Money is tighter. Consumers are crabbier. So are many employees. But some executives say the recession has made it even more important for chains to leverage better service into happier patrons.
“Customers have limited funds these days and use more discretion with them,” says Tom Coba, Subway’s chief operating officer. “Their expectation is that they’re going to get good service, or they’ll go somewhere else.”
Ask any quick-serve operator who’s been through a crisis. He will be able to tell you the exact date, time, and day of the week the fate of his concept came under attack. Whether it’s a food scare, a rodent infestation, a food-borne illness, or a product recall that threatens a brand’s reputation, its every detail—along with a feeling of peril—is emblazoned into his memory.