Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good Chicken



Before football season last year a new restaurant opened up across from the practice field - Raising Canes. I quickly looked them up on the Internet and discovered that they only serve chicken fingers. You can order 2-3-4 fingers or a finger sandwich, but that's it chicken fingers.

About that time, I was supposed to get some baskets together for the PTA auction at Clay's school. I sent an email to corporate - and then followed up with a phone call. I explained to the Marketing Intern on the phone what we were doing and what the fundraiser was for - I'm sure I sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher as this point. I know I went into my sales pitch about all the reasons you should do what I want. But she'd already agreed and I just kept talking. They were going to make a basket - the whole thing - and mail it to me. I didn't have to do another thing - just get it to the school - that's it. It was so easy!

And then she said, "Is the anything else I can do for you?" Now I'm not sure she meant it. It might have just been something to say, but not being one to pass up an opportunity, I said, "Well, could you feed the teachers too?" Now mind you there are like 65 people on staff at Waters. I didn't expect her to say "sure;" I really would have been delighted with a few 10% off coupons.

They fed all the teachers! The manager brought one of his employees out to the school. They served the teachers, sat and talked to them as they came in to eat, and then cleaned it up too! I was amazed. The teachers were amazed. Some of them had taught there for years and could only remember one other time that something like that had ever happened.

Well, needless to say I was impressed. So I called and asked it I could do a little marketing for them on campus during my Car Clinics. We've put coupons for free lemonade in our goodie bags for participants 3 times a year now-the students just love that. One time we just put in a full color menu slick and we had people ask about the lemonade!

So I knocked on their door again this summer to see if Clayton's class of school aged kids at Trinity's Summer Program could take a tour of the restaurant. I didn't even know if they did stuff like that or not. But you know, it never hurts to ask...Once again the answer was, "of course!"

We showed up with the fifteen most adorable, "is summer over yet?" children before the big lunch rush and they acted like they had all the time in the world to show us around and answer our questions. And if taking the time to explain everything to us - highlighting necessary skills like teamwork, safety, organization, education and training - as if all of that wasn't enough - they fed us. All of us - for free! The kids each got a kids meal - like $4 each. The teachers -there were three of us - all got a combo meal worth about $7 a piece. Do the math!

Then apologizing that they goodies bags they order for us as a surprise didn't come in, they gave us t-shirts, stickers, pens, koozies...and told us that they'd call us when the "real" stuff came in - seriously, you're going to give us that stuff to?

I have a box of plush Raising Canes dogs, Mardi Gras necklaces, temporary tattoos....in my car right now. I picked it up from them yesterday.

If chicken fingers is the "One Love" they talk about, community involvement and customer service must run a close second.
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