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What Makes The Difference?

On the way to watch the soccer team, that my son coaches, play in a tournament, my best option for a healthy lunch was Chick-fil-A. No one was outside the building smoking, the building was nicely landscaped on the outside and clean and neat inside. A very friendly young lady greeted me, took my order efficiently and when I thanked her, she replied; “My pleasure.” I asked for a black coffee and the Team Member said that it would take about 4 minutes to brew fresh coffee. Since time was tight, I declined and she immediately offered to fix a water to go, what a nice gesture. The entire atmosphere was pleasant, professional and friendly. Everyone was neatly attired in clean uniforms and there was a genuine can do attitude throughout the building. The entire transaction took about 6 minutes. My order was delivered accurately, with the two different sauces that I had requested and I left with a smile feeling really good about the entire experience.

The next day, on the way home, I stopped at McDonalds to pick up a quick breakfast. Two crew members were smoking outside the building. As I approached the counter a crew member said; “What do you need?” I asked for a senior coffee and a toasted bagel with butter only. She asked if it was to eat in, or to go. Since time was again a concern, it was to go. She told me that coffee was free this week. Curious, I asked why and the response was “I don’t know, it just is.” I asked if I could have it while I was waiting on the bagel and she robotically gave it to me. I went over to put a few ice cubes in it and heard my name called. There was a tray on the counter with the bagel wrapped up. I took it and the coffee to my car and was disappointed to open the wrapper and find a dry, semi-toasted bagel, no butter. After taking a few bites, the rest went in the trash.

Since windshield time is a good time to think, I pondered the difference between the two experiences. The conclusion is simple, the people were different. They are paid about the same amount, both have uniforms, but the attitude was totally different. Chick-fil-A is a family owned, faith based company and McDonalds is a public company. Chick-fil-A serves healthy food and McDonalds sells toys in Happy Meals, along with lots of calories, chemicals and cholesterol to go with it. Every Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, yet they do more in revenue than McDonalds.

Walt Disney said; “You can dream, create, design and build the greatest place in the world, but it takes people to make the dream a reality.” This is as true today as it was 40 years ago, if not more so.

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