After completing my work, I walked out of the supermarket feeling a bit elated. It was then I decided to treat myself to lunch at the new Hibachi Super Buffet next door. Right after I had that thought I turned around and went back in to ask Richard, the store manager, if he could join me. He said yes because he had heard good things from his staff about the buffet and was looking for a reason to try the new restaurant himself.
We walked past the shopping carts— stopping to help a customer separate two that were stubbornly hanging on to each other—and then past the large blank wall leading up the restaurant’s double doors.
“What do you think?” Richard asked. “Those blank walls,” pointing to either side of the doors, “are disturbing. They should do something to them.”
“You’re right,” I replied as we yanked open both doors and entered, “they almost hide this plain entrance way.”
Richard is always making observations, mostly to himself to keep his skills honed but when he is around someone who appreciates marketing subtitles he makes it an essential part of the conversation.
The Hibachi Super Buffet is decorated in classic dark mahogany-like wood with lots of open space. There is even a huge fish pond filled with small and large Koi. Coins blanket the bottom of the pond which immediately made me think of metal contamination. Don’t eat the carp I told myself.
The great thing about a buffet is within a few short minutes after entering the restaurant you can be enjoying your meal. I started with the stuffed scallops which were wonderful …as was everything else.
I showed Richard the final shopping cart sign and that segued into a conversation on impulse buying.
“If you have a new gum near the checkout,” Richard said, “the customer may or may not try it. Why not help the customer make up his or her mind by having that same gum display in the meat, the produce and the bakery departments.” He went on to say that what he liked about One Can A Week was there are small shelf talkers, stickers on the carts and baskets and a big sign telling the customer how much had been collected. Richard also thinks it’s solid and subtle marketing … everywhere it should be to help the customer make a decision.
A few weeks after Richard said I could collect One Can A Week in his supermarket, he told me he really liked that I did not ask the customers for anything. I just said hello or responded to their questions. Initially I thought it was a nice compliment but following our Hibachi lunch I realized that when it comes to politely interacting with customers, both Richard and I are not only on the same page, we are on the same sentence. No wonder One Can A Week is working so well at Sprouts.
Epilog: While waiting for the waiter to return to our booth with my Visa card, we both opened our fortune cookies. Mine read: “All the answers you need are right there in front of you!” Those darn things never tell me anything I don’t already know.
Have you noticed how clean the Mile Neighborhood is? Block after block the yards are neat and the streets nearly sparkling. Amazing … and delightful. Just wanted to let you know in case you were too busy driving home to take in and appreciate the sights.
We collected a total of 154 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $83.00, two checks totaling $75.00 and $8.00 in cash.
See you Sunday,