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. Huh? says:

    How about Waffle House?
    They have 3 kinds of Waffles.
    1. Regular Waffle.
    2. Blueberry Waffle
    3. Double Waffle.

    It’s the Waffle House for cryin’ out loud. That’s like IHOP having only one pancake…mmm pancakes….

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  2. Troy S. says:

    Has anyone estimated how much money the US Government makes annually in penny seigniorage?

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  3. kevin says:

    Pizza Hut is always out of their “natural crust” pizza. My guess is that it takes them longer. McDonalds (several shops) were always out of their McFlurries.

    I suspect that the staff simply doesn’t want to go through the effort, and most people will buy something else.

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  4. Dave says:

    The Arby’s in Chicago that used to run out of roast beef is now closed.

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  5. jay says:

    I once went to Mexican restaurant that was out of refried beans.

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  6. David says:

    #38: Sorry, but some things are just plain dumb. An A&W running out of root beer qualifies. I don’t know where in the chain of command the stupidity resides, but it’s there.

    If it wasn’t supplied, some idiot failed to order it. There was almost certainly not a recall on some ingredient for two different visits. If they miscalculated the demand for sugar or guessed wrong on the futures market, well, paying more for sugar still makes them more money than not selling root beer. If corporate thought it wouldn’t provide root beer for some reason involving quarterly reports and stockholders, then the stockholders had best sell, and invest in companies run by people with IQs above room temperature.

    You see, businesses like A&W make money by selling stuff to customers. This means they need customers, and they need stuff to sell them. People who want to be customers and can’t buy stuff when they want tend to stop being customers. Right now, there appears to be an economist who’s conditioned to thinking that there’s no point in stopping at a particular A&W for root beer.

    It really is that simple.

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  7. Jessica says:

    I once stopped off for chicken at a KFC/Pizza Hut and naturally (in relevance to this story) they were out of chicken. I accepted the young voice through the intercom to come to a window of giggling teens. Ah, no chicken at KFChicken?? I realized to myself, but, should I have argued w the box as to WHY KFChicken didn’t have my chicken? The result in choice was I like pizza just as much–actually, more, and here we have product self-illimination and the Momma’s Pizza’s and Popeye Chickens of the world.

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  8. Jennifer M. says:

    I find this hilarious because I had the same experience at a KFC a few years ago–I was told unapologetically that they were out of chicken! I wondered then why they would have their doors open if they were out of their marquee product. Are there that many people who just want to order some mashed potatoes and/or coleslaw??

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