not sure if you have noticed, but every time you go into the Bothell Quiznos there is the older Asian guy working there. I think he is the owner, but he might not be. He runs a tight ship and I can tell all of the workers there do not want to cross him. Good for you dude, running a tight ship. Awesome.. I have no issue with that. You are a business owner, gotta keep your ship running straight and efficient. When I mentioned this post was about communication, I should have actually said a “lack” of communication. Have you ever noticed that when you go through the line this guy never once has smiles, looks at you, anything. I am sure he has the ability to smile and talk, but there is no communication(verbal or otherwise) over the counter once so ever. You get to the end of the line, he points to a cup to see if you want regular or large combo. Rarely asks if you want anything else… honestly, I don’t think he says anything at all.
For a while I thought this might just be a language thing.. I don’t think so though. You get $10 out of me for a lunch.. ok, I can handle that, but there is NO PERSONAL TOUCH. No thanks. No appreciation. People have options; we can go elsewhere to eat and it is not an isolated instance, I go here all the time. Subway is right across the street and even though I have some comments about our Canyon Park subway as well, I think they do a pretty good job at communicating. I don’t go out to eat to be coddled or thanked, but I think subconsciously I enjoy being acknowledged for choosing their establishment. When I think about going to get a sandwich, this guys robot like, non-thankful domineer wears on me…
I close with this: People have options. There needs to be a connection if you want to build repeat customers. Hell, you might even want to thank them for their business. Like I said, I don’t buy it is a language thing. I know of many business workers who know VERY LITTLE English and do a great job at communicating either by smiling or other means. This guy’s attitude and demeanor is hurting their business, I guarantee it. Do this, go into Teriyaki Plus and talk to Lee the owner. That guy KNOWS how to build a clientele. Lee doesn’t speak perfect English, but he and his wife TOTALLY communicate. I joke about having a “teriyaki guy”, but it is true. When I want teriyaki, I head to Teriyaki plus.. not just because it is the best Yaki in Bothell, but because Lee takes the time to give me a smile and a thank you when I fork over my money for food.