Probably Not the Way to Run a Restaurant

DESCRIPTIONPhoto: jetalone

I happened to be driving by an A&W restaurant the other day. I also happened to be thirsty. So I stopped in to order a frosty mug of root beer.

“We’re out of root beer,” the worker told me.

How can A&W run out of root beer? It doesn’t seem like the inventory costs associated with keeping a small buffer stock of your marquee product are very large. You might think that the first rule at A&W would be to always have root beer.

In defense of the restaurant, it was 11 am and the store had just opened. Perhaps the new shipment of root beer had gotten unexpectedly delayed and was arriving any minute.

Two days later, I once again found myself thirsty as I was driving by this same A&W. So I stopped in to order a frosty mug of root beer.

“I’m sorry,” the worker said, “We’re out of root beer.”

I think it is no coincidence that A&W and KFC are owned by the same company.

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  1. Chris says:

    I find it of interest that A&W in Canada is owned separately from A&W in the United States. Back in in the 60s maybe ? the franchise owners bought the rights in Canada and the difference between going to A&W in Canada and A&W in the United States is night and day.

    In Canada, A&W stores are all homogeneous as you would expect from a national chain, while in the US, I found that a few that I went to were different and didn’t even have the same menu as each other, not to mention that you can find an A&W in small towns across canada, and in RI, where I lived, there were 3 if I recall correctly.

    But an A&W running out of root beer? That takes the cake.

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  2. Walt says:

    There used to be a KFC just blocks from my house, and I had two young kids who loved fried chicken. Went there a lot, and got increasingly frustrated by the way the place was run. But the end came the night that I was told that they were out of chicken! It was about 7:00 on a weekday night, and the amazing thing was that the staff was completely matter-of-fact about having run out! In fact, they acted like they thought I was being weird about being surprised. I never returned. And soon thereafter the place closed. I still find it kind of hard to believe.

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  3. Drill-Baby-Drill Drill Team says:

    If you want to keep a gambler coming back for more, use intermittent random rewards. Yes, it worked on you. You kept coming back.

    And rare things are savored longer and sought after harder. If you could get rootbeer everytime without fail, when the rootbeer truck unexplainable ran out, you would never return.

    Just think of it as a one armed bandit gambling machine trying to maximize its profit..

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  4. sonora says:

    In St Louis, Panera is known as St Louis Bread Company. On more than one occasion they have run out of bread.

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  5. trace says:

    If you were thirsty, why in the world would you want Root Beer? Maybe the store was trying to help you.

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  6. Dan says:

    This is all a cover up by the liberal media – America needs to pull its collective head out of the sand and realize what is going on. This is the great sassafras shortage of 2010!

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  7. Ned says:

    I was met with a look of terror early one morning when I ordered a cup of coffee at a sparkling local coffee shop. The recently promoted day manager had forgotten to brew any coffee.

    I was told at a local Wal Mart snack bar that they could not fill my son’s order for nachos and cheese because they were out of nachos. Next to our blue, formica booth was a huge display of packaged nachos. The clerk thought it great anathema when I suggested that she could just buy some regular stock off the sales floor to fill orders.

    When I gently suggested that some lettuce was needed on a salad bar at a Pizza Hut, my waitress quickly brought me an entire head of dripping, uncut produce.

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  8. Ian Kemmish says:

    Somewhere, there’s an evil economist tracking you via GPS, driving round in a car full of root beer.

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