Charley’s Grilled Subs – A Lesson in Customer Service

Charleys subCharley’s Grilled Subs is a favorite of mine. They’re in the mall. But I don’t shop in the mall. Charley’s is a destination for me. It’s good enough for me to make a special trip to the mall…just to grab one of Charley’s awesome grilled subs. They have enough selection to keep me curious and trying something new every time. I usually grab a buddy from work and we head over to Charley’s.

Let me be clear. A sandwich…is my favorite food. And Charley’s never disappoints. Of course it’s not an average sandwich. It’s a grilled sub where they sear and fry everything on the grill right in front of you.

And what about USDA Choice steak that you can’t even find in the grocery store? Or the courageous practice that if your fries sit longer than 90 seconds, they go in the trash? 90 seconds! Now, that’s fresh!

I’m not going to talk about their food though. It’s good. It’s great! I highly recommend you try it. Ok, I’m done talking about the food.

I notice their customer service. But let’s not think of it as “customer service”… but maybe “customer delightedness”.

Their employees always always always appear to be happy and having a good time. In my opinion…that rubs off on customers. Of course, you’ve been to other eateries where “the help” seems to have just gotten out of bed. Or they have a chip on their shoulder something fierce, and you wonder if they spit in everyone’s food. But not at Charley’s.

I talked to the owners of Charley’s recently. Nice, hardworking, and grateful people.

What’s their secret? I don’t think they have one – they just run a business like more people should.

They KNOW that their employees are part of their marketing. They come up with employee contests. They ask for input and feedback. They ask for ideas. They share their sales numbers and get them to WANT to beat yesterday’s numbers or last week’s numbers. Charley’s employees feel they’re part of the team…not just an hourly worker bee.

And it SHOWS! And it works! Charley’s always seems to be busy when I’m there. Of course, you’d expect they would get a bunch of mall traffic. And they do. But just “being in the mall” doesn’t guarantee success. I’ve seen many eateries come and go in the mall. And the ones that have to close up shop usually had a “customer delightedness” problem. Or the owners tried to manage from afar. And that doesn’t work.

And what about their marketing? Of course, I could help them do some really awesome radio…but that isn’t always the best thing for a restaurant with tight profit margins. Especially for a place like Charley’s who is still fairly new. The owners of Charley’s here in Sioux Falls at the Empire Mall aren’t afraid to go out and “get” business. They’ll hand a coupon to anyone, anywhere – with a smile and a handshake.

I’m not a fan of coupons in newspapers and online because then you start training people to look for your coupon. Coupons are to help entice someone NEW to try you out. Then…you can dazzle them. And Charley’s does just that! The owners and management make sure they have a pocket full of coupons wherever they go. They get out and meet new people. They say something like, “Hey, when your head is on a swivel in the food court at the mall…wondering where you should eat…give us a try!”

You get a great meal…at a fair price…and happy employees “whistling while they work”. It beats the tar out of most places we visit these days, right?

I think if they continue to empower their employees and make sure they understand how much impact their smiles and attitude affect their customers…they’ll keep growing and continue to be a success!

Congrats, Charley’s Grilled Subs! You’re doing it right! Thank you!

Have a delicious day!

Duane Christensen

Sioux Falls Radio Advertising blog

I work for Results Radio / Townsquare Media in Sioux Falls. I even have a local advertising book that was published July 2012. The e-book is available on Amazon. Click here if you’d like to take a look at “Take A Bigger Slice”.

Advertisements