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5 Reasons We’re Not Amy’s Bakery

May 20, 2013

By now many have heard, through blog or directly, the business meltdown last week after an Arizona bakery appeared on a television show seeking a chef’s feedback and direction. It was depicted badly, and got worse as it drew unfavorable responses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI would hope that such a display of obscenities doesn’t come from the agriculture world, but there are areas of frustration I suppose that it could happen. However, that so much of it was directed at the customers left me in awe.

We don’t watch the show Kitchen Nightmares, and although I know who Gordon Ramsey is, what I saw goes beyond nightmare. But there’s key differences in operations. Here’s the first ones I see that I feel strongly about.

1. Owner responsibility. Business owners can blame the workers for only so long. One cannot expect employees to have the same sense of ownership and responsibility as an owner – and it seems if you find one, it pays to hang onto that employee! Even with ownership and responsibility it comes down to who pays the bills. Here, for example, Connor has the responsibility for making sure all rabbits and poultry pens have water…and while that is put to him to do, ultimately it’s my responsibility to insure it gets done. If he misses a bottle or bucket, it’s up to me to say “Hey Connor be sure and fill the doe on the end.” If he doesn’t for days and the doe died, that’s my neglect every bit as much as his. He’s a teenager – as an adult I bear higher responsibility.

2. Customer blame. Comments in all caps telling the public they’re stupid and don’t know what good food is – well it might be the perception but not every perception needs to be verbalized. Retaliating against customers is unacceptable. “The customer is not always right” – unfortunately, no they aren’t but they ARE the ones paying the bill. Too much, waiting too long – I would be upset too. The overwhelm was clear, as was the lack of multi-tasking needed for such an operation.

When we have someone sign up we set a time frame when folks can expect to get their food. Now in agriculture things can happen. There can be delays, and we strive to compensate for that with our time frame. For example, we strive to have holiday turkeys processed in October or November, which means we need to back up the time we start those birds. Depending on the type of bird, it can vary from a few months to five or six months for mature turkeys.

3. Rejecting advice requested. When someone asks us for advice then refuses to take it, it is a waste of time. Honest criticism to improve can be a good thing.

4. Basic business principles. From tips to promising customers something that doesn’t happen, basic principles make a difference. If we tell people we’ll do XYZ then it’s reasonable they are disappointed to receive XDG. If someone orders a turkey from us, it’s dishonest and unacceptable to me to go buy a store bought bird and repackage it. Now some may love the differences in what we produce, and others may not. We expect that. Food choices have consequences as well.

5. Customer care. We all have different levels of expectations based on our own perspective. If I go into a restaurant, I expect food on the table within an hour under normal circumstances. Rather than attack the customer, we strive for clear communication from the beginning. Now it is very likely that Chef Ramsey’s taste and perspective of good food may be different than mine, and most expect a $30 meal to be better than a $10 meal. When we tell you that we’ll have 20 rabbit fryers and 50 meat chickens in June, we should reasonably expect it to happen. Granted storms may affect plans, but reasonable is good.

We cater to a niche market, as does this company and many others. We strive for interaction have an extended application and ask questions to foster clear expectations and communication.

Anything less isn’t what we’re here. With the meats and produce, and food liability, we cannot take it back once delivered, but strive to do the best job possible.

Our customers deserve that.


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