Warm Bread Is Not Toast

Warm Bread is Not Toast

I didn’t have a blog post ready for today, so I’m glad that my hotel room service served me one up. I’d ordered poached eggs, grapefruit juice, decaf coffee, and some wheat toast. What arrived was poached eggs, grapefruit juice, decaf coffee, and some warm wheat bread.

Warm bread is not toast.

Warm Bread Is Not Toast

There’s something to think about in this for business. Quite often, we accidentally fall into the “good enough” and “close enough” categories of serving our customers and clients. I have recently bought a few information marketing products where they were telling me something as if it were valuable, and really, they were telling me really basic and common stuff that they’d already published on their website, just slightly warmed over. Sending me warm bread when I’ve ordered toast isn’t going to keep me as a fan.

Toast is making sure there’s a “satisfying crunch” to your products and services. Toast is giving me something to lift up the rest of my business breakfast and enjoy as a mix. Toast is making sure that I don’t even NOTICE that it’s toast, except for that one moment where I shake my head and say “mmmmm” loudly while going on with whatever else I’m doing. (Toast is never intrusive, I mean to say.)

Just To Be Clear

I don’t really care that the room service delivered me warm bread. It’s just a great way to illustrate a point. Don’t get lost on the analogy. Focus on what it means to your business to serve up toast instead of warm bread. The toast? It was just a great blog topic to start me writing.

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  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    Toast also makes lots of crumbs. And with that, I’ll leave the analogy alone :-)

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    Toast also makes lots of crumbs. And with that, I’ll leave the analogy alone :-)

  • Zach Michonski

    Point taken – Warm bread does not = ROI

  • Zach Michonski

    Point taken – Warm bread does not = ROI

  • Zach Michonski

    Point taken – Warm bread does not = ROI

  • http://fullbleedartsmarketing.com John McLachlan

    Maybe using an analogy of warm bread versus toast for a blog topic is kind of a warm bread blog topic itself. :-)

    I’m just kidding, Chris. It’s a good analogy.

  • http://fullbleedartsmarketing.com John McLachlan

    Maybe using an analogy of warm bread versus toast for a blog topic is kind of a warm bread blog topic itself. :-)

    I’m just kidding, Chris. It’s a good analogy.

  • http://fullbleedartsmarketing.com John McLachlan

    Maybe using an analogy of warm bread versus toast for a blog topic is kind of a warm bread blog topic itself. :-)

    I’m just kidding, Chris. It’s a good analogy.

  • court0516

    Great stuff to think about – sometimes I feel like I need to start a blog, because I have moments like this all the time. Life lessons that sneak up on you in everyday life. Have a great day!

  • court0516

    Great stuff to think about – sometimes I feel like I need to start a blog, because I have moments like this all the time. Life lessons that sneak up on you in everyday life. Have a great day!

  • court0516

    Great stuff to think about – sometimes I feel like I need to start a blog, because I have moments like this all the time. Life lessons that sneak up on you in everyday life. Have a great day!

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Totally with you Chris. Too often, this happens.

    It’s easy to settle for a bit more than mediocrity, but less than a superstar action, blog post or SOP for your business.

    I think that’s what ultimately separates people – their ability to constantly up the ante and always be conscious of the word “quality.”

    This drives me to crank out more toast.

    LOL, they gave you warm bread!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      True that, Ryan. You’re on my wavelength.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed! But it’s so hard to balance it out when you’re too meticulous detail-oriented. My mentor is currently kicking my behind to get things out more quickly and stop being a perfectionist. Maybe it isn’t a matter of taking extra time to get it right, but adjusting your aim to hit the nail on the head consistently.

    Thanks,
    Lily

    • Anonymous

      I think that is so true. A while back, I had a client try to misuse my services by trying to get me to do jobs outside of my company description. I gently explained this to her.

      Going along with the toast analogy (allow me to get lost in it for one sentence), working with people like the client I worked with would be like if they had given you toast, yet you complained that it was too light or dark.

      The art is in the balance

      Erick

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      It’s definitely a balance. If Room Service didn’t deliver my food, I’d have written a wholly different post about “Where the hell are my eggs?” : ) You have to ship.

  • http://www.johnjamescarson.com John Carson

    But Chris, did you actually enjoy that nice warm wheat bread as you dipped it in your poached egg? Was it tasty, something you might never have considered trying before? Sometimes the things we don’t order can surprise us!

    Cheers,
    John.

  • http://www.johnjamescarson.com John Carson

    But Chris, did you actually enjoy that nice warm wheat bread as you dipped it in your poached egg? Was it tasty, something you might never have considered trying before? Sometimes the things we don’t order can surprise us!

    Cheers,
    John.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      It wasn’t all that and a bag of chips. No. I made do, but I wanted toast. By the way, poor delivery wouldn’t necessarily be a recommended serving suggestion for business. Do you think?

  • http://lancemorgan.me Lance Morgan

    It amazes me how some businesses, and in my case some churches, advertise and agree to provide/serve up one thing, but then significantly under deliver when the time comes for the delivery.

    As important as first impressions are, the last impression you leave is the most lasting.

  • http://lancemorgan.me Lance Morgan

    It amazes me how some businesses, and in my case some churches, advertise and agree to provide/serve up one thing, but then significantly under deliver when the time comes for the delivery.

    As important as first impressions are, the last impression you leave is the most lasting.

  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    That reminds me of the old saying “Good enough for Government work” which means it is passable, but still not all that great. Even if I have to revise something several times, I want to give that “crunch” and not just be “warm”

    I really like this post, but I like caffeine in my coffee.

  • http://trafficcoleman.com/blog/official-black-seo-guy/ Black Seo Guy

    Warm bread or toast..its all good food to me.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://www.experiate.net Paul Flanigan

    Bull.

    You should care, Chris. That’s the problem. When you order toast and get warm bread, they’re giving you their business model. Here’s the thing: They get that business model because no one calls back and says, “I ordered toast, not warm bread.” And no one goes online and says, “This hotel gives you warm bread when you ordered toast.” They aren’t being called out on the carpet for the amazingly underwhelming treatment.

    You (no one, really) has to be rude about it. There’s no need for screaming or “LET ME SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!” type of behavior. But at the same time, the word of mouth is what forces business models to change – to become what they say they are.

    To contrast noticing, when you order toast, you never notice the toast, you notice the umteen little condiments that come with it, or the plate, or the cloth napkin, or the fact that the person who delivered it said you could have another piece of toast right now if you wanted at no extra charge. The value add is what makes the toast noticeable, and what makes the business succeed.

    • http://twitter.com/joetaylorjr Joe Taylor Jr.

      It also speaks to the fact that we often make it far easier to go to the competition than to actually give feedback to someone in the company that probably deeply cares about the toast being crunchy.

  • DaraBell

    Give you opposite example. My mom went to a health spa in the Scottish borders. Not only was she on a cheap package deal half price or something but they execceded expectations. She recieved stella service and when she was driving away she noticed they had washed her car.

    It is annoying when companies phone in service. I feel with a booming digital sector we have to foirget all the talk of service industries that came before it. I think we still need to exceed expectations and be the 150% company.

    P.S Nothing worse than slightly warm toast

  • DaraBell

    Afterthought
    The digital boom has to include great service too!

  • DaraBell

    I like Nancy Davies’ comment. Apparently Conrad Hilton was the one that said that “Shoot For Moon” thing to his staff. I wonder if we can get away with the good enough idea as marketeers. I wonder if I can.

  • Bobby Burns

    This may be a bit obvious, but sometimes, in the rush of “doing business”, or in the drudgery of doing the same thing over and over, it is far too easy to forget that we are humans tasked with fulfilling a request from a fellow human – a person. In this case, a person who asked for a piece of toast. And we tend to see only the task – or our aversion to it – and not the person for whom the task is being performed.

    Lovely post on a number of levels, Chris – a good illustration of how most anything can serve as an illustration!

  • Eyardle

    I have just written “WARM BREAD IS NOT TOAST” on the white board in my office…great post.

  • http://superbadinternetmarketing.com SuperbadIM

    It comes down to over delivering. Or, at least delivering exactly what’s promised.

    If someone re-packages content and organizes it in a nice and neat package, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as that’s how it’s promoted. Sometimes convenience is a selling point.

    Personally, I like to over deliver. If someone orders toast, bring them toast from the best ingredients possible, still warm, with 100% natural, organic butter, a fine selection of jams and … okay, now I’m just making myself hungry. Nice post.

  • http://superbadinternetmarketing.com SuperbadIM

    It comes down to over delivering. Or, at least delivering exactly what’s promised.

    If someone re-packages content and organizes it in a nice and neat package, I don’t have a problem with that, as long as that’s how it’s promoted. Sometimes convenience is a selling point.

    Personally, I like to over deliver. If someone orders toast, bring them toast from the best ingredients possible, still warm, with 100% natural, organic butter, a fine selection of jams and … okay, now I’m just making myself hungry. Nice post.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    Deliver what you said you’d deliver.

    If they bring you anything other than wheat toast, it’s under delivering. If the person serving your toast comes into the room with a smile and asks if you’d like anything else, guess what you remember? The fact the service was so good and the wheat toast. Over delivering.

    And if they offer warm bread with a smile they are still under delivering but you might give them a free pass. I know that if someone screws up an order yet is pleasant about it I’m apt to overlook it and say that it must be karma, or whatever. Doesn’t excuse the mix-up but that’s the power of being nice, at least for me.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Chris. Have a prosperous day :)

    RB

  • Jack Lynady

    Chris great post, but something may be up with the email delivery system. I had to go find this and a post over at escape velocity. It could just be on my end but u may want to look into it. I’m no techy so feel free to ignore me.

  • Jack Lynady

    Chris great post, but something may be up with the email delivery system. I had to go find this and a post over at escape velocity. It could just be on my end but u may want to look into it. I’m no techy so feel free to ignore me.

  • MickT

    Hi Chris
    I find a strong correlation with some of the frustrations at needing to deliver the toast. To add to the analogy, many days I feel like the room service steward who delivered the breakfast. I know it’s not toast but management has downsized the toaster under the auspices it used to much energy and isn’t “green”. instead they said use the microwave. I know that makes inferior toast so I try to solve the problem by using the oven broiler to make toast. it works but I get in trouble because the cooks complain that it’s not my department and I should submit a project request form to scope the use of the broiler for making toast. now my manager is asking why I’m in the kitchen in the first place and why I can’t just follow my yearly goals.
    to me the problem is you. if we just got rid of our customers, we wouldn’t need to make toast!

  • MickT

    Hi Chris
    I find a strong correlation with some of the frustrations at needing to deliver the toast. To add to the analogy, many days I feel like the room service steward who delivered the breakfast. I know it’s not toast but management has downsized the toaster under the auspices it used to much energy and isn’t “green”. instead they said use the microwave. I know that makes inferior toast so I try to solve the problem by using the oven broiler to make toast. it works but I get in trouble because the cooks complain that it’s not my department and I should submit a project request form to scope the use of the broiler for making toast. now my manager is asking why I’m in the kitchen in the first place and why I can’t just follow my yearly goals.
    to me the problem is you. if we just got rid of our customers, we wouldn’t need to make toast!

  • commoncents

    “I don’t really care that the room service delivered me warm bread” I think you actually do care. Heck Chris, I care and it wasn’t even my breakfast. I retweeted this and hope I’m not lost on the analogy. We deliver what the customer wants, so we give him the toast. We could SUGGEST warm bread for another time, perhaps. And our customers might appreciate other options from us. But, for the best immediate outcome ……give the customer what he ordered and what he expects now.

    It’s like flying to vacation in Vegas and the airline lands you in Reno. It’s close… but not what you ordered. You are SO right, warm bread is not toast.

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    You sure it was not light toast…

    I live in the land of conformance… There is a saying here that my good old friend from Oklahoma who lived in Puerto Rico made me erase from my mind.

    “That is the way it is”

    My good friend from Oklahoma instilled in my head in just a few words a phrase that I live by every day “That is the way it is, because you allow it to be”.

    Given that Puerto Rico has been a Colony for more than 500 years we are used to accepting what is given to us. Which creates many of the issues I have on a day by day basis when I request for toast and they give me cold bread.

    Our island is paradise but it is continuous battle with me standing out like a sore thumb every where i request my toast. It is a war I will continue to fight to improve customer service on the Island and to make sure I get what I am supposed to get.

    On the other side providing services and always serving great toast brings very loyal customers who are more than happy to continue working along me because my competitors give me the great advantage of serving cold, stale, or warm bread when they want toast.

    So I can say now that my Unique Value Proposition is serving Toast when it is requested.

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    You sure it was not light toast…

    I live in the land of conformance… There is a saying here that my good old friend from Oklahoma who lived in Puerto Rico made me erase from my mind.

    “That is the way it is”

    My good friend from Oklahoma instilled in my head in just a few words a phrase that I live by every day “That is the way it is, because you allow it to be”.

    Given that Puerto Rico has been a Colony for more than 500 years we are used to accepting what is given to us. Which creates many of the issues I have on a day by day basis when I request for toast and they give me cold bread.

    Our island is paradise but it is continuous battle with me standing out like a sore thumb every where i request my toast. It is a war I will continue to fight to improve customer service on the Island and to make sure I get what I am supposed to get.

    On the other side providing services and always serving great toast brings very loyal customers who are more than happy to continue working along me because my competitors give me the great advantage of serving cold, stale, or warm bread when they want toast.

    So I can say now that my Unique Value Proposition is serving Toast when it is requested.

  • http://ianmrountree.com Ian M Rountree

    I like Ryan Biddulph’s like – “Deliver what you said you’d deliver” – just thought I’d share a warning in the other direction as well.

    I order my burgers plain. No garnish, no lettuce – meat, cheese and bread. Without fail, however, there is always a pickle on the burger.

    Every cafe I go to, every “real” food joint not billing itself as fast food includes a slice, slices, or a chunk of pickle in, on, or around my burger. Every single time.

    Why is this a big deal?

    It shows uniformity of assumption. In this instance it’s amusing – but I have to wonder how many other places this kind of behaviour happens – and I’m not just talking about where we eat.

    Powerful stuff, sir. :)

  • http://www.ParadiseValleyAZ.com/ Paradise Valley Homes

    I like the analogy. Great post.

  • http://www.brianhinkley.com Brian Hinkley

    I find this funny only because this morning when I made my daughter breakfast she asked “Did you warm this bread” and I replied “No it’s toast.”

  • http://www.paramountwest.com/ Perry West

    Same thing happened to me, Brian! lol Warm is not toast. Really amusing post. But I think that is what they seem to call “light toast”. lol

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  • http://ClimbingEveryMountain.com Mary E. Ulrich

    In teaching and human services, there have been so many cutbacks that our children keep getting the warm toast–like ketchup being called a vegetable, a first year teacher being given the most difficult kids, people with autism and severe disabilities being supervised by people with no degrees or training… The bean counters check their lists and say, we served bread, we did minimum coverage…but the people who are at risk, or who are getting short changed, they know the difference.

  • http://ClimbingEveryMountain.com Mary E. Ulrich

    In teaching and human services, there have been so many cutbacks no one even cares that all we have left is warm moldy bread.

    The bean counters will say they are fulfilling the requirements: there is ketchup for vegetables; there is one textbook for the teacher and one working computer for the class; there is a first year teacher with the most difficult kids, there is a warm body supervising adults with severe disabilities and autism. But the people with no voices or clout know the difference. We know the staff has no training or license. We know the research shows things could be different, we know we are getting minimum coverage. They say it is “good enough,” but it is not.

    It is not just the “good enough” or minimum service; it is also a matter of how valuable is the person. Chris, you matter and are valued. I bet if you called the manager, in just a couple minutes, there would have been warm toast, an apology and a complimentary breakfast.

  • http://ClimbingEveryMountain.com Mary E. Ulrich

    In teaching and human services, there have been so many cutbacks no one even cares that all we have left is warm moldy bread.

    The bean counters will say they are fulfilling the requirements: there is ketchup for vegetables; there is one textbook for the teacher and one working computer for the class; there is a first year teacher with the most difficult kids, there is a warm body supervising adults with severe disabilities and autism. But the people with no voices or clout know the difference. We know the staff has no training or license. We know the research shows things could be different, we know we are getting minimum coverage. They say it is “good enough,” but it is not.

    It is not just the “good enough” or minimum service; it is also a matter of how valuable is the person. Chris, you matter and are valued. I bet if you called the manager, in just a couple minutes, there would have been warm toast, an apology and a complimentary breakfast.

  • Anonymous

    Chris, congratulations on such a clever turn of phrase. “Warm bread is not toast” is a great way to say “missing the mark”. As a writer you should be especially proud of this one.

  • Anonymous

    Chris, congratulations on such a clever turn of phrase. “Warm bread is not toast” is a great way to say “missing the mark”. As a writer you should be especially proud of this one.

  • http://www.ugetme.ca ugetme jeremy

    Your way of approach is so nice.. “Warm bread is not toast” this is a nice way.. Really innovative..
    University Canada

  • http://www.ugetme.ca ugetme jeremy

    Your way of approach is so nice.. “Warm bread is not toast” this is a nice way.. Really innovative..
    University Canada

  • http://twitter.com/dhatfield danielle hatfield

    What a fantastic analogy. Going to go work on my “crunch” factor now.

  • http://easypublicspeaking.co.uk/ Keith Davis

    Hi Chris
    Had to leave a comment on this one because it’s one of the best post titles I’ve come across.

    “Warm Bread Is Not Toast”

    That title could apply to so many things.
    Wish I’d come up with it first.

    Nice one.

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