McDonald’s “Seniors” Restaurant
Gail Hyde is manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in a city with many “seniors”. She has noticed that some senior citizens have become not just regular patrons – but patrons who come for breakfast and stay, some till as late as 3.00 p.m. Gail’s employees have been very friendly to the seniors, calling them by their first names and talking with them each day, some of the employees are developing close relationships with the seniors. Some employees have even visited customers who have been hospitalized. On most days as many as 100 seniors will stay from one to four hours, turning the fast-food restaurant into a meeting place. These older customers are an orderly group and very friendly to anyone who comes in. Further, they are neater than most customers and carefully clean up their tables before thy leave. Nevertheless, Gail is beginning to wonder if anything should be done about her growing “non-fast-food” clientele. There is no crowding problem during the time when the seniors like to come but if the size of the senior citizen group continues to grow, crowding could become a problem. Further, Gail is concerned that her restaurant might come to be known as an “old people’s” restaurant – which might discourage some younger customers. And if customers felt the restaurant was crowded, some might think they would not get fast service. On the other hand, a place that seems busy might be seen as “a good place to go” and a “friendly place”. Gail also worried about the image she is projecting. McDonalds is a fast-food restaurant (there are over 31,000 of them in 121 countries), and normally customers are expected to eat and run. Will allowing people to stay and visit change the whole concept? In the extreme, Gail’s McDonald’s might become more like a European-style restaurant where the customers are never rushed and feel very comfortable about lingering over coffee for an hour or two! Gail knows that the amount her senior...
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