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FlourPower

Can you make that smaller?

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I realize that for a lot of people, the frozen mini eclairs and mini quiches from Sam's are must-haves for get togethers. That's fine. But why the need to have everything else mini? Because they're cute? Because you can then eat thirty instead of five?

We get a couple requests a week for mini cinnamon rolls (shudder), mini scones and the like every week. Our stuff's not huge. Our scones are not basketball-sized, and our cinnamon rolls are not the size of a baby's head. What's the deal?

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I realize that for a lot of people, the frozen mini eclairs and mini quiches from Sam's are must-haves for get togethers. That's fine. But why the need to have everything else mini? Because they're cute? Because you can then eat thirty instead of five?

We get a couple requests a week for mini cinnamon rolls (shudder), mini scones and the like every week. Our stuff's not huge. Our scones are not basketball-sized, and our cinnamon rolls are not the size of a baby's head. What's the deal?

You've stated it. They are cute.

When Shawn and I shop for kitchen supplies, there is a serious, unnamed draw to those miniature cast-iron pans (heck, a local tapas joint serves a great potato souffle in them!), small tart shells, and itsy-bitsy enamel-ware.

Shawn will hold one up and look at me stating, "Cute factor."

I think the same philosophy goes with food...

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I think you better get used to the mini craze. It's all about portion control and for some people it is easier to eat two mini somethings than eat half a cinnamon roll now and half tomorrow.

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I like the idea of minis. If both the cinnamon rolls and the scones look great, I want to try both. I'll pass on the regular sizes unless I have someone who will split them with me. I can't bear to just taste and discard the rest. There is a place for minis in this world!


KathyM

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I love to make mini scones for tea. That way I can have one with marmalade, one with lemon curd, one with clotted cream and blackberry jelly.....

It is about portion control for me too. I feel more of a treat if I get to have a variety, and I actually eat less with three mini as opposed to one regular. So sometimes I have 6.... sue me :biggrin:

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There's a couple of bakeries in my neighborhood that have mini items. I suspect for some people it's feeling a little less guilty if they have a smaller piece, for myself it means not having to decide between the cannoli and the napoleon; I can have both.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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I'm convinced that people like miniature desserts- individual cheesecakes, souffles, and so forth- because they like not having to share.


Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)

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Damn! You mean I'm supposed to not eat an entire cheesecake by myself? :raz:


"Portion control" implies you are actually going to have portions! ~ Susan G

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I enjoy mini items because sometimes they're easier to bite into. Admittedly I'm a bit OCD and don't like the feeling of food touching the very corners of my lips mostly because I'm afraid of breakouts there. A friend of mine and I have an agreement that when we share fries, she eats the large ones and I eat the smaller ones. I also prefer the broken crackers, chips and stuff on the bottoms of snack bags. Not the ones ground into find powder mind you, but the smaller, easier to handle pieces.


Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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I made someone cry on Saturday because of this.

Ever since we opened, we get one or two requests per week to cut items into smaller pieces. Doesn't matter if it's a brownie, slice of poundcake or a scone, they ask if we can cut it smaller.

I did not start this business to cut people's food. Break the damn thing in half.

This and other issues, like people placing special orders at the very last possible minute, have led us to create a list of house rules. They're pretty straightforward: be nice or leave, special orders require 24 hour notice, etc.

#5 on the list reads: "We do not cut items into smaller pieces. If you're old enough to read this you're old enough to cut your own food." We have PLENTY of plastic knives for those so inclined.

Saturday this woman came in and read the list. "I don't think #5 is very nice," she began. Then she read it back to me.

"Well, we get a couple requests a week for a cinnamon roll cut in half, or a slice of poundcake cut into fourths. First, we don't have time to cut people's food. Second, it's insulting. You don't go to a steakhouse and ask them to cut your meat for you, do you?"

That's when I remembered her: she'd asked for some scones to be cut into quarters. She was feeding a bunch of kids and was being cheap. She wound up buying a dozen day old muffins instead.

But she wouldn't let it go. I didn't really know what I was supposed to say, so I reiterated our rule and pointed out that it wasn't about her. It was the cumulative effect of many requests for this, and that we feel it's out of line.

She left in tears.

Am I out of line here? If I took the time to indulge every person who bought one item (and 90% of the time the person's buying ONE thing, not a sheet of brownies) we wouldn't get anything done. Should I get some Zoloft and OCD medication and throw it in a candy dish for these people?

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My opinion is that she had control issues.

It's not your job to do what any other customer with half a brain can.

Otoh, if she would be willing to pay a 250% markup on top of what she already pays for your product, I could see her point. :wink:

Soba

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Am I out of line here? If I took the time to indulge every person who bought one item (and 90% of the time the person's buying ONE thing, not a sheet of brownies) we wouldn't get anything done. Should I get some Zoloft and OCD medication and throw it in a candy dish for these people?

well, you can't control your customers' reactions or emotions but it seems to me that it's not a sound business strategy to bring customers to tears. it's not very professional. i'm not in your business but i certainly have difficult customers in my business. it's really hard sometimes but i always act professionally and have never had anyone leave in tears.

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"one or two requests a week"

That's it?

To keep a customer happy I would gladly quarter a brownie or half a muffin once or twice a week.

If every other customer came in and requested the service, I might rethink it.

But once or twice a week?

Rules may be rules, but they don't necessarily keep customers happy.

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"Ever since we opened, we get one or two requests per week to cut items into smaller pieces. "

My gosh, if I only had to deal with one or two odd customers a week, I'd be in heaven! One or two requests a week out of, what, hopefully hundreds of customers? How Awful for You!

"#5 on the list reads: "We do not cut items into smaller pieces. If you're old enough to read this you're old enough to cut your own food."

You actually POST this for customers to see? wow.

"First, we don't have time to cut people's food. Second, it's insulting."

You're too special to engage in customer service? You're insulted by it? I think walking into a business that whaps me in the face with 24 rules is insulting.

"That's when I remembered her: she'd asked for some scones to be cut into quarters. She was feeding a bunch of kids and was being cheap. She wound up buying a dozen day old muffins instead. "

"She was feeding a bunch of kids" If those kids were with her, her attention may have been elsewhere ("Johnny, don't run into the street!"), and you could have made her life just that little bit easier. If they were waiting for her, she was most likely very stressed ("I wonder if Johnny is shaving the dog"), and the ease of having you do it may have gained you a customer for life. She likely entertains adults too, and you just missed out on that repeat cake/bread/scone business.

"She left in tears."

I hadn't even thought of this as a rule for customer service, as it had never even been in the realm of possibility for me, but it's now at the top of my list. #1: Don't make the customer cry. Not only did you make a customer CRY, you also upset any other customers who were in the shop, who will then spread very negative word of mouth about your business.

"Am I out of line here? If I took the time to indulge every person who bought one item (and 90% of the time the person's buying ONE thing, not a sheet of brownies) we wouldn't get anything done."

Ok, you said it was just one or two people a week who asked for this. What you term 'indulgance' is what others call 'good customer service' and 'building a repeat business'.

I don't usually react like this to a post, but I had to answer yours line by line. You may want to seriously rethink your line of work if you feel it's right to post a list of 24 rules for the customer, and make your customers cry if they don't obey.


Edited by lala (log)

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I'm in limbo if it was out of line. If I saw a sign, I would make a note and just not ask, although I wouldn't have done it anyway. The Soup Nazi seemed to make quite a living from being rude. Compared to him, that little rule was nothing. There's a certain market/sandwich in town here that gets much publicity from its rudeness. When the owner actually smiles at me, I think something must be wrong with him :wink:

I wouldn't say your response was rude, you wer just someone who had had enough. The question is how many customers you can afford to lose. Someone who buys 6 day-old muffins probably wasn't giving you enough too many cash flow concerns.

Rhonda

P.S. We used to have a secretary here with 2 signs on her desk: 1) Your lack of planning does not mean it's an emergency for me (or something along those lines). 2) I only please one person per day, today is not your day, tomorrow isn't looking good either. (I never did know if she was actually rude or not; I just never asked her for any favors.) :rolleyes:

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Whew! Ok, now that I've calmed down...

I think mini food is a) cute b) a good way to engage in portion control c) a good way to get around the usual problem of muffins the size of my head d) a fun way to try different things. Think if it like appetizer baked goods...you'd have a selection of passed hors d'ouevres, right? Well, why not a few different desserts, if they're available? Better than having to cut the 'damn' things up, right? :wink:


“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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"#5 on the list reads: "We do not cut items into smaller pieces. If you're old enough to read this you're old enough to cut your own food."

You actually POST this for customers to see? wow.

[...]

I think walking into a business that whaps me in the face with 24 rules is insulting.

Ummm, FlourPower never said there were 24 rules. The "24" involved that many hours required for special orders.

I thought the list was funny ... "Be nice or leave." :raz:

I reckon that, if the "no cut" rule made it to the posted rules, then enough people were asking about it to create a problem. (Otherwise it wouldn't be posted, right?)

As for making the woman cry, I'd be willing to bet that other stuff was going on in her life and the initial response set her off. It might have been a little harsh; perhaps a better approach would be to say "Well, we tried to phrase that rule in a humourous way; I'm sorry you don't see the humour in it. In truth, there were so many people asking for that service that it did create some workflow problems."

You could always do what the restaurants do and charge extra for splitting an order. Of course, then that woman would probably cry because it cost her more to have her scone split in half.

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Another title for this thread could be "Less is more"

I'm a sucker for mini pastries. My local bakery has them so I like to buy one of everything. I agree with the people above that said it lets them taste some of everything, which is nice.

The bakery I patronize is pricey, so you bet I am paying through the nose for this service. I do it willingly, in fact, eagerly!

Maybe another cash flow item for FlourPower? :biggrin:


I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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You're absolutely right, Jenson, I misread it. That's what happens when I'm seeing red.

But she said that "Ever since we opened, we get one or two requests per week to cut items into smaller pieces. "

Is that enough to make it a posted rule? Really?

And of course there must have been stuff going on in that woman's life to make her burst into tears. Like having to take baked goods to a pile of children, and the service person at the bakery not helping out. We all have stress in our lives, and it just makes it worse to be treated badly. And the wording of that sign is very snippy. How about: "If you want your treats cut up, knives are available at the service station". ?

Still, I think that Flourpower should take a deep breath. He/she may think they're running a bakery, but they're really in the customer service business - you are, any time you have customers. And making customers burst into tears is bad business.


Edited by lala (log)

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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You're absolutely right, Jenson, I misread it. That's what happens when I'm seeing red.

But she said that "Ever since we opened, we get one or two requests per week to cut items into smaller pieces. "

Is that enough to make it a posted rule? Really?

To be honest, I assumed that FlourPower had understated the number of requests in the "one or two per week" comment. No, I can't see that being enough to warrant Rule #5.

If that is the correct number of requests, then maybe the Zoloft should be in the staff room, not on the counter. :laugh:

I like your idea of knives at the service station too. That would be a good solution to the problem.

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Then again, adding that to the rule list might just add to the "flavor" of the place. Like a "No Selling Cat" sign I saw in a place in New Orleans.


Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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Miniature pastries also have a higher crust to crumb ratio, for those of us who are fiends for the crisp and the brown. And they are so dang cute. :wub:

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I'm in the retail food business. Thank goodness it's not my own business: I work for a large grocery store.

I'd be fired if I reacted to customers' requests that way.

The customer is always right....she may not shop there often, but you can be sure that she will tell all her friends about the attitude in that bakery. Word gets around.

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"#5 on the list reads: 'We do not cut items into smaller pieces. If you're old enough to read this you're old enough to cut your own food.' We have PLENTY of plastic knives for those so inclined."

Maybe the wording could be changed here? It really isn't nice. Not the decision that you don't cut items into smaller pieces, but the way you say it. There's a lot of unnecessary aggression here, no?

"That's when I remembered her: she'd asked for some scones to be cut into quarters. She was feeding a bunch of kids and was being cheap. She wound up buying a dozen day old muffins instead."

Cheap? Or perhaps on a budget? Okay, I'll say it -- poor? I don't know her (or you) from Adam, but I do know there are reasons other than "cheap" that people don't spend money on certain things. Often it's because they can't.

Aside from that, I just bought mini-muffin tins. I love muffins, and I can easily eat two. Even three. But I know I won't eat four or six of the small ones. I'll still go for two or three. I don't know why, but there ya go. :smile:

I can't stand, however, the mini cookies they sell now. Because I don't stop at two or three of them. It's the whole box or nothing. So I guess the mini stuff is great marketing.

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That's what else bothered me... calling the woman cheap.

as cakewalk said:

"Cheap? Or perhaps on a budget? Okay, I'll say it -- poor? I don't know her (or you) from Adam, but I do know there are reasons other than "cheap" that people don't spend money on certain things. Often it's because they can't."

Exactly. And do you want to be seen as discriminating against the poor? She 'only' bought some day old muffins...well, you were trying to wring the most profit you could out of Stale Food, and she helped, right? Not too bad for you.

You should be careful about who you call cheap. As cakewalk said, she may be poor at the moment. Who knows how her finances will be next year? In this economy, those who don't have now, may have later. And those who are buying the fresh stuff now, may only be able to afford the day olds next year. Can you really afford to cop an attitude about anyone's financial status, when your own depends on them? And aside from finances, shouldn't there be a basic respect for everyone?

Sorry, I just really believe that to build a great business, you have to give excellent customer service to EVERYONE. You never know what the next day will bring, what rewards you will reap from your kindness, and what will come back to bite you in the ass. That 'cheap' woman, if you had been kind, may have mentioned your good product and kind manner to her social worker, or kid's school, and you may have scored a contract for a big catered fund raiser (it happened to me. $3K on what would have been a dead weekend, because I made it fun for some money strapped disabled kids to buy from me). Or not...it all depends on how you treat people, doesn't it?

Hopping down off my soapbox now...


Edited by lala (log)

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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