I don’t want to disappoint my low-carb readers, but now and then I eat pizza. Especially when you have little kids pizza is a really good choice, since it tastes good, and even liminal toddler savages can consume it (it’s soft, it’s easy to grasp onto, and the mess isn’t that big of a deal). I probably should do more reading on food, since food is important, and I spend more than the typical American in terms of total budget (yes, I definitely lean SWPL in this domain). The family has an edition of On Food and Cooking which I used to thumb through, but I probably haven’t touched it in 5 years. Do any readers know if Pizza: A Global History is good? It’s part of a series.
My pizza preferences aren’t too sophisticated (though if you say that you like “Chicago style” you are dead to me). Usually I avoid the chains, because there’s often a good local joint. But of late I have been going toward a chain, Blaze Pizza. I really love the fact that you can order a specific pizza tailored to your preferences online, and then go and pick it up. And I’m not the only one, a 2015 survthough uey has Blaze up to the #2 “fast casual” brand. I asserted to my wife that Blaze is obviously trying to be the Chipotle of pizza, and apparently I’m not the only one making the obvious analogy. But the CEO of Blaze has higher ambitions. He wants the chain to be the “Starbucks of fast casual.” Good luck on that! (I think Starbucks is fundamentally a different beast as a Third Place, which an eatery like Blaze is never likely to be).
But here’s the reason I’m putting up this post: Blaze’s online ordering system has a major problem, and that is what they expect you to do when you pick up. Specifically, I make an online order, and then it tells me I need to pick it up at a specific time. They have everything set up, and they put it into the grill when you arrive. But, you are supposed to go up the cashier and tell them you’re an online order, and most of the time a lot of the other customers in line make it really hard for you to get the cashier’s attention. Half the time the cashiers themselves seem to wonder if you are trying to cut ahead in line. Perhaps it’s an feature of my local Blaze, but where you pick up pizza and where you pay the cashier are so close that it’s hard to differentiate myself. So yesterday it said I could pick up the pizza at 6:05. But they didn’t put it into the grill until 6:15 because 1) there was a woman who decided to harangue the cashier about the fact that they didn’t have specified quantities of how much pesto drizzle they had (she liked a “medium” amount) 2) even after she was done the cashier didn’t realize I was waiting for an online order even though I kept trying to make eye contact (I could have shouted “online order” but that would have entailed me cutting in on conversations that were going on).
If you aspire to be the Starbucks of a sector, you need to fix a problem this basic. The convenience of online disappears when there’s such an annoying rate-limiting step. If you want a frictionless experience, and I found that most of it is really smooth, you need to work just a little bit harder.