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A Tale of Two Windows.

  • Posted March 31, 2012 by Joe's Farm Grill
  • 10 Comments

3/31/12

Recently received from a customer:

I love the food here. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Unfortunately every time I come there is only 1 order window with a long line. My last visit was a Friday evening at 6:30 and we waited in line for an hour with only 1 order window open. Food is great but would love faster service!!

LB

Dear LB,

Thanks for your feedback, shared by so many of our customers. First let me say that I most definitely feel your pain. I hate to wait in line – at the bank, at Walmart, in traffic…anywhere! And, as the owner/operator of Joe’ Farm Grill, I can assure you there is no one on the planet who would more like that line to move faster. Faster line equals more (and happier) customers which equals more $, etc.

Think about this with me. When I wait in line at the bank and only one teller is open, I feel just like you do. It is obvious that the more teller windows open the faster my service would be. Two tellers would cut my wait time in half, three would cut it by 3x, etc., and I am exactly correct in my assumption. This is because when I am done with my teller (or cashier at Walmart) I am totally done with my transaction. I have my deposit receipt or my groceries and I am one my way. There is nothing left to do.

This is not the case at JFG, or at any restaurant for that matter. When we finish taking your order our work has just begun. We have to season and grill your burger, butter and grill the bun, fry the onion rings (already hand-cut and breaded, of course), assemble and dress the salad with all it’s toppings, build the pizza with it’s layers of ingredients and grill it, and spin the fresh strawberry milkshake. Waffles, pancakes, eggs, all cooked fresh to order… you get the point. We must manufacture each product you’ve ordered. This is the great difference between our business and the bank or retail store.

And LB, here’s the bottom line. Our speed of service is limited, not by how many cash registers or windows we have open, but by our ability to cook only so much delicious food in so much space in so much time. Our staff currently is able to cook and serve between 130 and 150 meals per hour, or one meal every 25 seconds or so. When you look inside and watch the activity, we are working on about 35-40 meals at a time. And for every order that is being taken at the window, an order is being picked up at the opposite window. Our employees, managers, and equipment are being pushed to their limits whenever you see that line form. And no one is complaining, just working hard to see that your food is always special and served as quickly as possible. Everyone takes a lot of pride in this.

But, still, why only one cash register? Because about 85% of the time the orders generated by one continuous cash register fill up our production ability (we do utilize two cash registers together about 15% of the time). When we try to maximize the order- taking input by constantly opening two windows, we can, of course, shorten your time waiting to order, but this doesn’t do anything to shorten the time It takes to prepare your food. More windows equals more orders in but not more orders out. So to shorten your wait in line to order is to lengthen your wait for your food. We’ve learned from experience that this actually slows down our kitchen, compromises our food quality, and creates more competition for seating amongst guests – twice as many who are now waiting twice as long for their food after they’ve ordered it.

LB, here’s my commitment to you and to all of our guests. One, we won’t cut corners or compromise our passion to serve only the best food we know how. Two, we will never stop trying to improve our systems and training so that we can use two windows more often and prepare more meals per hour, thus speeding up our service.

In the mean time, please continue to enjoy the park- like setting, the unique trees and architectural details, smell the citrus blossoms, and use the time in line to catch up with your dining companions or even strike up a conversation with a fellow line- waiter. “Can you believe that so many of us are waiting in line…for a burger? It sure better be good!”

We all will be doing our best to make sure it is.

Best regards and sincere appreciation for your patience and support,

Tim Peelen
Co-owner

10 Comments

  • Judy

    Hi! We love your food, and the whole atmosphere of the place. It’s our favorite place to go with it’s charming patio, 60′s home atmosphere, and beautiful grounds. Is there any chance you take orders in advance over the phone? If so, how does it work? We would like to come tomorrow, and are bringing a pre-schooler. We think putting in our order in advance of our arrival might just shorten the wait. Or will it?

    Thanks!

    April 6th, 2012 at 4:20 pm
  • Tamara

    Hi! We love your food as well. However, often times we drive up and, seeing the length of the line, sadly sigh and go elsewhere. While we wouldn’t want you to do anything to compromise the quality of the food, waiting in line is difficult for us families with small children. The atmosphere is perfect for small kids; lots of room to run and play and make friends with other children. Unfortunately, waiting in line results in an antsy toddler who either runs out the door (making one parent always be the kid-chaser and not get to socialize at all) or a child who is so antsy that they won’t sit still for the meal. With such a beautiful environment, why not do everything you can so that your guests can enjoy half of what they came there for: great times on your lovely property!

    April 14th, 2012 at 12:30 am
  • Rebecca

    As a Canadian, we are used to standing in line! For those who don’t like to, I would plan to eat at Joe’s only when I am not in a rush and can savour the experience. The day I was there recently there was no line but it was about 1:30 and I was having a late lunch. It was fantastic and worth waiting for (even if I’d had to wait, which I didn’t). My only frustration was in trying to get the wifi to work on my iPhone. I’ll be making another visit next week to try the pizza, and the wifi. The Fontina burger was mind blowing delicious. Keep on doing what you are doing, Joe’s!

    April 16th, 2012 at 9:02 am
  • Maryanne Leahy

    Good Morning, I drive from Ahwatukee to eat at your wonderful restaurant. The lines don’t bother us, that’s half the fun of the experience of eating there. I have worked in restaurant business for over 20 years and people always think they can do things better if “you did it this way” it’s like monday morning quarterbacking! I totally get only having one window. Please don’t change anything, the food is great, service always friendly and the wait is never that bad!!! We will see you later today, Thanks.

    n

    April 21st, 2012 at 9:24 am
  • Elaine

    The answer is to use the two windows and rush the people through the line even if they have to wait the same time for the food. At least they get to wait sitting down. If you are worried about losing table space, maybe you can do 30% of two cashiers opened instead of the usual 15%; which would please the customers who are disabled but still stand in your line.

    June 28th, 2012 at 12:54 pm
  • Jenny

    LEAVE IT THE WAY IT IS JOE! People are in such a rush, and for what? For those of you who want to sit down and wait, there’s lots of cool portable chairs out there for y’all to sling on your back. OR! Here’s one! Do squats, or jumping jacks, burn some extra calories so you can have that super yummy shake! Or, play I spy with your kids, or talk to your fellow stand in liners! Make the best of the best food your about to eat! But the rule is, no complaining about being in the line you chose to be in.

    July 26th, 2012 at 11:36 am
  • Ryan

    I have visited, and enjoyed the full experience. I have previously worked and managed restaurant operations big and small. Every operation has their inefficiencies as well as what they are doing right. If you employ one more person at the cash register, that would be one less person in the back working on bringing your food out quickly. If the operation is already working on maximum efficiency in a small location, it would be best utilize the extra person in the back vs. 1 more at the cash register. It would be best if people knew what they want, when they get up to the cash register, if they are already waiting in line for over 10 min. they should know what they want.

    July 29th, 2012 at 10:27 am
  • In Paradise valley for the Military Order of the Purple Heart National Convention. We went to Joe’s Farm Grill with about ten people yesterday and loved it. The food was great and service quick. We went back today with 17 people – only three were repeats. Again the food was awesome and service quick. We came with a plaque for Joe’s farm Grill to show our appreciation for the fine food and service. I asked to see the manager so we could resent him with the plaque. we waited 20 minutes and he did not come out. Finally, an employee emerged and tod us that the manager was too busy to see us. So, clearly, management is anti-veteran and under no circumstances will I recommend this place to anyone, and will be putting out the word that Joe’s farm grill is anti veteran. Too busy to accept a plaque from combat wounded veterans? Does this reflect the Ownership’s attitude as well? It must. Certainly he would not be this arrogant and rude without the owner’s blessing

    August 9th, 2012 at 5:07 pm
  • Tyler E.

    Wow. What an attitude by Mr. Russell A. Smith. Maybe don’t just show up with a plaque and expect for a business owner to drop everything he is doing to meet with you during business hours. Your arrogance is quite disgusting. Simply being a veteran doesn’t mean you are special. I’m a veteran myself, and I cannot stand the sense of privilege some vets feel. Get over yourself man. The world does not revolve around you!

    August 10th, 2012 at 6:55 pm
  • Pablo C.

    Lines are not fun, but when you’re here at the FARM GRILL, the lines and everything that comes with the experience is totally worth it…. i come here quite often and it never ever gets old.
    I have recommended this place to people that seem to have high standards for where they want to eat, and their standards now have to meet the FARM GRILL standards.
    Keep doing what your doing Joe, making food that brings people together… Thank You

    August 27th, 2012 at 11:37 am

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