The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Stopped by Einstein Bros. Bagel Shop for lunch today. I wound up getting my lunch for free.

What's my secret? No, I didn't fake a near-fatal fall or try any other con job. I just placed my order, sat down, waited about 10 minutes for my Asian Wrap sandwich to come up, and when I checked on what was taking so long, I found out that they either forgot to make it, or else some other customer mistakenly picked it up. I didn't even raise a fuss, the cashier/manager automatically refunded my money. She even offered to give me a free refill on my root beer; I declined that.

This is the first time I've gone to Einstein for lunch in a long while. I used to go quite a bit, both for a bag of bagels on the way in to work, or for a sandwich. But it seems like the production line problems in Einstein Bros. stores are endemic. Any time they get even a little bit busy, the people behind the counter just can't seem to handle it, and they slow down or screw up. In the 30-40 minutes I was there, I noticed at least two other orders get messed up, in addition to mine. It seems to me that their food prepartion area just isn't set up to handle sandwich-making and other lunchtime meals.

If I'm an exec at Einstein Bros. corporate, I'd think about hiring some mystery shopper firm to put together a study of how the average franchise operates, and then implement some serious changes.