Strange request

We always get request to bring a pack or smokes or a case of beer which we always refuse. Today one of my regulars called and asked to talk to me. He said we did not want pizza tonight because he was cooking, but his brother had borrowed his truck and he had no way to get to the store and really wanted some chocolate milk and rocky road ice cream. He asked me to have a driver go to the grocery store (adjacent to our shop) and buy these items, mark them up as I saw fit, and deliver them. He would pay whatever I thought was reasonable.
So, did I do it?

If there was a dead period when the driver was not otherwise busy and because the items in question are not age restricted or require a special permit to sell. I would likely have said yes to a regular customer.

Us too! that extra step is what makes loyal lifetime customers

  1. That is not an expectation I would like to create. How does the customer feel next time he calls when we are busy and we say no… “you did this for me before!”

  2. Employees do not understand exceptions. You allow this and all the other requests are OK too. Next thing you know the local paper has a story about the high school kids killed in a car accident coming home from a party where the beer was supplied by your restaurant when a driver picked up a case of beer for a big tip.

No way I open this door.

I am with Steve on this one. One time…next time…oh remember when you brought me ice cream…how about some vodka and I will tip REALLY good! Even if it never was asked again… it still might. I would have said something to try and get you off without looking bad for not doing it. Maybe something like: " I would love too but the way our insurance works with the drivers they cannot deliver ANYTHING other than items I sell directly. If they were too get into an accident it would be considered non-work related, and we already pay too much for coverage. Sorry!" Should get you off the hook and if after that they persist…I would tell the loyal customer that you appreciate his loyalty but I am not willing to risk my business for your ice cream and chocolate milk!!! :x

I’m with Steve as well.
Over the yaers we have had people ask for papers, beer , smokes etc to be picked up and added to their delivery. The previous scumbag owner used to do it even though he was breaking the law doing so as you need a tobacco licence and a liqour licence to sell these items and as you are collecting money for them it is technically selling them.
We refuse point blank.
Once you do they expect it all the time, just the same as a guy phoned last night after our delivery cut off time want a delivery. Told him it was too late then he tried the old “I’ll give the driver a good tip” then the “I’ll pay an extra $20”. I explained to him that if the supermarket closes at 6pm then they don’t let you in at 10 past or other such things and that offering us extra cash won’t change things. He said I was mad for not taking an extra $20 plus a big tip for the driver. I exlained that we don’t do it that way because it could be turned around to say “they deliver after the cut off time but they charge an extra $20 to do it”.
We stick to our cut off times, only deliver what is available in our shop and do not bend the rules for anyone. We have even knocked back $100 orders that people wanted delivered way out of our stipulated and advertised delivery zones.
Do it once and they will expect again.
Dave

I would be concerned about a potential problem with your liability insurer…

I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t get too in depth on the reasons why we can’t fulfull their request, I’d simply apologize to the customer and explain that it’s something we just don’t do as it goes against policy and that we do sincerely appreciate their business.

I have a very simple policy, If it can’t be done 100% of the time for 100% of the customers, than the answer is no.
We learned years ago, that doing something out of the ordinary for one customer will always come back and bite you in the butt. You may make a friend out of that customer, but you may allienate some other good customers. What happens when he brags to his friends about you doing this for him, and the friend calls and wants something but your too busy to do it—do they really understand busy, or do they think that their loyalty to you isn’t appreciated by your business?

Somehow this all got opened up as now bringing alcohol . Which is the first thing that was stated that would absolutely never happen. This request was for some ice cream.These kind of requests are not everyday. If it is a regular customer they are going to realize when you say your busy and can’t this time.
Maybe I am missing what everyone considers a regular customer. For us our regular customers the ones we would even consider a special request like picking something up for are people we know their families, their kids, their grandkids we get invited to their graduations, weddings and showers.

  1. There are customers
  2. There are the people that come in every week.
  3. There are regular customers that have become friends that have come in for 7 years and I see no problem taking the extra step.

Maybe what each of us sees as a regular customer is different???

Here is another take on the situation. You are in the business of selling things to eat and drink. A customer wants you to provide them with a food or drink item (at a profit) that is legal, not age restricted by law and not on your menu. Would you deliver an item that you had to go to the store for supplies in order to meet the requirements of the recipe? Say the customer wanted a special pizza and you had to run to the store for some of the ingredients would you do it? I don’t see much difference. Sure it is not on the menu but is everything that you sell to your customers on the menu? I have an OPEN FOOD option on my POS in order to accommodate things that customers want that are not on the menu.

I guess this type of customer service is what makes my store different than the other 20 stores in my city. We strive to take that extra step. I have had new customers come in a say they were referred to my store by someone for whom we had taken that extra step. Will they expect the same level of service? Yes. Will they ever ask for it? Maybe, but probably not.

Sorry I am still against this. I know we are not talking restricted items but what about “we are too busy…oh it’s ok… I’ll wait until you can later!” or how about my dry cleaning cause it is next to the ice cream shop! How do you ring this up? Does the driver get the tip? Is he/she on the clock? Taxed twice! I totally understand Daddio on having the option to make whatever pizza a customer wants but I think unless you run a delivery service this should be kept out. Yes some people have closer relationships with some customers over others…but it is this same connection that should also be respected by these same customers that you are a restaurant and not their personal delivery service. Do they not realize the wear and tear they are putting on a delivery drivers car! The confusion too be caused by asking for a delivery that is not in the SOP of the pizza delivery drivers handbook! The mental anguish to be had! All of these are valid reasons too not allow this practice. Better Steve? :wink:

Also, isn’t this what friends and relatives are for anyway. Call someone else to get your ice cream and chocolate milk! Geeez! :roll:

I guess I did not make my position clear enough. In my store there is no grey area here when it comes to how these requests are handled. The requested items (food and drink ONLY) are purchased by my store and sold as a product of my store. There is a policy in place for the percentage of mark up on such items. The only difference here is the supply chain. All special requests for items which are not on the menu must have managers approval prior to the order being processed. Only managers have access to the OPEN FOOD part of the POS. The items are placed on an order just the same as any menu item would be. There is no difference in how the driver interacts with the customer. The order is for food and drinks, which I am in the business of selling and delivering.

I 100% agree with you Daddio!

Ok…I have too ask… did Rick do it or not? :?:

Really? Kind of a short sighted policy isn’t it? Ever notice that the line for regular check in is longer than the line for first class? That more of your profits come from 20% of your customers than the rest?

Should you treat different customers differently? Absolutely. It is an inexpensive way to increase order frequency, increase your sales, and customer retention.

It is amazing how fast most of these objections flowed through my mind as he was explaining why he could not get to the store. I decided to do it. He is a good customer, 2 or 3 times a week, $20 to $25 dollars each time. I told him we were quite busy but could get it as soon as things slowed down enough I could comforable let one person out of the kitchen. As soon as we caught up with orders I would get his Bryers Rocky Road and half gallon of chocolate milk and we would send it out with the next delivery that went that way after we bought it. He was okay with that. I marked it up 25% and added the evil shop owners delivery fee. As I returned from the grocery store a call came in from a customer right around the corner form this guys house so we were able to deliver it retatively quickly without going out of our way to do it.

I have gotten too good at telling customers no. He knew he was asking for something extraordinary and said as much. I decided I need to be able to say yes in situations which do not harm me but help the customer out. I already buy stuff from this food lion store for my shop at least once or twice a week so technically they are one of my normal suppliers. Looking back on it now, I probably made a dollar on the deal after paying for the delivery and such, but while making that dollar I made a regular customer very happy. That had a lot more impact that the dozens of flyers I have sent him which all cost me money.

Rick

You hit on one of the factors that got me wanting to find a way to do it for a “high value” customer. My 1st reaction was “you’re kidding me, right?”. Then I remembered a profound article I read about “Finding the YES”. Find a way to please the customer or at least give them something that is a “yes”, even if it is not entirely what they asked for.

My 1st thought was that someone might volunteer to make the run after their shift was over. Yours was even better . . . finding a delivery in his neighborhood or on his street that goes by the grocery store. Bing-bang, you have a customer who is profoundly appreciative of you, and not regretting that $50 to $100 a week he spends with you. I still grimace at the thought that the customer may now play the precedent card. We have . . . ooops . . .had . . . customers we would consider doing this for, and they would never think of taking advantage. Those were the ones we long to talk to these days.

This is a request for a personal favor, if YOU want to do a personal favor for this fellow, go for it. But don’t expect or let your employees do personal favors for people. (This means YOU deliver the stuff, not an employee)

.
.
.Every time you give ‘special’ treatment to a customer, you make him feel special. Every time you don’t give that same treatment to a customer that heard about it, you make him feel discriminated against, (with good reason, too.) That really doesn’t sound like a road I want to go down.