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How would you react to this?

Lizzie

OK, tell me what you think of this.

There’s a salad place near my house that I order delivery from once in awhile. No matter how many times you ask, they won’t deliver with the salad dressing mixed in.

THIS DRIVES ME NUTS!!!

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
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But when I finally got frustrated enough to ask why, they said,

“We don’t want our salad to arrive soggy.”

Interesting. They have a vision of their salad, and they won’t let anything corrupt that vision — even if customers want it.

What do you think?

I’ve asked a lot of people this. Most of the time, people get super pissed off: “I’m a customer and they should listen to me.” / “If they don’t give me what I want, I’ll go somewhere else.” / etc.

A few people — usually artists, engineers, and restaurateurs — completely agree with the salad place.

What do you think? Let me know (leave your thoughts in the comments).

I’ll share my thoughts tomorrow, but here’s a hint — this isn’t just about a salad shop. This is about psychology, marketing, and trust.

-Ramit

581 Comments

 
  1. Robert Whitcomb

    Really simple, if you don’t understand or agree with a company’s decisions like this, you’re not in the market segment they’re after. This salad shop is aiming for people who want the salad fresh and crisp, and probably want some form of control over how much dressing. No great mystery here. It’s why Apple doesn’t make a low end iPhone, and why Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t make high end ice cream

  2. Daniel

    So, it isn’t JUST that the company is “uncompromising”: it’s that they know he’ll likely be unhappy with soggy salad and then blame them. This is acceptable! The company knows its products and likely knows its customers better than they know themselves. Doubtless, there is a niche for people that like soggy salad (which they won’t pursue), and perhaps there is a demand for lettuce that won’t get soggy (which they might leave to Monsanto or whatever evil agricultural company you think will invent it), but they’re not going do dish out a product that they know the customer, eventually, will dislike.

  3. Ryan

    This is a public facing stance that persuades their customers that the company won’t compromise on quality. Just imagine how great they are at not-compromising on the quality for the parts you don’t see!

  4. Chelsea

    I agree with Daniel. It’d only take one or two soggy salads before people got tired of that quality and went elsewhere without quite realizing “why.”

    (And as someone who tried the “trick” while packing her lunch before, I TOTALLY understand them. It’s gross to eat a wilty salad.)

    On the other hand though, it’s also about *how* they tell you they won’t put the dressing on the salad for you. An outright refusal that insults your intelligence is a total turn-off. But using the request as a polite teaching opportunity is completely different and (I think) would be appreciated by a good customer.

  5. Nikki

    They are not trying to be all things to all people. Kudos to them. If you are in the minority of people who want their salad pre-dressed, and changing the restaurant’s process to be more flexible is more costly (dollars, reputation) than what you are willing to pay, then I say they are doing the sensible thing. However, if they stop paying attention, and that minority grows into a significant segment, then that’s a different story. Of course, they should have messages (explicit/implicit) that tell customers what services and experience they are seeking to provide. Tailored mass market. Quality (presumably slower) vs. speed (presumably more room for error). Customers want to be catered to, but if the company doesn’t fit the customer’s wants, and it isn’t (yet or ever) profitable for them to do so then (i) the company can try to shape those wants and convert them or (ii) maintain the basic required to keep them, if it isn’t hindering more growth with profitable clients, or (iii) set them free/let them go.

  6. Hubbard

    It’s possible that there’s an untapped market for soggy salads. It’s also possible that the company got a slew of negative reviews for soggy salads and thus decided that crisp salads were better for business.

    The real test, Ramit, is whether you hate their delivery enough to get your salad somewhere else. Since you keep ordering from them, I’d guess that the company knows its clientele better than you do.

  7. Will McLellarn

    I agree with the salad place. Ultimately, the food experience is theirs to control, and that’s the only way to make sure customers aren’t corrupting it. It’s like a chef who won’t make a substitute. If you disagree, order somewhere else.

  8. ramesh

    They should share the reason when it was asked for and politely decline the request. This can still piss off the customer, but still it has better impact

  9. Jessica

    I agree with the restaurant shop. A soggy salad is awful and if they recommend it without dressing, then I should add it at home if it is that important to me.

  10. Anurag

    Eat Pizza. You wont have to mix anything. If you are fond of veggies, eat a veggie pizza.

    Once you add a dressing to a salad it isn’t healthy anymore…. so why not enjoy something that tastes way better

  11. Kelsey Kronmiller

    Definitely agree with the salad place. If people’s salads started arriving soggy because of the dressing, the business would non-stop hear about it. Negatively.

  12. Marie Anik Paradis

    I have to totally agree with the salad place. If they know you will most likely have a “bad” experience if you eat their salad when the dressing has been on it for 15-45min (lots of traffic, another delivery to do before your…), they know best and what the salad to be as good as you would get it in the restaurant.

  13. Martin Fabi

    Sure enough, Laduree in Psris sells macarons and they will not ship to me in Canada because they are hard bent on getting you the product as fresh as they envisioned it . I can see why they are pig headed even if you ask for it, which ultimately should be the way they deliver it to you.

  14. Shiva Bhaskar

    They have a vision, a target customer base, and are sticking with it. Also, they’ll be blamed if salad arrives soggy, bad Yelp reviews etc. I agree with them .

  15. Chris

    This is a clear example of the restaurant knowing better than the customer. I’d say there’s a good chance that even if the restaurant followed your wishes to the letter, you’d be even more unhappy with the soggy salad, and you’d still blame them for not persuading you.

    If you’re running a business, would you let a customer direct you to what you know is a bad outcome? Sometimes you have to stand up to them to save them from themselves.

  16. Anushae

    We believe we do what we are best at, which is making/preparing the salad. You do what you’re good at it, i.e mixing the dressing. Let’s do great things together! However, if you don’t want to do your share of the work, you can move on. We will serve who want what we have to offer. My two cents, Ramit!

  17. Bob Whyte

    Simple. The customer is always right! Go somewhere else that values the customer.

  18. Amy

    From one who works in the restaurant biz, I agree with your salad place…as long as they provide enough dressing (amount) for salad. Presentation!

  19. Rory

    pour your own oil on troubled salad?

  20. Jason

    I look at it the opposite way. Why would you expect to have your salad dressed anyway? Except for Caesar, I have rarely ever been served them (to-go) with a dressing. The acid in the dressing (usually vinegar) tends to wilt the lettuce if left there for a bit. Who wants wilted lettuce??

  21. Pamela Lewis

    In my opinion they are controlling their product in order to give the customer the finest experience they can. Those few moments of slight irritation that it takes for the customer to mix in the dressing is worth it to the producer of the product. They are willing to risk the frustration of a few in order to deliver a savory looking/tasting product.

  22. Manuek

    I agree with the salad place. As Ramith well appointed, as a photographer I understand why they don’t do what customers ask if it’s going to affect their quality

  23. Chelsea

    I’d also agree with the salad place. I’m an artist and designer, and often times the things my clients insist on against my advice are things that they regret down the road and make them less happy with the services I’ve rendered – even though it’s exactly what they wanted. I think for the perfect client I may make an exception, but by and large I’ve learned that I need to be a stronger advocate for what I think will ultimately bring the most value to the client.

  24. Colin

    its about the brand. a fresh un-soggy salad is part of their branding message and the message needs to be consistent for it to be effective.

  25. Bruce Tritton

    Henry Ford once said: “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

  26. Julia Biddle

    I am sorry ramit but i agree with them wholeheartedly it iis gross it will be sohgy when it arrives and then you will blame their product not a good look so you will give them bad feedback then tell someone else and so forth which could ruin their reputation for a good salad as obviously it is a good one because a rich man like you can go anywhere else in this world for a salad…thank you Ramit just my opinion…Julie.

  27. Howard Postley

    Faster horse…

    I agree with the salad place, as far as it goes. I get that you want to eat as soon as the food arrives but I doubt that soggy salad is what you want to eat. It seems to me that there is an opportunity to innovate the packaging such that the dressing can be delivered separate but where the customer could, e.g., pull a tab and shake the container to get the dressing tossed into the salad. Would be an interesting way to differentiate.

  28. Ashley Walker

    I agree with the salad place because no one wants a soggy salad. But at customer’s request I feel that they should do what customer ask because you are spending your money and you want your food the way you want it.

  29. Carole

    I do agree with the salad place. I just don’t understand why people, as yourself, want the dressing mixed in before. You receive tour salad with the side dressing, you pour the quantity you want and need and then it is mixed. What’s the big deal ?

  30. Jenna

    Ramit,

    Your salad place has a “brand standard”. That brand standard includes NO SOGGY SALAD. If they did mix in the dressing and your salad arrived soggy, you’d be disappointed and your salad would be limp. Many people….in this Yelp happy world…would turn to the internet to voice their disgust, disdain and disappointment over said soggy salad. In today’s world, the restaurants, cooks, and especially servers of the world can’t seem to win. I’m with the restaurant and their brand standard!

  31. Angie Wingerd

    I’m a photographer and I agree with the salad place. I put out what I consider a superior product and I don’t want anyone not even the customer to consider making changes to what is perfect.

  32. Ron

    If this one customer is fully aware that salads get soggy and still requests it, I would oblige.

  33. Mike

    I agree with the salad place

  34. Paul

    The amount of dressing is individual taste. So its better off to let the customer add the amount of dressing they want onto their salad. And if its soggy when it arrives again some customer will want crunchy, some want soggy and some don’t mind. Its important to allow the customer to feel empowered.

  35. Scott Schmidt

    I’m with the salad place. No one wants soggy salad.

  36. Lissette

    I have to agree with the salad dressing being put on the side when ordered. First, I don’t like a soggy salad, even if I don’t eat it that often. Second, what if an employee mistakenly put the wrong dressing on your salad? I think I would be even more pissed or annoyed, to say the least. If they gave me the incorrect salad dressing at least I have the salad that is edible without the dressing than slathered with a dressing completely foreign (or gross) to me. So, if placed on the side you have the option to put it on but at least you know it’s the right one. The added step of putting on your dressing is not a big deal. I have had salads that I couldn’t eat at all because they contained something I just disliked or was allergic to. At least I can still eat it, even if it was plain.

  37. Tooba

    I think they did the right thing. No compromise on superior quality. Customer would switch anyways if he’ll get soggy salad again and again. So atleast providing the customer with an option is better. He can
    1. Use the separate dressing
    2. Not use the dressing
    3. He can switch
    Its a lot more than just hav
    ing a soggy salad.

  38. Keisha

    I think it’s great customer service. Ultimately, the customer is usually “always right” but except when it comes to their well-being and them being pleased with the end result. Sure the person at the restaurant that took your order could do what you asked but they also know that you will call back and complain because your lettuce was all wilted. Let’s just keep down confusion, keep the customer’s satisfaction in mind and keep him/her happy. Then the restaurant gains several other customers rather than lose 100 potential customers due to a bad review!

  39. Johanna Flores

    Totally agree with restaurant. If you are going to them for the salad it means they are the expert and know that a salad should be crisp and fresh, no one wants it soggy and brown. After hearing the explanation I have a new respect for the salad place.

  40. Ali Razvi

    I agrees with the salad place s’position. I am in their position I will do the same

  41. Nan

    They have no way of predicting customers who want more or less dressing so avoid complaints of too much or too little dressing.

  42. Deborah

    Toss the dressing on the salad yourself. Most eat-in restaurants load on way too much salad dressing – I usually ask for it on the side to prevent that problem. I would much rather control the quantity (and calories) and have a crispy salad delivered!
    p.s. If there were croutons on the salad, and it was pre-tossed, they would be mushy disgusting instead of light and crispy!

  43. Scott

    I agree with the salad shop. They know their salads, and know what will and won’t work. If you care about your product, you don’t want to deliver anything but the best, even if your customer wants something less than the best (whether they realize it or not).
    I also think that people who order a salad with dressing mixed in are simply bad people, who don’t deserve to have nice things.

  44. Jacob

    Totally agree with the salad place. They choose between two possible bad reviews:
    1) My salad was soggy and disgusting. Never eating here again!
    or
    2) They refused to put the dressing on for me! Jerks!

    As a new customer, it is pretty obvious which review would turn me away. Dress it myself? no big deal. Soggy lettuce? ew.

    Customers are notorious for demanding things they don’t actually want or need, which is why the business needs to know their customers better than the customers know themselves.

  45. Cassandra Schwartz

    I agree with the salad place. Seems like an opportunity to communicate with customers. An expensive custom package might work, but the simple inexpensive way might work too. How about a card included that states ‘We’ve included your dressing on the side, because no one likes a soggy salad’.

  46. Noah

    With the salad place. Vinegar-based dressings wilt lettuce like you wouldn’t *believe*. And if even a small percentage of salads arrive in that condition, you wind up with returns, replacements, unhappy customers, bad reviews…

    Makes total sense the salad place just says “look, dump your own dressing on your own salad.” I could also imagine a compromise where it’s okay with dairy-based dressings but not vinegar dressings, but then you have to educate your employees, the customers…. Almost certainly not worth it unless your customer base is *crazy* dedicated. If you’re not a soup nazi, sure, just say “dressing on the side.”

  47. sunita baral

    my opinion says customers gets what we provide them, the difference only lies in their liking or disliking the same and according to me Customer changes so for the want of few customers the reputation of the salad shop and the quality of salad they provide should not be hindered anyways.

  48. TJ

    We don’t know what we don’t know, right?

    You may not know this, but you might also want to thank them. Having your dressing on the side can save you…not just from a soggy salad, but from too much extra sugar, MSG, and other crappy things in the dressing. (Assuming it’s not a simple Extra Virgin Olive Oil or clean Vinegar dressing.)

    I would be curious to hear what sort of dressing they use.

    Cheers!

    TJ

  49. Yasmine

    I know from experience that a soggy salad is yuk. I don’t need/want a customer who doesn’t appreciate a good salad the way it is supposed to be. So I would still not throw in the dressing even if asked.

  50. Victoria

    I work for a company that does a GREAT three day training for educators. One client wanted it condensed into one day and I knew we’d be sacrificing the quality of the training. We did it, but it was only ok, not great. I think we would have been better off saying no to them and keeping our reputation as GREAT instead of OK.

    Keep the dressing on the side. Do not sacrifice quality.

  51. KC

    In order to maintain quality standards and insure the integrity of the food that is served, business don’t bastardized their food and operations for the customer. There is a standard of quality that people want and expect regardless what anyone thinks. If the salad company started delivering you soggy salad like you wanted it , and ultimately lowering their quality standards to your level, they would risk the integrity of their business and become another cheap salad place that does’t care or just takes orders! As we know from the lines we see at Starbucks, Mc’Donalds, KFC, Dominions, many people don’t understand true quality until they have it and a business is not going to risk their reputation and quality over a customer dictating to them how they want the quality of the food served. They would rather loose a client and gain many more by offering a product that is superior and maintain and high quality of standards.

  52. jessica

    I agree with the restaurant. They have a right to protect their “artistic vision” and by explaining why they refuse, handled the situation as best as they obviously could. If you keep insisting they change, even after they’ve described exactly why they won’t, then it is you who has the issue, not them.

    If you aren’t happy with your situation, you can either accept it ( continue to order from there) or change it (find a new restaurant). Also, the only thing in our control, is our own reaction.

    Save yourself the stress.

  53. Pat

    A soggy salad is as welcome as stale and/or cold pizza. I will have to side with the salad place … sorry, Ramit! While I am neither an engineer nor restaurateur. On the other hand, I was a speech and theatre major in college (artist?) and currently a pretty good cook (amateur restaurateur?) However I qualify in your view, I don’t like a wilted leaf salad or a pizza that requires reheating just to regain crispness in the crust.

  54. Ryan

    They are valuing you as a customer by telling you up front your salad will be less than perfect if they dress the salad at the shop and deliver it.

    The question I would ask a customer who wants it differently is, why? Is there a reason you would prefer it this way?
    When it came led to something as minor (meaning there is not a lot of process change) as a chef I’d probably dress the salad and send it to you.
    It’s not about the customer “is always right”, that simply isn’t true. But maybe you’re not the right customer for them.

  55. Roy

    Very popular ramen places can be worse. They often have a no take-out policy and sometimes even a no reservation policy. What’s funny is that you can take home left-overs and when they prep it for you they segregate the soup from the noodle so it doesn’t get soggy.

    It’s annoying (no take-out or reservations) but their stance is we are good enough. If you don’t like the way we do it, go somewhere else.

    (A seafood chain in New England called Legal Seafoods, goes by the motto “If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t Legal”)

  56. Chris

    Whether or not the salad is better or worse is irrelevant. They are right not to put it in because they have a specific vision of their product. If they accepted this request, how many others would they have to accept? Before they know it they would be accepting requests to change it in all sorts of ways, there is no longer a clear vision and focus for the product.

  57. Niall

    I think their decision has a lot to do with delivering on their promises. If they say that the salad is going to be fresh with crispy vegetables, they aren’t going to do anything that would jeopardize that assurance, even if they have to go against the customer’s wishes.

  58. Duane

    I completely agree with them . I’m an automotive technician and there are many times when doing what the customer wants would be to their own detriment. If you are acting professionally and doing the right thing, it is better service.

  59. Amanda

    The restaurant probably knows more about salad than the average customer does–they’re the experts, they should know better. Like a designer should know more about colors and typography than the client–client might get what they want in the end, but that won’t be the best product.

  60. Sue

    They should warn you that if you want it that way, it may be soggy. But if you specifically ask and it is no trouble for them, I dont see why they cannot do it.

    Or at least, if they decline, let you know ahead of time so you are not disappointed.

    My suggestion: Don’t sweat the small stuff!

  61. Levi M

    So one of the things that came to mind was taking the course Dream Job (now you may be asking what does Dream Job have to do with ordering salads, bear with me.) I remember that I was on Module 2 when I had received an email stating that I had made it to a live interview. I quickly contacted IWT customer support and asked if I could have access to certain interview material, I was quickly shot down (ahhh how could the customer be wrong). Well having completed the course (and currently in my new role) I know understand the importance of trusting the system, especially one that has been tested. So in this scenario I stand by the restaurants ability to stand by what they believe, because unlike the customer, they aren’t willing to comprise on the quality.

  62. Suzanne Nievaart

    I agree with the restaurant about the salad. If you know a customer’s request will diminish the quality of the product, you will maintain your high standards, and if the customer walks, that is not the right customer. They will get the salad soggy if you put the dressing on, and then they won’t like the salad, and won’t come back for more anyways.

  63. Marcus Ritosa

    It’s insanely important to state your reasons for doing something if it isn’t what is expected, desired, or usual. I say, don’t compromise on your product, presentation, values, but state why. This is an opportunity to impress them at a deeper level.

  64. Dawn McDermott

    I agree with their commitment to quality but, they need to improve communication with their clients. How many people simply took their business elsewhere because they felt the request was just being dismissed? It is important not only to hold ourselves to a high standard but, we must also convey to our clients that we care about their needs… even if we don’t always agree about how to meet them.

  65. Emma

    I agree with the salad bar. Dressing wld potentially make salad soggy, customer then complains of soggy salad. Salad bar in wanting their food to arrive in perfect condition would not want to compromise this for a mere minute it takes customer to dress salad on arrival and enjoy unsoggy salad

  66. Summer Miller

    They have a standard that they don’t want to compromise. They believe in their product the way they make it. If you don’t trust their judgement then you are welcome to go elsewhere. They are better off with customers who believe in what they produce and leave it up to them to decide.

  67. Anka

    Never never never a business should try to explain to the customer why she’s wrong!

    The solution, in this case, is simple. Just adding an option:

    Do you want dressing mixed in? YES / NO

    And you’ll order however you like.

    So, they should send you a salad free of charge with dressing mixed in. And then, introduce the option when taking orders.

    How would you feel as a customer?

  68. John

    I’m with the salad place. Your request puts them in a position to lose even if they do as you ask. What if your salad arrives with too much dressing? How do you take some out?

  69. elyse

    I bake for a local caterer sometimes, and have had to cringe when he ignored my directions and defrosted the bread the day before the event. Finally, one time I called the day before and reminded him to please leave the baked goods in the freezer until the morning of the event, and he actually listened. Besides that I could obviously taste the difference, all the guests did too, because I got rave reviews. People even asked what I did differently.

    All I did was beg the caterer to follow my instructions 🙂

    Follow your salad place’s instructions. This is their business. They know what will result in a great tasting salad!

  70. John

    I completely agree with the salad place you order from. They believe in the integrity of their product and don’t want to give you an inferior experience even though you are asking for it. The book The Fountainhead really revolves around this idea in a powerful way- a really extreme way,granted- but i love it despite/because of that.

  71. Camilo Oliveira

    Just like Apple with their wireless mouse that doesn’t allow you to use while charging. Weird and sometimes annoying, but interesting.

  72. Nicole

    I totally agree with the restaurant. There is nothing worse than a wilted, soggy salad! It just slides down your throat, yuck! Now, based on my read, there is some room for the restaurant staff to enroll you in their vision rather than just answer the question. There seems to me a missed opportunity for some relationship building and connection.

  73. Eva

    Why cant you accept the truth? They want to deliver a fresh salad to you and one mixes the salad with dressing it gets soggy. Loose your ego and enjoy a good salad (with a little work adding the dressing 😉 )

  74. Joe Kobetich

    The salad place is correct, 100%. They have a certain level quality in their food and everything that surrounds it….chances are, that you are purchasing that salad because you once ate it on site ( or if they only deliver, you had it as fresh and crisp as possible) so you obviously enjoyed the salad enough to buy again, they want you to have that salad for the first time, again and again and again…not bowing to customers and keeping integrity high, keeps you and others going back. Cheers.

  75. Lisa

    They are making the right decision, because even though you don’t want the inconvenience of mixing in the dressing, it’s a lesser inconvenience than a ruined salad (that you’d blame them for ). The only salad you can pre dress this way is Kale salad.

  76. Mike DelGandio

    Being neither an artist, engineer or a restaurateur, I still agree with the salad shop. They stand by their product as they feel it should be delivered and experienced and do not want to jeopardize the quality. That’s integrity, and I’m all for that!

  77. Schwalle

    Salad place as well. It’s their salad, they’re the experts. I also do not agree with “customer is king” at all.

  78. Jessica

    I’m not a fan of soggy salad and I see what they are saying! If the customer doesn’t mind soggy salad though, I guess it’s ok to mix in the dressing.

  79. Ron Mulvey

    Integrity is hard to defend. Let the salad stand alone and let it be dressed by the owner who paid for it.

  80. Drew

    The standards are so incredibly important to every aspect of your enjoyment of the food. I appreciate a chef/owner/cook telling me what is served and how it is served. I also appreciate a hair stylist telling me “No, I won’t be able to do your idea. Here is my idea.” Especially with a creative craft like cooking, hair, woodworking, other ones I can’t think of…I think you want to choose a good craftsman and leave them alone. Your job is to enjoy and pay.

  81. Fernando Alves

    This is what differentiates a good company from all the others. Even without knowing the salad place I want to order from there. Why? Because they explained why they do what they do in order to preserve the integrity of the product. They know their clients and they know that if the client wants the best salad the client will stay and keep ordering from them. Changing a product just because the client wants it a certain way is not always the best approach. Imagine if Starbucks started to serve hamburgueres just because someone would like a hamburger with their coffee? Would you still keep going to Starbucks knowing that you will have a different type of clientele, different environment and different smells coming from cooking the hamburgueres ?

  82. Tim

    If it’s a logical decision (delivery times could make already dressed salad into a mess), I completely understand.

    If it isn’t something I deem as logical, I will usually find a different place to get my [whatever the product is].

  83. Jill B Roark

    I agree with the first few commenters- My guess is that the salad shop is preempting negative comments from their customers. So the question is, be all things to all people, or, pick a segment and cater to them?Two vastly different business strategies.

    This said, sometimes I need a “customer” to shake things up for me and make me consider something in a different way. Your salad shop could offer to provide the salad with the dressing mixed in provided that you agree to their terms acknowledging that the salad will be moving towards soggy the longer it get before it is being consumed.

  84. Gov

    The customer is not always right. The salad place knows from experience that soggy salad is more disruptive to a good customer experience even if the customers don’t.

  85. Joe Vargas

    I always order dressin on the side in this circumstance, for that very reason.

  86. Gordon

    The customer is King but NOT always right. I agree with Salad Place.

  87. Angelo

    I totally agree with salad place vision… they have a clear perspective about customer they want, because those love what they mean. An improvement that i could see is to provide a “salad dressing tool” within the furniture, if it makes sense from the business side.

  88. Vicki

    1. You are still ordering from them. They must be doing something right.
    2. The amount of dressing people want on their salad varies; if you add it, it will always be right and you will be happier than if they added it and got it wrong though not as happy as if they added it and got it right.
    3. Not everyone wants the dressing added to their salad. This does streamline production.
    4. If they add it and then the salad sits for a while, it will be soggy and you will have a picture of their product as less than fresh.
    5. If it matters that much to you, maybe the delivery person could add the dressing at the door. You might ask them that.

  89. Lisa

    I agree with the restaurant, but I also think that, when people ask for the dressing mixed in on their delivery salads, the person taking the order should offer a brief explanation of why the restaurant doesn’t do that. The restaurant could also include a note or something with the salads. I know information isn’t the only driver of behavior change, but if this practice agitated Ramit enough that he asked, I suspect other people might want to know, too. I also realize that coming out and saying “we don’t do that because we don’t want our salads showing up soggy” to customers who don’t ask “why” directly might present other challenges, but I think it’s worth an experiment to see what happens.

  90. nonkuthalo

    I totally agree with the company but the company is its duty to know their consumers,their taste and thoughts.before delivering they should know all the details on how the potential customer would like their salads to be done.it is very important to do an after service to your costumers so that you can know their thoughts

  91. JBB

    “We don’t usually do that, because we want the salad to be fresh and crisp when it arrives — but if you still want us to, we’ll do that for you.”

    And though it probably doesn’t seem worth their time: Track how customers like their salad. If you’re ordering it more than once, they have some info in their POS system about you already, and this is an opportunity to say “Okay, Ramit, last time you asked for the dressing on the salad instead of on the side, did that work out?” And now they have a secondary win — catering (literally) to the customer, making them feel more valued.

    Given how effective little things turn out to be (once tested and evaluated), that could be a surprisingly big win in terms of satisfaction, tips, return customers. (Example: Waiters who repeat your order instead of just writing it down get, what, an extra 10% in tips if I recall?)

  92. Bradford Smith

    I like their position as long as they explain it to customers. It will get the salad soggy and they care about the quality of their product.

  93. Yusuf M Matcheswala

    Ramit,
    I think the salad shop should listen to what the customer wants. It is not about their vision, its about the customers needs and wants. I am a typical engineer, and early in my career I did stuff because it was “interesting to me”. I found a lot of people unhappy with me. As I grew wiser I realized that its not about what I like and find interesting, its about what is needed to be done, which is another way of saying do what the customer wants. Now you can recommend some alternate ideas based on your experience, but ultimately the customer makes the call…..just my humble opinion on this, I’m not saying one way is wrong and the other correct.

  94. Jimmy Kahn

    I agree with the restaurant. Let’s look at an extreme case. Suppose a customer wanted to order roast chicken – but they wanted it raw so they could cook it at home. Should the restaurant agree to sell raw chicken to a customer? Well, suppose the customer doesn’t cook the chicken thoroughly and gets sick – or suppose the customer DOES cook the chicken thoroughly, and gets sick for any other reason. Would he or could he blame the restaurant? And perhaps give it a bad review? You bet. A restaurant has a responsibility to its customers and to itself to remove as much variance as possible in the quality of the customer experience. The salad example is very similar. In both cases, it’s not worth the risk.

  95. R Walker

    Salads are all about crispness, unless it’s a warm salad. Wet ingredients undermines the chefs intentions, trust the source.

  96. Bob

    If I were the restaurant I would not mix the dressing in by default. If the customer asks for it to be mixed in, say something like: this might make the salad soggier than you would like. If the customer persists, then allow them to ask for it to be mixed in.

    It’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on review sites etc. anyway, and if people start complaining about too soggy salad, add a comment that it’s not company policy to mix it in and if customers ask for it, they are warned about sogginess and then can order dressing mixed in.

    It seems to me that the important things behind all this are (in this order):
    1. Keep existing customers happy
    2. Attract new customers as much as possible
    3. Produce work that you are happy with

    This is within reason – no point in happy customers if you dread coming into work because you can’t stand the thought of yet another soggy salad.

  97. Sudeshna Sen

    I agree with the salad place.

    Customers might know what they like but they base their preference on what the served dish in the restaurant tasted like. Delivery places know that the customers’ experience in the restaurant and the delivery experience may not coincide. Customers are also fickle and if by chance the salad with the salad dressing mixed in DOES turn out soggy then they may decide this is a bad eatery and not order again.
    Also they might talk about the place negatively in terms of quality and a business can never take that risk.

    There is no guarantee that the salad will be consumed as soon as it is delivered and therefore there is a big chance it WILL become soggy. No need to take that type of business risk.

  98. Ilene Frank

    Along with the problem that the salad might get soggy, how about quantity? Too much salad dressing, not enough salad dressing… I would think that if a company explained why they didn’t want to add salad dressing ahead of time, customers would appreciate the rationale.

  99. Susan Brownfield

    I guess I’m one of the few people, too. I like salad dressed and I don’t mind putting the dressing on myself. I guess I’d find a place that made the salad exactly the way I wanted it if it was that important to me.

  100. Chelsea Short

    I think that’s quite considerate to not have the product be well kept and preserved for the customer.

    But I think it can be reasonably adjusted per customer upon request.

    That way, if someone wants it a certain way, they can get it and see if that product works well along with how they customized it.

    This way, the customer can experience which choice would be better for future notice.

  101. Pauline

    Stubborn service delivery sometimes gives the best results because it sifts out all the bad apples of the complaining customers..

  102. Steven

    Attempting to determine who’s position is correct is futile. A battle with customers only increases the barrier to consumption, which harms the business and cheats customers from a valuable product/service. What is more interesting and probably more important is whether the customer (Ramit) who now has a response to the inquiry that led to his frustration now has an appreciation for the product and is a loyal client. For the business, it would be important to ask whether they could have earned the customer’s (Ramit’s) loyalty sooner and more effectively if they would have communicated their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction regarding their delivery policy at a different point of the purchasing process. Then test various messages to decide what generates more loyalty and more sales. Appreciate. Anticipate. Communicate. Deliver.

  103. Em

    Chelsea is right on. This is a sales opportunity to explain their quality standards, why they do it the way they do. Relationship building. Their target customer is one who wants salads fresh so will appreciate their standards.

  104. T

    I agree with the salad place, the fact that they eat to serve the salad at its best shows they pride in their work and their company name.

  105. Jane

    I agree with the restaurant. I prefer to add the dressing myself as restaurants typically put too much on and it’s very calorie-laden. I also don’t want soggy lettuce – yuck!

  106. victoria

    This is cool because I feel like they are not selling you a salad, they are selling the “best possible version” of a salad. It’s not about the salad getting soggy, it’s about understanding that the salad will be best served to you if the dressing is on the side (i.e. lettuce is crisp, fresh).

  107. Geraldine

    I agree with the salad place.
    Full disclosure: i’m an engineer.
    (And… i’m French… We don’t take “what customers want” as a rule. It’s more “How it should be” for those who want the experience of the product)
    🙂

  108. Misty

    t HI like my salad soggy.

  109. Tawn

    Hi Ramit,

    I would not put the dressing on, since it does ruin the salad if it is soggy. AND I would put a note that addresses the customer’s concern and makes it clear that they did not ignore the request. It could even have instructions on how to properly toss a salad (in case the customer prefers to have it tossed instead of poured over the top of the salad and that is reason the customer asks the restaurant to do it.)

    Example:

    Dear Customer: We understand that you wanted us to dress your salad, however, to provide the most delicious and freshest experience of our salad, we sent the dressing on the side to prevent soggy salad.

    Toss instructions: Put some dressing in a large bowl, transfer the salad to the bowl, pour the rest of the dressing on top. Toss gently — add croutons after dressing.

    Signed: Chef @ corner restaurant

    That way the restaurant can adhere to their standards of fresh salad and even add value by sending thoughtful instructions so the customer can be taken care of. Some will still leave the restaurant, but those are not their customers — not really.

  110. Kenni

    I completely understand the salad place. They have spend time making a great salad and they know it will be terrible and sorry if they deliver with the dressing mixed in and they don’t want you to have that kind of experience. Same reason a Michelin restaurant won’t do delivery as the whole restaurant is part of the experience.

  111. Susan

    If you’re eating salad simply because its components are necessary to add nutrients to your diet, a pre-dressed salad makes sense. It saves the time and effort of dressing your own salad. It also ensures you receive a provider-defined uniform amount of dressing with each salad.

    If you’re eating salad because you enjoy the taste and the texture of its components, serving dressing on the side retains the full sensory experience of crisp, crunchy ingredients. You can also control the exact amount of dressing you want on a particular day.

    If the salad restaurant’s vision is to bring greens to the people, they should serve it as requested. If their vision is to serve the best possible salad to individuals, they should suggest you find another salad provider.

  112. Kurt

    It’s clear that most customers don’t mind, some may even prefer, the dressing on the side. If everyone was complaining and business was suffering, they might change their practice. You indicated that you order “occasionally” which tells me that you are not their most profitable customer. A product line extension could be a larger box wherein you could add your salad dressing at home and shake/toss it yourself. The salad place is right in this case.

  113. Raven Vinnie

    I think you should politely try to reason with the client about your expertise/instincts. But some days, you just gotta give em’ a soggy salad (and keep it out of your portfolio).

  114. Misty

    I like my salad soggy.

  115. Nandu Awatramani

    Coming from a restaurateur, the decision to not add the dressing is a very good one, it ensures that the salad reaches the customer in the state it is meant to reach – fresh, crisp, right colors, and feel.

    From a customers point of view, not getting the salad exactly how they wanted/asked for it and being upset – was ok with me – why?
    1. because 2 out of 100 customers felt that way..the rest 98% were happy it arrived the way it did, and understood that we cared about our product and would not tamper with the procedures set, because these were there for a reason.
    2.if there were other orders to be delivered before thiers, the salad would have looked like a green mush. (Would they have paid for it then?, even though it is what they asked for

    I saw this many times, when people asked to put wierd toppings on the pizza- we learnt that either we had to tell them in advance that their recipe choice may not compliment each other or strictly say no alterations to the menu) – I think as we matured, we realized the need to dance – to be flexibile, listen to the customer, create an interactive experience by involving them in the process yet at the same time sticking to what we the restaurateur believed in – how the recipe or experience should be

  116. Maureen

    100% agree with the salad place. It’s the only way for them to retain control and ensure the highest quality and consistency of their product, and, by proxy their image to the consumer.

  117. Shubada

    The restaurant is right to send salad in premium condition. You can always add the dressing and let it soak before you enjoy it. Part of a good business philosophy is to also educate the customer. Apple products taught us things we did not even know we wanted. Its an ethical question but at least they got the conversation started. That is progress!

  118. Ruth

    I think they are wise to keep a standard of quality for their salad. Perhaps they could have shared their reason with you earlier and suggested an flavorful healthy option.

  119. Rick

    Despite preferring to have my dressings pre-mixed when I get my salad, I totally get the reasoning behind the restaurant’s choice.

    I’m curious to know if this is vision on the part of the restaurantiers or learned behavior. Did they originally send them out mixed and did complaints drive them to change their procedure around this or have they always felt this was the best way? Interesting one way or another though.

  120. Jim Mitchell

    The Salad shop is correct in following their vision. I do hardwood floors (artist/engineer) and would have disasters that I would then be accountable for letting happen if I did what clients asked for.

  121. Geoffrey Stephens

    I am a software engineer, so I agree with the one creating has the right to the creation, but only until it’s sold. Then it’s no longer his, it becomes the person who bought it. The arrogance of creative people (of which I am one) is seen when we try to get people to honor us for what we have done and keep it that way. If what we have made is perfect then nothing could be done except that which is destruction. If it can be improved upon then we should be ecstatic for the improvement as we carried it this far, and then another contributed to it. As for salad, I agree, mix it up then give it to me, but technically only after I have paid for it, so I can have it my way. Else I have to dirty a bowl to mix it in which eliminates one of the reason for eating takeout.

  122. Ruaan

    I agree with the salad restaurant. One (the customer) has to be cognisant of the product. Would another salad take away place actually deliver a salad with the sauce already – if yes… well, you should do analysis on why they do it different then. But, if no – well, one would clearly be lead to the fact that certain frustrations will just have to be accommodated to continue value…

  123. Sabine Morrow

    I see why they would not want to mix the dressing in with the salad. However, they should include a little card that explains how and why they assemble the salad and deliver it the way they do. They can make it all about the customer and keeping customer satisfaction top of mind rather than not react to your objections and leaving the customer to think they are not being heard.

  124. Nada

    Ramit asked why they wouldn’t do it and they gave a fair reply. The reason they won’t do it is not to snub him, it’s to maintain the standards of the service they provide. It’s great to say he can go elsewhere, yet he keeps coming back for more! The salad there must be quite good.

    Seems to me there’s also a bigger issue here about an extra level of customisation which would complicate orders (and cost) even further. Maybe this salad place isn’t set up to give you the option to mix the dressing in, with the time it takes etc. maybe it’s not built into their costing. Maybe if you offered to pay them an extra $x for this customisation they would consider testing the market for this offering. Or maybe they’ll stick to their guns and say it’s a quality issue. Interesting one.

  125. Nandu Awatramani

    TO ADD HERE –
    If there were lets say 20% of the customers who liked a soggy salad – I’d put it on the menu and give each one a choice – “would you like the dressing tossed soggy salad or a crisp salad with the dressing on the side?”

  126. jose

    I can understand their point; They want to control the quality of their product at every stage prior to your consumption.

    You may feel like they may waver at customer care, but consider for a moment what would happen if your tastes changed and you no longer wanted the dressing mixed?

    You´ll remember their salad as soggy and perhaps you´d be compelled to find a non-soggy alternative that would fit your newly acquired taste.

    Now, even if they drive you nuts, they know that you like their salad so much, that you´re willing to ignore their non-compliance with your request, to enjoy the meal….who knows, in the future you may want another dressing, but you´ll still want their salad.

  127. Jan

    I am a graphic designer and I kinda agree with the salad place.. They stand behind their “beliefs” and it creates their brand and their own identity. This is in a long term scale more important and more effective than trying to satisfy everybody… that’s just not possible. I don’t know how important the “sogginess” is in the salad world though.

  128. Ishrat Bashar

    I understand the idea of a soggy salad being unappealing to many but for me as a customer, the more tedious task is to mix in the salad dressing. It’s many steps – open the dressing, pour it in, either use utensils to shake it in or fasten the salad box and shake. I would love to skip all these steps and just get my soggy salad with the dressing mixed it. And I can start eating.

    So I completely disagree with the Salad Bar service concept. Give me what I WANT! If I want cookie crumbs mixed in with my salad dressing, you should give me that too. What would be even more amazing is the salad bar acknowledging my importance as a customer -” ideally we would like this salad to appear fresh and not soggy so that you may enjoy a fresh salad but we would happy to mix in the dressing if that is what you want.”

    It’s not about your un-soggy salad. Its about my satisfaction as a customer.

  129. Moshe

    Good for them. If the salad arrives soggy the cstimer will blane them and not order again. But if they get a good experience they will order as Ramit keeps ordering

  130. Jesus

    I think in a way, the business is doing right. If they were to listen to customers and mix the dressing they’d arrive soggy, and unenjoyable. If the customer gets an unenjoyable salad (even if it’s they’re own fault) they’d think the salad is of low quality, and not order from there again, or worse, tell their friends of that experience, and have friends not order from there either.
    I do think they should explain why they don’t mix the dressing at the time off the request, to avoid getting a bad review for “not listening to the customer”.

  131. CJ

    It makes sense from a business standpoint to deliver it without the dressing. If too much dressing then people complain. It’s really a personal preference. Are they supposed to have fresh salads in the car at all times of the day in case of complaint? No, that’s silly. Would they have to go back to the store and make second trip to “make it right”? Maybe, but still not efficient and seems backwards. Maybe they could have a better container for shaking the salad, but is there much demand for that? They probably have better things to focus on.

  132. Jhansen

    I agree with the salad place, Ramit.

    As an artist I learned early on that not everyone will like my work. And this made sense. Not everyone will like Eminem. Not everyone will like country or opera. Personally I don’t like either. I’m more of a metal, rock, hip-hop kinda dude.

    I almost got slapped upside my head when I told someone I didn’t think the Mona Lisa was anything special. It’s considered art to some and it’s considered something else to others.

    Back to the salad:
    You are not their target customer. They like their salad with crunch, and freshness, and the ability to add a lot or a little dressing. Or some other kind of quality description with a specific target in mind.

    I mean, sometimes I like to be a rebel and dip my salad into a small bowl of dressing! Bet that would drive you nuts!

    Can’t please everyone. If ya do, ya please no one!

  133. philip griffiths

    I think the best approach would be for the salad shop to understand why Ramit wants the salad dressing pre-mixed in rather than delivering separately. It may be that he likes a ‘soggy salad’. If we use the anecdote more loosely it is incredibly frustrating for people when ‘experts’ tell you how you should have / do something without taking the time to understand your specific needs. It does not mean the customer is always right, only that they have a unique perspective and building a relationship with customer’s is the most valuable thing a company can do. If the company then decides they will not change their standard approach then fine, at least they have listened and understood before taking a position which they can better explain to their customer to remove ambiguity. As Covey says, seek first to understand, then to be understood.

  134. Camille Virginia

    Customers THINK they know what they want – until they actually get it. The salad place probably had more than its fair share of complaints for people who wanted the dressing mixed in ahead of time, only to have it delivered soggy and then get complaints. “Tell them what they want to hear, give them what they actually need” 🙂

  135. Melis

    Hey Ramit, love your work.

    About the salad place. I think it all depends on
    – how hungry you are 🙂
    – what your current alternatives are (in terms of brand appeal of the salad place / location of the salad place / taste & quality of salad / value for money of salad)
    – how easy it is for you to find another alternative

    Have a great day!

  136. Paulo Roldan

    I don’t think altering simple procedures to satisy the customer has any major implications in the daily operations of a business. In my opinion, you should be able to get a salad just the way you want it.

  137. Chris

    Isn’t the point here about protecting the quality of the product they offer? They want a consistent level of quality and hence won’t add ‘non standard’ stuff to their order.

    You can do so if you wish., but that’s your choice.

    This is the delivery shop equivalent of Apple not letting you upgrade OS if the hardware is too old. Whilst it might run it won’t run well enough or to their minimum standard. As with Apple, if you don’t like it, you go elsewhere. Otherwise if they ship you salad that’s limp and unimpressive you’ll just complain about it being awful salad and tell your friends.

    That’s why we always complained about Windows XP, and Windows 7, you could install it on any old hardware, and it ran like a dog if you did! Protecting your reputation by only providing something you know is top notch is long term common sense over short term commercialism.

    I suspect you as someone who understands the value of product and how it is perceived would probably understand their motives for this. You as the consumer vote with your feet, if you care enough about it you’d order elsewhere and get what you WANT. Or buy here and get what they are prepared to sell you.

    i guess time will tell as to whether their model works or not! If it doesn’t they’ll go out of business..

    As for me, I’d probably just order a burger instead! 😉 which says more about me than it does about commercial offerings and how they are based. Now, would I wait 10 minutes for my burger to be cooked for me over picking up one already pre made…… there’s a choice.

  138. Maxwell

    I think it needs to be both. You need to explain yourself if you are having customers ask why consistently. Especially if the answer adds value which I believe in this case it did.
    If I was in ramits shoes, once finding out why, I would want to order from them again since I know they care about my experience

  139. Jessica Angerstein

    I agree with the restaurant. They have developed a brand standard and they are sticking to it. It is very easy to make decisions when you have a standard that you have developed. And just a funny aside – what if I only liked just a little bit of dressing and they gave me a smidge more and it ruins my salad 🙂

  140. Annie Camp

    I’m with the restaurant. They know that if the salad and dressing is mixed but doesn’t get eaten right away it will get gross and they don’t want their product out there not at optimum. Salads are best freshly tossed anyway. Any foodie knows this. It’s not about arrogance of the creator etc etc. No need to read anything into it… If you put the dressing on the salad and put the top back on it and gently shake it around, it will toss beautifully! Then take the top off and enjoy. Maybe the restaurant could bother to explain it in a fun way on its menus and such to keep hotheads from blowing up about this! 🙂

  141. Lisa Matovich Brooke

    I’m like you I would want my salad how I want it. But I guess they have a different vision of this and want you to have fresh salad.

  142. Amy

    When I want somebody to do something for me I am either hiring them because I don’t know how to do what they do, I like the way they do it better, or convenience. With food specifically I defer to the creator so if they tell me that for delivery a salad doesn’t get dressing mixed in it doesn’t bug me at all because I trust that they know more about salads than I do – also I do hate soggy lettuce.

  143. Matthew

    I agree with the salad place 100%.

    It’s not about what the customer wants; it’s about how the business appears to its customers. The salad place wants to deliver a tasty, aesthetically pleasing, professional looking product with each and every order. If the customer wants soggy salad, let the customer add the dressing and let their salad sit for ten minutes. It’s not worth it to the company to lower the quality of the product they serve, even if the customer wants it that way.

  144. Erin

    I side with the restaurant. As an artist and engineer, I have a vision for the things I create. I also have a duty to put out good product, not “soggy” product. If the customer wants soggy salad, I can’t be the person to give it to them. I’m OK with that. I want to have customers who appreciate my vision.

  145. Ben

    I bet some asshole ordered the salad with the dressing on the salad and then complained or left a bad review online saying, “I didn’t like the salad because it was too soggy!”

    And that is why all the rest of the customers can’t have their salad with the dressing on top.

  146. Marcella

    I would warn them that it will be soggy and give them what they want. They will inevitably complain that it is soggy and I will kick myself for not telling people “no” when I need to.

  147. krishnakumar

    ask them to give the dressing separately

  148. Chris

    Put the dressing on my salad already!

    Haha, I don’t like it when I order a salad and the dressing is on the side. Technically the salad sits for the same amount of time if I order in restaurant or get it delivered. I’m really not sure why they don’t dress my salad.

    Instead of an amazing salad I get spoonfuls of dressing mixed with crispy plain lettuce and the whole experience is off. (Salad tossing is not a skill I care to get good at.)

    I stopped ordering the salads to go.

  149. Jamie

    I agree with the restaurant. If your salad arrived soggy, it would be gross. Then you would complain about the quality of the food and take your business elsewhere anyway.

    If someone will take their business away because the restaurant refuses to serve soggy salad, then that’s probably not the kind of customer they want anyway.

  150. Jim

    I agree with the restaurant 100%. A complaint of having to put the dressing on yourself is better than a complaint of a soggy salad.

    I work in the audio field, and if a client wants me to record two voice talent with one microphone on one track, I won’t do it. It leaves no control over editing and is a recipe for a complaint later, which will puts my reputation a risk.

  151. Ania

    I agree with the salad shop. Although it is important to listen to your audience and what they want, if you listened to everyone you would end up having a “company created by committee” which likely would incorporate all the customer’s ideas yet wouldn’t please a single customer. It’s their job as a business owner to see whether the idea suggested by their customer would really benefit them. Their thought process was probably “Will I get a negative review on Yelp for not pre-mixing dressings with my salads that someone else will read and turn them off from buying my salad? Or is it more likely that I will get a negative review from someone where they show a picture of a soggy salad complaining about it, and that picture would hurt my brand and influence people who are browsing photos of which salad they like to be grossed out by that salad and decide not to place an order.”

  152. Clark Williamson

    I like the fact they are thinking about the whole experience and not just blindly doing something because the customer tells them to.

  153. Kristyn

    I totally agree with the Salad Shop because for one they have some idea but no absolute certainty of when that salad will actually be delivered. If it takes a while to get to you, no doubt it will be soggy, and then they will have an unhappy customer on their hands because the salad sucked!! They are simply being proactive and avoiding that possibility, and disregarding your request because they fell that they know a little more about the fails of food delivery than their average customer.

  154. Nick P.

    As with everything, cooking can be elevated to a statement of a particular identity. It’s the reason you insult a high end chef if you salt the food before you taste it. If you consider sustenance a soggy mess of empty calories that you intake faster than you can taste it, in a sense, you reduce yourself to a base animal with no regard for the food itself let alone the person preparing it for you. They respect you by acting in your service and giving you the option to rearrange their salad however you want in the privacy of your own home. If you’re choosing to patronize them, they’re responsible for what they put out into the world, be it “lettuce” or “So and So’s chef salad.”

    And, really, can you find a better competitor in the “first world problem” contest than, “I have to mix in my own dressing!? MY GOD I’M NOT ANIMAL!” Personally, if it comes in a plastic container, I like to be able to add a small amount and shake it up to cut calories and get equitable distribution.

  155. Dave

    I agree with the salad place … and I’m interestingly enough an Engineer!

  156. ✌️ Alternative

    They are firm about their salad, no?
    BUT they better offer that sauce next to the dish, no?

  157. Paul

    The salad shop is right. If you are picky enough that manually adding dressing to your food is to be avoided, I guarantee you’ll be annoyed at the soggy salad that comes to your door, if they followed your request to add it. The integrity of their product ought to be their overriding concern, over what is likely the very small percentage of customers who even notice that the dressing arrives separately.

    Their mistake is waiting on you to ask why they don’t add it. Their immediate response to your request should have been “we don’t do that, and here is why.”

    Case in point: there is a tiny craft brewery/coffee shop/vintage record and clothing shop that opened recently in a gentrifying neighbourhood of my city. They sell half pints of their stouts and brown ales blended with cold press coffee. I was in to get a growler fill and I asked about it. The brewer/owner said “we don’t do that, because the coffee makes the beer flat.”

    Fair enough. Makes sense. I walked out with a full growler and the intention to go in for a sit down drink in the near future.

  158. charissa

    Salad gets soggy in about two minutes; gross. So I 100% agree with the takeout place.
    With that said, I think in general, I would support a company defending its vision — after all, they’re providing the service/product/whatever; they’re the experts, right? — so long as that vision is explained somewhere. If there’s an FAQ on their site explaining why they do something a certain way in spite of many requests to change it, I get less grumpy about it.

    It’s all about providing more information, I guess.

  159. Noel

    If you are that determined to have soggy salad, then order it 20 minutes early and put the dressing on yourself.

    They have an impression that they are trying to create. Also, fewer people will gripe about too much dressing on their salad.

  160. Lauri Mackey

    Wow, my response is simple and not so philosophical. Even if I wanted the dressing mixed in, once the restaurant explained their reasoning I would probably agree with them. Plus, I’m a control freak who wants to monitor how much salad dressing I actually want on my salad so again, I would agree with them. And yes, I’m that person that NEVER orders things straight off the menu how they are served…I need stuff added or stuff removed so this doesn’t seem to far of a stretch to me. IMHO

  161. Dilys

    I agree with the resturant – good salad is a quality product and it should be super fresh and crisp – which it wouldn’t be if the restaurant added the dressing before delivery. Some people like a little dresssing, some people like a lot, some people like none – if the dressing was added before delivery, the restaurant would risk far more complaints if they got it wrong! If you don’t appreciate their quality product, go elsewhere! I am with the restaurant in their not wanting to reduce the quality of their superb product! This restaurant is obviously follows your principles in deciding what sort of customers it wants to attract, and what sort of customers it does not want to attract! And they take a pride in their work….

  162. Nia

    This restaurant is the top notch!
    Their standards are excellence and even if people request soggy salad they will NOT allow you to ruin a good thing.
    I wish I lived near you. I would eat here all the time on principle.
    This SHOULD be the standard everywhere.
    Even in a restaurant I order my dressing on the side so the lettuce doesn’t wilt. Who knows how long it will sit in the window before it gets to my table.

  163. Casey S

    They clearly know exactly what they want to serve their customers.

    It may also just have to do with keeping it simple for their workers.
    A factory manager told me: “The less steps placed in a process, the less mistakes there will be made”. A lot of chains such as McDonald’s follow this philosophy.

    Casey S.

  164. Christopher Wilson

    My dad used to own a restaurant. One day, a local critic came in. He asked to be seated on the lawn. He ordered their specialty dish, but he asked that they remove all vegetables but snap peas and sprouts. He also asked that they provide minimum spice.

    The then wrote up a review complaining that the grass on the lawn was soft and slightly uneven. He complained that the dish didn’t have enough vegetables. He complained that the food wasn’t spicy enough.

    The review wasn’t at all about the dish the restaurant normally serves, but about the dish the critic had created on his own. The customer’s mind doesn’t work that way, however, and unfortunately, because this customer was also a critic, his review meant that everyone else assumed the restaurant wasn’t any good, either. This kind of ‘what I ordered sucked, so it must be your fault’ mentality is why many creators refuse to adjust. At least in certain respects. If they are to be judged, they will be judged on what they actually do, not on what the customer did.

    As for the lawn? No idea. Dude, you want to sit on the lawn, expect mother nature. If you want stability, sit on the porch or inside.

  165. Ann

    If I owned the place I’d explain to the customer that we usually prefer not to because it makes the salad soggy and we like our customers to experience our best. However if the customer wanted it, I’d say of course we’ll do that. My first job was at McDonalds and their mantra back then was simple “The Customer is always right.” Thus the billions of burgers.

  166. Terrin

    If this salad shop puts quality first in little details like having dressing on or off, to the extent of rejecting a customers request, then it’s fair to assume that their attention to detail and quality in all other facets of their product and service are of the same standard. It would make me feel better about what you can’t see happening behind the scenes of these strangers handling my food.

  167. Lawrence Mans

    I think the salad will get soggy. The restaurant knows their product and is trying to ensure the customer has the beat taste experience possible. I would however, be curious to know if they are consistent with this across all salads. Do they leave the dressing out for ceasar salads as well?

  168. Steve Acho

    I’ve had this conversation with many people, usually about nice steak places that refuse to cook the steak well-done. I get it. No matter what disclaimer they add (“the salad may be soggy” or “the steak will not be as good as the way we’re proud to make it”) some people will still complain that it wasn’t good, even if it’s their own fault.

    As you said, this has more to do with psychology and your target market than it does salad and dressing.

    Here’s what I think it comes down to: knowing and being proud of exactly what kind of customer you serve. If 80% of your customers ask for salad dressing mixed in, and you’re okay saying “that’s not my market”, then you proudly exclude people who complain because they can’t have it their way.

    If on the other hand you’re open to serving more than one market (the one that loves exactly what you do, and the one that loves what you do with a minor tweak), then you should do whatever the customer wants.

    Either choice will give you a reputation and will result in complainers. So pick one and be proud.

  169. Kurt Mitchell

    The reality is…..if you want your salad with the dressing already mixed in, then you’re not my type of customer. This is where a lot of businesses lose focus……YOU CAN’T NOR SHOULD YOU TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE. When you order a salad from us, you get the dressing on the side, its the only way we serve it. 3 doors down, they mix their dressing in and that sounds like it would work much better for you. My customer is the one who raves about how good our salad is and loves they way we deliver it. This isn’t the old Burger King where you “Can have it your way”. This is us and you get it our way.

  170. Suman

    Yes I do agree with the salad palace they don’t want your money or want to irritate you they just want to give the quality of food to every customer they just care about you because we mind in taste and quality not in money or something else
    I am a 9th class student.

  171. William

    I agree with the restaurant.

    It is important to understand your quality threshold.

    “Will this customer’s preference create a product of lower quality?”
    “Will this affect the reputation of my products?”
    “Are my customers going to fully evaluate WHY they did not like the soggy salad and then decide to give my product another try upon the conclusion that THEY screwed up, not me?” – NO.

    Maybe these pre-mixed-in salad dressing lovers aren’t the types of customers I am trying to attract?
    Your goal is not to attract EVERY customer with EVEY product you offer.

    You need to know your customer base and tailor each product to its correct base.
    You need to know your position / reputation within the industry and tailor your line of products to your position / reputation.

    “Hey Ramit, I have a friend that would like to sign up for your ‘Zero to Launch’ course, but he would like to make some critiques to the content of the course first in order to meet what he thinks he needs to focus on.”

    The customer is not ALWAYS right.

  172. Laura

    It depends on the level of disruption to the business (how much more time/effort/confusion it may cause and is it worth it?) AND if the request goes against the principles/charter of the business.

    In the case of the salad dressing in the salad, this is something that I believe they should provide and feel free to warn you, the customer, that they don’t normally do that because most people don’t like a soggy salad and often mixing it in causes that, but if you like it that way, they would be happy to do it.

    If they are TRULY passionate about lack of sogginess and refuse to do it, maybe to mitigate the negative reaction from a customer, they share that “mission” with he/she (showing the commitment to quality), and then provide a tip or tool for “the best way to easily coast your salad in the dressing” for best results.

  173. MAUREEN BENUN

    If I owned the shop I would explain to the customer why we don’t mix in the dressing and if they still want it that way I would do it per their request

  174. Amy

    I agree with the salad place—trusting their vision for how to make their product great. I would, however, immediately explain the reasoning to the customer so there’s no wondering or further frustration for the customer. (I’m a graphic designer.)

  175. Jim Wang

    I think it’s great – sometimes the customer doesn’t know enough to make the right decision but I’d take the time to explain it and be up front about it.

  176. Nate

    The right customers are always right. The people that love their salads looking fresh and crispy will stay customers and customers who like droopy leaves can find another place.

  177. Jay

    – So is it that hard to mix in the dressing? I would think it would taste better after just having been mixed myself, but maybe that’s just me
    – On the other hand if the customer asks for it mixed in, why not? Maybe a staff training issue for restaurant? Or maybe they think they’ll get more complaints (or fewer return customers) if the salad is soggy, even if the customer wanted it that way?

  178. Carly

    Salad Place has got it right. If you (or anyone) ordered a salad with dressing on, and then didn’t like it because of that, there’s a good chance you would attribute that dislike to some other aspect of the salad or delivery. People are WAY more inclined to attribute positive things to themselves and negative things to others. (Fundamental Attribution Error, Psych 101).

    Additionally there’s always the chance the salad will be eaten, or even seen, by someone other than the person who ordered. Given that the majority of people don’t like soggy lettuce, or do want to have the control to put their own dressing on, this would be a huge bummer for the salad shop.

    It’s their creation, and they want to sell to people who WANT WHAT THEY SELL.

  179. Sean Rafferty

    Grant the request only after informing the customer that it may make the salad soggier than desired.

    Empower the customer by educating them – it’d only take 5-15 seconds. If it shows up soggy and they don’t like it – then they’ll know it’s their own fault.

    But… this is predicated on the staff member taking the order doing his/her job – not something ever restaurant owner can rely on unfortunately.

  180. simona

    I believe this is a trick question from Ramit. and a smart one

    1st. Is about a company, any company vision about the outlook of their product. Think fashion designers, some of their output products are the weirdest I have seen in my life, but yet, is their brand, is unique, and people are attracted to that uniqueness, or ….weirdness, whatever you want to call it.
    Maybe this is what makes this salad place unique. Plus they take the risk of loosing maybe a couple of pissed off customers, for the moment, just because they trust the quality of their product. And, odds are, these customers, eventually, will be back.

    2nd. Ramit keeps ordering from this place, even if it is not according to his “customer rules”. This can only means that the salad is a pretty damn good salad. So Ramit is a loyal customer, mixing the dressing in the salad will not stop him from ordering again and again, as he mentions in his email. He didn’t stop ordering the salad, he just asked why? Right?

    3rd. You cannot possible satisfy all the customers, you have to pick your losses, as a business owner; some customers are really weird in their requests, but you can also learn from some of the weirdest ad challenging questions, you will be surprised what ideas can be generated from the most annoying customers.

  181. Josue

    There are no many more things to say. I’m agree with the salad’s shop policy. I’m going to say something that probably doesn’t sound very well: “When you do something (even for somebody else) your first priority must be to satisfy your self opinion.
    The clients opinion is in second place, behind yours.
    The creator produces the product, but he also develop his own self fulfillment.

    We don’t work for other people but we work to ourself.

    Perhaps they could explain before, why they don´t delivery the salad dressing mixed in

  182. krishnakumar

    you can move on with other restaurant. The restaurant think the salad might taste better without getting soggy. It’s worth giving a try to toss the salad with dressing after getting it. If you like it they are right it’s best eaten without begin soggy.
    some of the possible reasons
    If the restaurant is giving you an explanation for not mixing it then it indicates possibly they are confident about it’s taste better.
    The owner of the restaurant see the customers through him but not through customers themselves.

  183. Luis

    The company is adhering to its clear policy, which they understand will comply with its principles to preserve a freshness appearance upon delivery. However, if you as the client requested the salad the other way even after the explanation, the Company should honor the request provided you agree to sign a paper that states your request by no means could be used against the Company in any way. I know this sounds very complicated but first, you are the client that pays and second the company has to cover itself.

  184. Michele

    Let the person make the salad as they make it. Delegating dinner means I’m trusting another with a task I could do myself, but choose to ask for someone’s help (for whatever reason).

    Asking for help, then instructing the person how to help me is like saying I have nothing to learn, only things to teach. The salad is their art, let them offer it as they choose and I can dress it myself.

    If I want to micromanage my salad, there are salad bars for that, or chipotle where i can even direct someone how to make it for me.

    Control is only found when I can reel in my own thoughts and truly, I can only control my own actions. Telling everyone what to do all the time is a pain in the ass and people can revolt any given moment. Allowing space for each person to offer their expertise, no matter how big or small it may seem, is how I can find true content and learn how to delegate appropriately to be a strong leader-not a master–a continuously learning student of people and life.

  185. Gisella

    I understand the point of those who say “I’m the client, I want something, they should give me what I ask, not what they want”.
    But why on earth should one want a soggy salad, when adding the dressing at home takes zero effort? (if it does take an effort I think I’m missing something).
    There are places where they refuse to spoil (a certain type of) meat by making it well done it even if client would ask for it.
    Same with rice or pasta – how can a restaurant serve an overcooked mess?

  186. Sonia

    I agree with the salad place. You must educate/explain to your clients the reason why you do not compromise on quality. In time, they will trust that you are the expert of your product and understand your choices. I also have to explain certain choices in my business to my clients and they totally understand in the end. 😀

  187. simon harrison

    Hi there, i am on the side of the salad shop, as where does it all stop? the point is the salad shop know that if they mix your salad before you get it, it will look sad and messed up and soggy, then it will happen again and again-the salad shop will start to get a bad reputation for selling rubbish and this is all down to not mixing your salad.to mixing your salad.
    So to stop this happening in the first place-don”t mix the salad the shop is protecting its open recipes from people who get their own way to much-like you!!!
    Best regards,
    Simon Harrison.

  188. KR

    Most places serve salad without the dressing – it is essentially the industry standard. It has become the industry standard because on the whole it pleases more people and sells more product than the alternative. There are many reasons for this: Some people don’t like a soggy salad. Some people like less dressing than others. By serving it separately, the restaurant can prepare a large quantity of salad and have it ready to serve with whatever dressing the customer orders, perhaps even pre-packaged, making it less work for the restaurant and faster service for the customer. I don’t think this is a matter of artistic vision at all, but one of efficiently serving the customer base and satisfying the most customers possible.

  189. Abe

    Used to do this same thing in services we provide, then I found Ramit Sethi :). I have been working in my industry for over 15 years. Client’s requested a specific service, we provided or recommended options for the service using best practices, optimal user experience and execution strategy. Guess what folks, I ended up losing the deal 95% of the time . Ultimately the end client got what they wanted to get and choose a vendor who conveyed the point exactly as they wish to hear, ended up with the service peformend which was nowhere close to our recommended level while paying a premium. Learned the hard way that you go against their existing perception and benefits that they have in their mind or what they value to a benefit or solution to a pain, I lost.

    So in this case, I would simply inform the customer upon request to mix in the dressing, that typically we do not mix the dressing since distance of delivery and type of dressing used may make the salad arrive “soggy”. If they say “Yes I understand, its ok”. I would simply do so and put a sticker on the cover that states “Your Salad has been Dressed Up as Requested”. This way if the customer forgets, the sticker is a reminder that they requested this option specifically. Now Ramit, may prefer Soggy Salads that is his choice but he is empowered to make this choice now.

    At least for me this was a hard learned lesson of while the customer may not always be right or even know better but inform them of the pro and cons, empower them, have them decide and conform to their wishes. It gives the customer control of the process and the service experience. Better do so or be ready to take a hit to the bottom line in lost sales, lost referrals, lit up in social media and review sites.

    Strangely this kind of thing happens on several market segments but none in the higher end professional level such as legal or medical. You will not state to your Doctor or Surgeon “Hey Doc, I would like you to perform surgery not your way but my way :)” or a Lawyer “I would like you to state this legal provision or fight the case in this specific manner using this case ruling as a factor etc”.

    Ramit I will be very curious to know, besides the obvious education and training factors with Doctors and Lawyers , why does the audience have such low resistance and differentiation here, even one that may have a lower level of experience?

  190. Peter Moncrieff

    I think that the restaurant, in refusing to put the dressing on, is ensuring that their product meets their own standards of what their product should be. I don’t think that they’re necessarily putting their ‘art’ before their customers though – I think that their policy genuinley comes from an honest place and that they have their customer’s best interests at heart. “Nobody wants a soggy salad!” they assume. But the problem with that assumption, as with any assumption, is that it’s not fact. Despite that, they treat it as if it is and assume that they know what the customer wants even if they tell them otherwise. They need to understand that their perception of a top quality salad isn’t necessarily the same as everybody else’s. Even if it’s just 0.001% of people, some of us might actually want a soggy salad.

    As an expert in a particular industry it’s easy to assume that we always know more than the customer, and that the customer doesn’t really know what they’re talking about. We’re the ‘experts’ after all. And sometimes the customer really doesn’t know what’s best. The customer doesn’t necessarily realise that it will make their salad soggy. Sometimes if we do exactly as the customer says, they won’t actually get the result that they want. I work with computers and if a client wants to purchase a specific PC for a specific purpose but I see something wrong with their proposition, I’ll explain it to them. If they want to go ahead and order it anyway, that’s fine and I’ll do that for them. But I’ll warn them that it might have a problem with ‘X’ and ‘Y’ and it might not do ‘Z’ as well as they’d hoped.

    As an expert, regardless of the field, you’re being paid to do the job that the customer wants – so the decision ultimately always lies with them. But I think part of the job is also to provide your expert guidance when appropriate, to advise the customer on what might be best for them if it’s apparent that they might not be so sure themselves.

  191. Chad Olsen

    I tend to agree with the salad shop. They likely would get more calls/complaints about soggy salad than they would from getting dressing on the side. After all, who hasn’t asked for the waiter to put the dressing on the side because they don’t know if they’ll be getting dressing soup with lettuce or dry lettuce with a kiss of dressing? It’s best to err on the side of caution and provide the greatest good to the greatest number of people. And that is to have the dressing on the side. (hint 80/20 rule applies) My day job revolves around providing the best value to my customers. Sometimes that means knowing what they want and not giving it to them, or at least not directly. Giving the best value means knowing what you provide and the best way to provide it. (I’m a mechanical engineer doing energy efficiency ESCo work).

  192. Ruben

    Avoiding to deliver a soggy salad is a very good reason for keeping the dressing separate. It is common practice here in Dubai where delivery is a big thing. Other people already pointed out that if the salad arrives soggy because the customer wanted it dressed before delivery, he will most likely blame the restaurant for an unenjoyable meal, rather then himself. They might have a vision for their salad, but I would expect this choice to based on the fact that the number of customers who would complain for a soggy salad is much bigger than the one who would complain for not being listened to.

  193. Mae

    It seems to me if the salad company knows that their salad will arrive soggy if the dressing is mixed in, they should proactively let people know why they keep their salad and dressing separate. Give people the information they need to understand.

  194. Vern Morrisey

    Have to respect their stance on quality and u may want more or less . they havr a point.

  195. Hanna

    The salad shops sticks to the quality standards and principles. Compromising on this would make them “slaves” to the wrong kind of customers I guess… Right decision from their side.

  196. Jonathan

    I’m totally siding with the company here. They have a vision for the quality of their products and, even though your desires as a customer are important, satisfying your requirement while degrading the quality of their salad is completely unacceptable.

    I think this is more an issue with people expecting companies to prioritize customer service instead of product quality; which is (IMHO) completely against what a company needs to focus on. Product comes first. Then, if by any chance there’s a flaw or a complaint, THEN it’s turn for customer service to step in and resolve the situation in a way that satisfies a customer. Howerver, if the customer service-related solution is detrimental to the quality of the product, I think it’s okay to dismiss the complaint.

    After all, improved product quality lowers the overall volume of customer complaints that you receive. As for the salad place; you asked, they answered with a logical explanation. Everything’s cool in my book.

  197. Mike

    If they were to listen to customers and mix in dressing upon request, they’re opening themselves up to having the same customers complain about a soggy salad, and possibly want refunds or other compensation, not to mention poor reviews or references. Even if the restaurant doesn’t give any compensation, they’re still losing man hours with peopel dealing with these customers. People don’t often really want what they think they want, and they’ll take it out on the business.

  198. Jordan Symchych

    I think we live in a time were every person thinks their business and what they want is the most important thing. you have buisness saying the customer is always right when often the customer is wrong. the resturant has a vision and only care about the customers that appreciate the concept

  199. Wayne

    Ramit,

    Fascinating! There philosophy is very similar to IWT. Sure, they can add the dressing on before – but will it taste the same?

    True salad lovers understand it’s the VERY first “crunchy” bite that makes people say “THIS IS GOOD!”

  200. Martin

    I think they should do as asked by the customer- within reason.
    Re. The salad, it is an easy do. If they are scared of soggy salad, they can make that delivery, first on the list. They can also warn the customer of a soggy potential.

  201. Carla Pierantozzi

    I agree. Great example of the vision and quality of a product, company and niche.

  202. Tracy

    There are 10893042839 ways that people can specify how to put dressing on their salads.

    Also, delivery containers are not the most leak-proof.

    The restaurant can go crazy trying to accommodate all of the potential salad dressing misfortunes, or can just make you do it yourself (and get a rep for freshness & quality while they’re at it by telling you it’s for your own good).

  203. Devin

    I see the validity of both sides. i.e. “we aren’t going to let you ruin a good thing” vs “but the customer is always right.”

    The reality is this, “Companies should be willing to change when necessary to help the customers.”
    If I end up overcharging a customer by some computer glitch, they will get a 100% refund and the product. I offer a 30 day 100% money back guarantee if my services don’t help the customer. I’d say no questions asked, but I ask a lot of questions, all geared towards better serving my customers.

    So I do see the validity behind the, “give the customer what she wants” mentality.

    On the other hand, I’m not going to open up every module of my course (still in beta) at once to any client regardless of what they are willing to pay. Giving a data dump completely destroys the benefits of an eCourse. It needs to be organized and have a plan for customers to follow.

    I will do anything I can to help my clients, but a request like that would only hurt them. Similarly, requesting the dressing pre-mixed will degrade the salad, and ruin the experience. There is never an except-able action no matter how much the customer THINKS they want it.

    In conclusion, the customer is always right, unless they ask you to degrade your products, in which case they are doing both you and themselves a disservice.
    You can put the dressing on the salad yourself.

  204. Aaron Peeters

    I think it depends on how far away you live. If you live close enough that adding the salad dressing won’t make it soggy, then you can satisfy both your needs and maintain the standards of the company. Having high standards of product I would have thought is a good thing!

  205. Banu Saredy

    Hi Ramit,

    I would like to thank you for the well thought out emails I have rec’d from you. They are very informational and useful.

    As far as salad dressing – I would offer to add the salad dressing in – advise them that the salad maybe little soggy, since the arrival time maybe 15-30 mins. and leave the final response to the customer. it will cut the customer frustration and idea that we (salad shop) are not listening to him/her.

  206. June

    This really strikes a chord with me. I’m an Earn1k student currently working as a retail pharmacist in a big box corporate setting. Two things about GOOD customer service: if you want it, be a GOOD customer. If you are company wishing to provide it, understand that you cannot appeal to everyone while simultaneously providing excellence. Most customers and companies don’t get it. When you attract a quality clientele, you also tend to attract quality employees, and you produce a virtuous cycle of good interactions and performance.
    On a side note, I am always amused by people who roll their eyes, berate and complain over the 15-20 minute wait time to get a flu shot. Do you not realize that the person you are being rude to gets to stick you with a needle?

  207. Eileen Nemeroff

    I agree to not having the salad dressing on the salad.
    I prefer to add myself especially since it is something I can control pouring on salad.

  208. Henrik

    I can understand that it frustrates you, but the salad place obviously takes pride and care about their salads arriving looking fresh.
    From their point of view it looks like they are selling you what you want (a salad), and giving you what you really need (a fresh salad that’s not soggy)
    I think if you receive a soggy salad once,you’ll be disappointed and you’ll not order another one…

  209. Beverley Stanton

    I think it is fair enough for them to not add the dressing – who likes soggy salads? that way you also get to check out the salad dressing before putting it on as well

  210. Annie Hawkins

    I like what they are doing. I don’t like my salads soggy either, and I’d rather put on the amount of dressing I prefer, especially since I have found that most places that prepare salad put way too much dressing on for my taste.
    So, I like what this salad place does because it gives me the option of having my salads the way I like them.
    Btw, I don’t think “the customer is always right.”

  211. Wynema

    I understand having high standards for your company’s products and vision, but as a customer if I know what I want, I would hope that the company would trust that I already know how amazing their product is.

  212. Tiffany Munn

    I agree with the salad place! Salad does get soggy easily, and it’s really gross when that happens. I like that they stick to their plan, knowing that they’re providing the best salad they can.

  213. Nik

    Dressing on the side. The best process gives the best results. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Henry Ford

  214. angus j houston

    I agree with the delivery company (as an engineer you predicted that!). What is interesting to me is why this is a problem to you. Is it messy or difficult or is there some other reason you object to carrying out a 5 second task ? Maybe there is a problem with the type of container they provide the dressing in, my store in the UK provides it in a mini plastic cup with a heat sealed selophone lid, works great.

  215. Martin

    My thoughts on the salad thing are this… They should make a feature out of it… It should be central to their marketing! Set expectations before the customer knows they have got them.

  216. Shelly

    As a business you have to help your customers buy into your philosophy by emphasizing certain things. For instance included in the advertising could be “our salads arrive fresh never soggy” Or something similar to make the customer think that is what they’re buying your USP ( unique selling position ) why should they buy from you as opposed to somebody else …The reason your salads are so good is that they never arrive with dressing on soggy, there are four customers would tend to order based on this USP always support the customer

  217. Nate

    Haaaaawla;) Nice topic, and nice clarity on the invite to post a comment rather than simply reply to the email. Caveat – I don’t work in food, and anyone who’s read Kitchen Confidential knows that’s its own whole ball-of-wax.

    In real life, there are a couple of possibilities…

    First, you might have been running afoul of what a *big, vocal* percentage of that restaurant’s customers *do* want. This sometimes happens to me at the Apple store. They’re super well niched, and if I want something they don’t provide, they’ll tell me. It’s not that they don’t understand their customers, but rather that I’ve found myself *outside* the core value prop. (I’ve seen this a lot in Japan, too, where specialization rules-the-day.)

    Of course it’s also possible the restaurant simply has no clue what their customers want. In that case it’s still not like they have to choose between soggy salads or pissed-off customers. They could educate their customers about why the dressing on-the-side solves their problem better. Or they could talk to them and find a hybrid solution that solves both problems.

  218. Jeph

    They want to deliver a great product and people buy from them because they’ve come to expect a great product. If some customers feel differently, they are welcome to get their salad elsewhere. They’re not a place for everyone, they know their audience and it’s not all people who eat food. It’s people who like salad. Not just salad, but quality, non soggy salad. Change who they are, and they ruin their product for others.

  219. Jeff

    I want to know if they tested satisfaction and review scores based on soggy salad and side dressing salads. Which have the higher score?

    Maybe they should standard default to side dressing and only sog it if requested. With a disclaimer.

    Lou malnatis does this with cut zpizza’s

  220. Kevin Koo

    I believe putting the dressing on the side is a good call. Logistically, the place can’t control how much time passes before the customer gets to consume the product, so that’s their way of getting out the best product possible. They’re the expert in the product, so they probably know a thing or two about getting you a product that they think you want or are purchasing.

  221. James

    There are so many ways to interpret the motivation behind their answer.

    1. Is it quality control? They seriously care about their product.

    2. Is it more sensible? Perhaps a lot of people have complained about a soggy delivery in the past. Having the dressing on the side leaves it up to you. After all, you may want only a portion of the dressing.

    3. Is it efficiency? Time is money. Doesn’t it make more sense, especially when it is busy, to have your dressing prepped in a container that you can quickly place in a delivery box? Think of the alternative. They would have to pick up a bottle of dressing and pour it on the salad. I’m willing to bet that this takes longer and the consistency of taste will change with every take out order due to the fact that no-one can pour the exact same amount. Wouldn’t you complain if someone put more dressing than you wanted? I would.

    4. You were an absolute “Tutti” on the phone (man, I hope you’re laughing right now).

    5. Etc, etc. etc.

  222. Aubrey Blair-Pattison

    As soon as you’d mentioned the engineers I knew why my thought was “Well duh they don’t put the dressing on.”

    Each thing has is dependent on the process to make it right – and while you might get the same thing at the end, is it actually the SAME THING?

    Oh wait…trust the process…..where have I heard that one before?

  223. Diana

    I am most interested that artists and engineers think alike on this. I am an artist who works for an engineering company. I agree with the restaurant. If everyone had a vision for the things they are passionate about, life would be so much better — but I do think they should have explained this to you. I’m also interested in knowing why you got mad that you had to mix up your salad. It seems like such a beautiful task. I love mixing the dressing in and kind of fluffing the salad lettuces as I go, don’t you?

  224. Eric M

    I think the customer is always right… Couldn’t the salad place maintain their “product integrity” by simply informing the customer “sure, we are happy to mix in the dressing, but it may lead to a soggy salad when it gets to you”?

  225. Heather

    Dressing on the side, showcasing the image and intergrity of your product/service is more important. Plus it’s so trivial it’s not like their day was ruined b/c of it. If they want something of cheaper value that doesn’t look or taste as great they probably wouldn’t be a repeat customer anyway. But this is coming from someone who loves healthy tasty food and willing to pay extra for it

  226. Gretchen

    Sometimes, instead of being always right, the customer is ignorant and needs training. I’m saying sometimes. I’m not saying anything about Ramit and his salad.

    As to how I would react to the salad dilemma, that’s easy because I have the same issue with my favorite delivery restaurant. I invested in a big salad bowl, and I dump the salad in there, pour the dressing over it, and toss it myself. In other words, I adapted. If I knew of a delivery restaurant that would relieve me of the chore of washing my salad bowl, I would switch to them. But there is no such thing in this town. I live in Foodlandia where the chefs are ridiculously proud.

  227. Sally

    I’m one of those artist/writer people- haha! But I also do know that yes, the dressing would make the salad go soggy, so I would have to agree with the business and keep it on the side. They would have far more complaints due to soggy icky salad!

  228. Malia

    Makes perfect sense.

    While I, myself, don’t mind soggy salad (I’ll eat it as long as it isn’t brown), I can understand the need for such a staunch stance on such a thing. It’s utterly and quintessentially futile to try to make everybody happy by groveling to the whims of personal preference, it’s far too much work for little reward. Taking this approach with this slightest inconveniences allows the salad shop to please the right people who will keep coming back because of their quality.

    *laughs* Strangely enough, though not surprisingly, I can see a bit of the same premise when it comes to storytelling…

  229. Kim Umanoff

    Well, what the customer wants is important too. After all, they are running a business and the customer is almost everything for a business, within reason. I do believe a business should do whatever they can to please the customers as long as it doesn’t create major problems for the business.

    What I would do is discuss my view of not wanting to have the salad arrive soggy and then ask the costumer if they really prefer the salad dressing on the salad and don’t mind if the salad (due to delays by staff) happens to come to them soggy (could happen occasionally), would they still understand and not mind it? If they say yes, it doesn’t matter. Just place the salad dressing on the salad, then I’d have my staff do that. If they say no, I don’t want a soggy salad, then I’d encourage them then to accept the salad dressing to arrive separately along with the salad and let them put the dressing on the salad when it arrives.

    I understand possibly another reason why the business is doing this. They most likely are also trying to simplify things for their staff so they don’t loose speed in the chain of distribution flow as well as avoiding getting returns due to someone complaining about soggyness of the salad. That would also be a loss of revenue for the business.

  230. Chris Seferyn

    I agree with the restaurant. The unfortunate thing about human nature is that we HAVE to assess meaning to everything. it is in our DNA. If the salad arrives soggy, even though you wanted it that way, the restaurant gets blamed. It can’t be the customers fault.

    It is the companies job to see the potential fuckups ahead of time and solve them before the customer gets tripped up. This will always involve some customers complaining. usually the ones that are savvy enough to know. But you have you have policies or you don’t have consistency of delivery.

  231. Roy Reichle

    I’m with the Salad place and this is why. I don’t go into a restaurant’s kitchen and inform the chef of my needs and desires: not too much salt, sear the meat just so, etc. I trust the chef since he or she is the expert, plus I am probably in this restaurant because I already like the food. So the same would apply in the salad place example. Obviously, I like the salads; I’ve ordered more than one. I am not an expert on the effects of greens being immersed in vinegary dressing for an inordinate period, and they are. I have to make sure I trust them more than I want my way. I would certainly examine my needs in this situation. It does seem really petty to fuss over having my salad with dressing on it or not, especially when it’s so easy to mix in dressing myself.

  232. Steve

    I’d go one further and say most companies shouldn’t deliver their product unless they have really spent time and resources so their food “travels well”. Uber eats offers a service that has already turned me off to their business because their food didn’t travel well although it may well be excellent in the restaurant.

    If the owner isn’t taking this precautions with their “product” then they are doing themselves a disservice in the long run.

  233. Sarah

    I agree with he salad place. Your greens will get wilted and soggy if they mix it first.

  234. Beverly

    I’m one of those artist people who agrees with the salad shop. While I might take suggestions about something like removing nuts due to allergies, but I won’t do anything to compromise the quality of my salad. If you want soggy salad, go elsewhere.

  235. Laura

    I think the salad company is doing the right thing by refusing to put the dressing on the salad. They know the customers that they want to have – people who want a crisp, fresh salad and appreciate quality. On the other hand, they need to improve their marketing so that people like Ramit understand why they won’t put the dressing on before delivery. They could easily make it a selling feature.

  236. Reshanda Yates

    This reminds me of what I through from time to time with my window cleaning company. Sometimes, customers don’t understand the equipment I’m using and perceive it as being damaging. Even after patiently addressing concerns and explaining the benefits of my system, some people dig their heals in and insist on “old fashioned” methods. These are people that I recommend other window cleaners to. Unfortunately, they won’t get the shiniest glass, but when people see my company’s windows, they will associate our name with good work. Businesses that really value beautiful windows are ready and willing to pay my fees and trust me to do a great job.

  237. maude

    I gotta say…my courses are highly personnalized, and even so, some people always want something more. What is interesting is that giving more has in most cases, backfired on me at some point – mainly regarding customer fidelity. The customers who have remained and made honest request in fact needed that flexibility. The others needed to ask and “get more” out of my services. They have to be top payers for me to accept their requests, but EVEN SO, the rules must be very clear.

    I’d start a conversation with the customer and ask why they like the dressing on. I’d listen and propose my point of view, as in a casual conversation. Ideally, the customer would be sold, andthink that it is their own idea to separate the salad and dressing. If not, I’d say, well, what would you do if the salad came in soggy – from my professional perspective, this can’t be done, you’d agree…Somewhere, I would propose salads that actually become tastier with dressing – like potato and lentil. Once offers are exhausted, I would not put the dressing on unless this were a class-A+++ customer and ends up telling me they love soggy salad.

  238. Mike

    Here’s what I’d do. 1) warn the customer against it for ‘soggy’ reasons 2) do it if anyway they insist. If you want to deliver service to remember send an SMS an hour later to ask if it was too soggy or if it worked well! Ulitmately if a customer can’t get what they want from your business, they’ll go to someone who can deliver it. Don’t fall in love with your product, follow what your market wants. (If they’d asked for something outside your niche forget it, but this is just a tweak)

  239. Shirley

    I think they should recommend it on the side and explain why, and give the customer the choice to have it tossed in anyway if they choose to. Then they are explaining their side and their recommendation, but ultimately leaving it up to them. If the salad is in fact soggy, maybe the customer will try it the other way next time and decide what they like the best.

  240. Olly Harrison

    I agree with their approach, though it sounds like their messaging could be improved.

    They are committed to their product and the manner in which it’s delivered.

    Nobody tells Apple how to design laptops, or Rolex how to make watches. Some people don’t like Apple or Rolex, but there are enough people that do and enough of those people are willing to pay a premium precisely because the companies don’t (or aren’t perceived to) compromise.

    It sounds like the company you buy your takeaway from are applying the same philosophy to their salad.

    However, it may be that they could do with better explaining why they serve their salad the way they do, ensuring their lack of compromise is seen as being the result of an unwavering commitment to great salad and not because their customer service sucks.

  241. Jan

    I agree with the salad bar but it’s about being flexible letting the customer know the potential risk of a soggy salad. Then please you customer by carrying out his request. They could consider too placing a 1/4 of the dressing on the salad and then the customer doing the rest. There’s always a compromise it’s about finding it and keeping your customers content.

  242. SCarter

    I agree with the business to be committed to their brand and service quality over convenience. The business is targeting quality over convenience, so the customers that share the same appreciation for their high standards of delivering an excellent product will continue to be loyal customers. This customer request will impact their commitment to their product quality and also guarantees that the customer will never receive a soggy salad when they receive their order.

  243. Daveed

    Uh, I think you made this up for the purpose of another feedback exercise. Lol…salad dressing mixed into salad before you get it?

  244. Stephanie

    I generally would agree with the salad place in this instance, as they have a brand to protect. They are in the best position to understand their product, and what it will and will not withstand, with respect to the time-quality dynamic. Their position justifiably places product quality above customer convenience; it recognizes that a well-executed salad is about freshness of flavors and the integrity of textures, which would be lost should the customer get his/her way with respect to dressing a salad for delivery. It is about knowing how to deliver a quality product consistently every time, so as to not dilute the public trust. Further, there is the consideration of being able to prepare food for delivery quicker than usual (pre-portioning dressing in containers) so the at-home customers aren’t waiting too long for their food. That said, a good salad place should endeavor to let a customer’s preferences and peculiarities guide their hand for an order filled to stay. Generally speaking, the customer is always right.

  245. Megan

    It is frustrating as a customer, but as a brand and a business owner, you take pride in what you do and how you are presented. If a customer can’t or won’t appreciate that, you shouldn’t compromise as the business owner. Some people just aren’t meant to be your customers.

  246. Mark

    Depends on whether they want to be known as a DIY salad place or a salad restaurant. Lots of comments here assuming salad will in fact be “soggy” and that is bad. But a good pre-dressed salad is a beautiful thing (also at the right temperature and not like it just came out of the refrigerator) as anyone who sells salad for a living should know.
    Some salad joints may as well hand over a bag of pre-mixed greens and a bottle of Newmans Own, like Wendy’s does.
    But I live to eat, not eat to live.

  247. Brenda

    It’s not about the salad or the dressing. It’s about the customer experience. The shop has determined the best way to maximize the customer experience (on side dressing) and will protect that result despite customer requests. Anyone who has experience working with clients knows that sometimes you, as the professional, have to do things “the right way” even if your client is asking/telling you to do something else, in order to provide them with a result they really want.

  248. Isis

    Keeping the items separate ensures a more uniform experience.

    It is better to have customers slightly put out over having to do a little work to get the mixture to their liking rather than have a poor experience as a result of what was not considered at the time of order.

    By not deviating from the process, you are guaranteeing that the consistency will bring your customers back for more. They can rely on getting what they want each time.

  249. Darin

    I would believe that you ordered from this place to make sure you received “their” salad, not just a salad. You can get a soggy salad anywhere, it is important for a business owner to maintain the integrity of their product/difference in their product. Even though you were pissed they didn’t mix the dressing in, you still came back. The salad must be pretty good.

  250. Ron

    Explain the reasoning and if client insists on delivery of pre-mixed salad to his/her wishes make client happy and mix it up before delivery.

  251. Bonnie

    The salad shop is right on.

    My husband was the chef and owner of a fine dining restaurant and he would carefully craft his menu options based on flavor and seasonality, and a ton of thought went behind the design of each dish.

    If there were sweet potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes on a dish, there was a very good reason. Subbing regular mashed potatoes changed the integrity of the whole plate and made the other ingredients less enjoyable.

    If someone wanted to order elk medallions well done (because maybe they prefer a steak well done), my husband instead would suggest medium rare so that the dining experience wouldn’t be tarnished by charred, rock-hard elk medallions.

    The first thing that came to mind when reading your email was that you’d have soggy lettuce. Here’s my vote to the salad shop!

  252. Kim Snyder

    It is the backend story that is totally missing.
    I agree with the salad place. The reason is I personally hate getting salad dressing on my salads. I always order it on the side. If I forget, it seems the waitress seems to think I need more dressing than salad.
    If you are proud of your work, then you give more than one reason why you do not deliver a salad with salad dressing mixed in. What else is in the salad? Does it come with tomatoes picked fresh that day? Does it have cheese that would be ruined if your dressing is on that salad? There will always more than one way to look at things, you just have to willing to showcase the whys.
    Do you know for a fact that they are delivering just to you or are you on a list the driver has to deliver at that time? That is one reason why I wouldn’t mix salad dressing in the salad.
    I am a creator of vegan makeup, that makes me artist as well. 😉
    Plus I used to work in a place that gave out samples to try to get the customer to buy it. I found that giving reasons why you need it, by giving you reasons that will work with their family, helping make a meal faster, get your children to eat it to help get them the right vitamins etc. I am very good at telling a short story of the why’s and by doing so make more sales than others I worked with. 🙂
    Missing is the story of why’s.

  253. Robert

    I AGREE WITH THE COMPANY. wHY MUST THEY SPOIL THE SALAD.

  254. Rashmi

    I am not sure if this answer really fits but being a customer it depends on how good is the restaurant in convincing me to believe what they serve is the best and even a small change could ruin it. They could let me know when I place my order, if how tossing could ruin the taste and may be I would agree after all we need best things.
    If I am still not convinced may be restaurant could serve me a small pack of tossed salad only to help me to make out the difference(impossible idea but depends on how serious you are in making your customers happy and show why it was a best for them)and if they really whant their customer to be loyal and happily come back,if not atleast they would respect the effort made by the restaurant and it would be helpful in damage control to the reputation of restaurant(pissed off people generally tend to post in blogs or even a word of mouth)

  255. Kyra

    Agree with the salad place. They are ultimately responsible for delivering something great and have to use their best judgement to provide it. If Ramit asked for the salad dressing mixed in and then called to complain that the salad was soggy it would still be the store’s fault.

    This is why I don’t listen to my bosses 100%. If they tell me to change something, I make the change and then it doesn’t work it’s still my fault. They won’t even remember it was their terrible idea. I own this piece and if it fails, I fail.

  256. LUCIENNE

    I’m the type to figure out the “Why” or ask what the why is then decide if I agree and proceed with the knowledge. I’ve learned there is always a reason or purpose to a process or task. Usually, there are one or two factors involved I had not thought or knew would effect the system. Luckily, for me I’m curious enough to ask before getting bent out of shape.

  257. Srinivas Attaluri

    Hi,

    I am okay with the restaurant. But it would be really great of they have told “We don’t want our salad to arrive soggy.” as soon as i requested in 1st instance.

  258. Bill Ferguson

    The salad place knows what it wants its product to look and taste like. That is their primary asset they refuse (rightly so) to compromise. You order from them because of how their salad tastes when served the correct way.

    If the act of applying the dressing to actually THAT annoying, they will be fine to watch you take your business elsewhere. They protect their product and it would be so much easier than listening to how annoyed you’d be when your salad arrives soggy.

  259. Deena

    Hi, Ramit. I think the restaurant is doing the right thing, but it would be even better if they enclose a note with their salads explaining how their salad is artisanal, etc., and too delicate to soak in dressing, or something like that. They raise the salad’s perceived value and you don’t get a soggy salad.
    Deena

  260. Cheryl Mitchell

    You keep ordering. You could find someplace else that mixes in the salad dressing, BUT YOU DIDN’T.

    Why?

    You’re happy with their product and most of their service. When they explained their reason, you had an a-ha moment. So. You just told everybody you know about your positive experience. What percentage of your audience is now madly trying to figure out where you ordered from, so they can get some o’ that?

    You’re a customer for life.

    Better than delivering your salad with dressing mixed in, and you calling to complain it was “lame”.

  261. Linda Kelly

    I believe that if a company/person has a vision, they should stick to it fully. So, therefore, I agree with your salad shop people.

    If you were to bend for every customer, your business wouldn’t be taken seriously ultimately.

    Here’s my website (built myself) and since I was 12, always stayed true to my vision as a writer/journalist:

    Ramit, I truly value and am grateful for your insights/wisdom.

    Have a lovely Monday!

  262. Andrea

    Wow!!
    This is very interesting.
    Rami I have to admit that I didn’t make it through ALL the comments, but how interesting the comments are!! From great suggestions to a great new packaging, to the Henry Ford quote basically stating that if everybody understood what you were doing you probably aren’t innovating… but you could a lot worst that to study the comments to review the restaurants MO and business plan.
    My .2 cents I would add is that I would probably take your comment as a client as an opprtunity to turn a possible negative factor of the restaurant into a positive and desirable one. Perhaps on the bill that is handed to you with your delivery and on a poster at the location it self I would add a line that says “CO XYZ apologises for any delay in the delivery of your salad however every salad is made fresh with only the freshest ingredients at the time that you make your order, in order for us to be able to give you the best quality salad that we can put on your table. For the same reason, we take the liberty of sending you the dressing separate to maintain your meal’s freshness, crispness and full flavor. Thank you for sharing our desire for excellence”…
    Would that make you feel a little bit as in jerk when you were complaining about them NOT adding the dressing as they made it, and help you respect their ideology?

  263. Sandrina

    I agree with the Salad shop. They have a vision for their product and they want the customers to experience it the same way every time.

    Also, considering the logistic (time, distance, number orders before my delivery, outside temperature, car temperature etc.) of delivery the salad could easily become droopy, too runny, warm, and depending on the dressing of choice it could go bad.

    I’d rather be the customer complaining about the lack of the dressing mix-in option than the customer who completely stops delivery orders from my favorite salad shop because of the overall poor quality of the product that ultimately killed my salad eating experience.

  264. Becky Nemetchek

    I agree with the salad place…to a degree. As an architectural designer, I would never ‘dress the salad’ and deliver a soggy mess to my client. HOWEVER, I would also never keep my client in the dark as to my reasoning.
    Good products (like design) never flourish if standards are compromised nor if the consumer doesn’t get what makes the product good.

  265. Brady Mills

    You have to give the customers what they want. Standardization is great but you cannot let it get in the way of customer satisfaction. We have to deal with that constantly in IT strategies and implementations.

  266. Virginia

    I agree with the restaurant, as the salad might arrive to someone who wouldn’t like the dressing mixed in their salad. But it would be really cool, after you have asked for it to be mixed to do that the next time 😉

  267. Donna

    If I told the restaurant that I wanted it mixed in and wouldn’t hold them responsible, then I would hope that they would accommodate. I sometimes get pushback from restaurants when I ask for beef/steak well done. When I tell them that I won’t hold them responsible – most often they comply. I actually agree with the restaurant with leaving the dressing off as they don’t know how long it will take to deliver and therefore there is a risk of sogginess.

  268. Liz Froment

    It is a crime to deliver a soggy salad. No matter where I get salad from I always ask for dressing on the side so I can dress it myself.

  269. Alan Shrum

    It’s a bit of a catch 22. The shop wants to ensure they deliver the highest quality product they can, so they can keep their reputation of having delicious food. While at the same time, the shop should also do their best to deliver the product the customer wants.
    The question to pose is this: Would you still enjoy the salad as much if the dressing had been applied at the shop and started to turn the salad mushy?

    Would you have even noticed less crunch with the dressing pre-applied? Would the convenience of having the dressing applied for you make enough of a difference so that you wouldn’t mind greens that are a little less crisp?
    Maybe what the customer wants really is a crisp salad, they just don’t realize what it takes to preserve that tantalizing texture indicative of a delicious salad. It’s likely then that having the added convenience of pre-applied dressing would, in fact, ruin the experience.

    The shop wants to preserve their reputation of having better-tasting food over making things more convenient and lowering the quality of their product.

  270. Linda

    I agree with the salad place!

    Maybe they already tested the dressing on the salad and too many customers complained that the salad was soggy or bitched about too much or too little dressing and wanted their money back.

    So the customers get to do what they want with the salad after it is delivered.

  271. Aaron

    I agree with the salad company’s pursuit of quality and presentation in their food by not dressing the salad beforehand. However, I think most customers would prefer being notified and educated at the time they requested the dressing to be mixed in. I’d imagine that I’d feel really cared for by the company and that I’d be eager to recommend them to my community.

  272. Nicole

    Need vs want – the customer knows what they want, the salad bar knows what (…kind of salad) they need, i.e. not soggy. Maintaining standards and quality by sometimes ignoring clients’ requests is part of the risk a brand takes to preserve their integrity and voice. Customer = child, salad bar = teacher: we don’t ask the kids to tell us how they want us to teach our lessons, do we…? Leave the professional stuff to the professionals, it’s their job and they get the money, the recognition and the loyal customers by doing things the right way.

  273. Adam

    I have to agree with the salad company on this one, though I think they should have some kind of statement like, “We deliver our salads with the dressing on the side to ensure that each salad arrive as freshly as it was made. Nobody likes a soggy salad!” Being up-front with your customers sets expectations and helps them see things from your perspective. Sometimes you do things for their own good, like not letting them buy products when they are loaded with credit card debt.

  274. Tim

    I must agree with the restaurant. They as well know the salad would be soggy and therefore leaving a prize customer sadly disappointed, also they would stand to lose the business of not only him but others who are in his friendship circle.
    The customer in any business does not always know best. They do not have the knowledge and skill set to make well informed decisions.

  275. Kanada

    I agree with the restaurant. I think it’s smart business. In this instance, if they gave you what you wanted, it will alter the product and make you not “love” their salads as much. Ultimately, their decision to not comply with your request has not made them lose you as a customer, but delivering soggy salads to you time after time could very well be the end of your relationship.

    As for the deeper meaning behind this story…
    We should never let anyone interrupt our vision and the product that we are trying to present. If what we have in place is best for business and the customer, then we must stick to it. There’s going to always be someone who thinks that they can make your business better or your customers happier. However, the clever thing to do is listen and evaluate the idea. If it is going to negatively alter your vision, then toss it!

  276. ES

    Obviously, the restaurant thinks they’ll have more business by delivering a better product than by listening to customers. It’s your opinion against theirs. It’s a business decision.

  277. Derrick

    The salad company is in the right, not because they (theoretically) placed their vision over the customer want, but rather for anticipating the expectations of the customer and meeting or ex ending that expectation.

    Clearly they didn’t lose the customer (YOU) even after apparantly repeatedly ignoring your request.

  278. Nan Perez

    Engineer agreeing with the salad joint.

    Let the professionals do their job! I have no issue handing over my problems to competent people who can get the job done better than me. No sense in overthinking… apply your own damn dressing and assume the (rather negligible) work as a tax.

    Tip: Put the dressing on top, re-close the to-go container, and then shake the heck out of it. Usually works for decent dressing distribution in a pinch! (Sorry if this is a repeat, I didn’t read through all the comments)

  279. E

    The creation and presentation of the salad belongs to the salad shop. Dressing WILL make a salad go limp and they have every right to present you with the freshest quality product that reflects on their standards – AND show you they care about you getting the best version of what you ordered. They are also training you how to appreciate their salad (for free).

  280. J C. Raymond

    Dear Ramit,
    Life is too short, and your time too valuable, to let something so small irritate you. If something else small comes up, forgive the transgressor, and you do not have to carry the resentment, and use your precious time thinking about it. Then you can use the irritated mental space for something that will help you.
    Do not concentrate on who is ‘right’ Concentrate on making YOUR life easier.
    “Forgive not seven times, but seven times seventy times.” The forgiveness is TO BENEFIT YOU, not the one, who offended you.

  281. Vantum Noir

    Well if you want to get technical, only the oil based salads would run the risk of getting soggy if mixed in and delivered late. The thicker, creamier dressings would not. There are also restaurants that GIVE CUSTOMERS THE OPTION of if they want the dressing in or on the side.

    It is understandable they have a vision of how their salad should be delivered. But it is also understandable when another salad shop pulls up and mixes the dressing in at the convenience of the customer. And that is the phrase of the day, ” the convenience of the customer.”

    By making it an inconvenience to customers who want the dressing mixed in, they come off as arrogant and stubborn. Leaving the dressing on the side doesnt mean the optimal salad experience for the customer. Chop’t for instance would mix the dressing in with the salad and the whole salad is coated evenly in the dressing. They use a metal bowl and shake it to get that. You are less likely to get that experience mixing the dressing in yourself.

    So I think this salad company is doing a disservice to those who want the dressing mixed in by refusing to make it an option and also being very cocky because they are forgetting the fact that you don’t have to give them money for that salad. You can take that $10-15, go to another restaurant who does mix dressing in, or better yet (and the most cost effective option IMO) MAKE IT YOURSELF.

  282. Carlo

    I tend to agree with the salad place, but salads can be very complex and usually damp in their own, there are valid reasons for either argument, but it really depends on the type of salad. For a Caesar salad, it would be ok for the dressing to be mixed in, but not the croutons. For a green salad, it would be ok to mix in the dressing. For a salad with protein in it, the probably not a good idea to mix the dressing. – But at in the end If it was my business and had a known regular customer, I’d just make sure he/she understood that it might arrive a bit soggy, and recommend not to mix-it in, and if he/she still wants it mixed, then I’d send it. Strive for the best customer service, and a personalized service at that.

  283. Melissa

    I totally agree with the salad joint. Salads do tend to get soggy if you add the dressing way before eating it.
    Customers would probably then complain about their salad being soggy and so I think it only makes sense for them to stick to their guns. But it would be a nice thing for them to let their customers know why they don’t do this, instead of just not listening to their customer and only answering them once they finally ask “WHY they never listen to their request”.

  284. Gautam

    Denying your request is an indication that they know what they are doing and are not ready to compromise on quality. Having said that I think they are not communication it in a right way. They can invert the whole discussion around you. Isn’t it by doing this they are thinking abut your best interest, getting you crisp salad rather than soggy one.
    Instead of:
    “We don’t want our salad to arrive soggy.”

    “We want to deliver you fresh and crisp salad. We have delivered more than XXX number of salads and through our experience we have….”

    Also I would prefer outright NO the first time I order my salad with dressing mixed in.

  285. Phillip

    You are right – it is about about psychology, marketing, and trust. I would not want a soggy salad either. It would look horrid (psychology) when it arrived from the delivery van, remove their point of difference (marketing) and sadden the client (trust).

  286. Karen Ryan

    I am with the salad place. Nothing worse than soggy salad.

  287. Nick

    Everybody is right, but in the end the salad shop is unrelenting in their insistence that the salad be left undressed until it is sitting in front of you the moment before you eat it.

    Businesses and customers both have a certain level of trust in one another. Take Coca-Cola as an example. When you open a Coke, you have the same expectation every time. Whether you like it or not, you know what it tastes like without having to try it again. A customer can completely trust that their Coke will be the same every time, and the business can trust that the customer will be buy their product again and again. With minor variance, of course.

    As Ramit explains, the salad shop is also asking for the customers’ trust that they are correct in believing that that the salad should never arrive soggy. Despite Ramit’s frustration, they still refuse. They could potentially lose him as a customer, but they are trusting that the overall value of eating a perfect (in their eyes) salad every time will keep Ramit coming back. So far, this strategy seems to have worked. Even though Ramit wants his salad to arrive dressed, he knows and trusts the product enough to live with this inconvenience.

    The business is correct because Ramit still order his salad and Ramit is right because he still enjoys the salad.
    .

  288. Felix

    I do agree with the salad company

    I think for the fact that they do this at the extent of losing a customer that actually stand for something that most customers might never know at the initial stage.
    I also believe the company have the experience of having to know how salad look or taste when missed with cream before been delivered

  289. SA

    Exactly. The old sayin “customer is always right” is not always “right” 🙂

  290. Ralph Simon

    Dear Ramit,

    Thank you for ordering another salad at our place. To make sure you’ll enjoy it till the very last bite, this time, we’ve mixed in the dressing for you. If by any chance you can’t get enough of our delicious dressing we’ve packaged a little extra of the good stuff on the side.

    By the way, your feedback is always appreciated – especially if it makes not only you but also our other customers happy! So you keep on sending your honest and constructive feedback, we’ll make sure you’ll receive the salad of your liking any time you order.

    Enjoy your salad en we hope to hear from you again soon.

    All the best,

    Ralphy,
    Member of The Salad Bar Team

    P.S. Not only do we like feedback on our products, but also on the way we communicate about them. If there’s anything we can improve, don’t hesitate to let us know.

  291. Paula

    I think this is their product to do with as they wish. As a customer, you don’t have to buy if you are unhappy with the product or service. They have to live with long term fallout, so it is their call.

  292. julia

    I don’t think there’s a right answer or wrong answer to this question, however I tend to agree with the salad shop – but with a few caveats.

    I’m including caveats bcs I’ve 1) ordered salad with the dressing mixed in that didn’t get soggy,
    2) some salads taste better when the dressing’s been ‘marinating’ the ingredients for a while and
    3) If I get dressing on the side, I’m 100% going to be too lazy to ‘mix it’ myself. Then the dressing just gets poured over the top, and the top layer is too ‘dressing-y,’ while the bottom layer gets no dressing. And then I don’t have an optimal salad experience anyway.
    4) If it’s a $20 salad, I won’t mind being told “NO dressing mixed in,” but if it’s just a $5 salad, I’m gonna think “oh come on, I really don’t give a S.” For an ‘expensive’ salad, I would expect a better execution, while for a cheap salad, I’m just trying to ‘eat more veggies and assuage my guilt of OD-ing on french fries.”

    So—- I suppose it depends on the overall brand of the salad chain (Is it more MickeyDs or more Whole Foods?), the price point, and their willingness to attract possibly fewer die-hard fans vs trying to please the most number of customers as possible.

    As the customer, I would at least like to be given the REASON why it won’t come mixed in in a non-judgey, polite way. I don’t mind getting the dressing on the side, but please don’t be condescending about it. And if possible some extra dressing than what would be needed in the store, because I’m not going to toss it, I’m going to pour it. Plus – Please deliver the salad in one of those Bowl-shaped containers so I could at least TRY to toss it myself. Don’t package it in a box because that would make it HARD to toss myself, and I’m sure as heck not transferring it into my bowl. I ordered take out to make my life easier not harder!

  293. Lexi

    I’m on Team Salad Place. I don’t think a lot of customers would be able to distinguish between “this salad is soggy from sitting in dressing for too long” and “this salad isn’t very good”, so I wouldn’t be surprised if, were they to mix the dressing in, they would see a meaningful decline in business, bad online reviews, and complaints about the food. That being said, it might be better business to be more proactive in explaining why they don’t mix the dressing in, like a little asterisk statement at the bottom of a takeout menu.

    Then again I’m someone who tends to order dressing on the side in the first place.

  294. vsp

    Dressed salads get soggy over time and I would suggest letting the customer know at time of purchase the potential downside of their suggestion.

    Recently at a restaurant and asked for the steak to be prepared med. I was told the chef only prepares this dish med/rare and wasn’t willing to make an accomodtion. I advised that I wasn’t willing to pay and went somewhere else equally as lovely with an accomodating chef.

    While the restaurant owns the creation and presentation of their dishes, if customers are protesting or not buying, then I posit the restaurant will re-vector.

  295. Kristian Romero

    It didn’t make sense to get frustrated at the salad place. Their business is their own and you wouldn’t buy from them if you didn’t agree with their methods at least to some extent. This means that you’re really just unhappy because you’re not getting your way, even when you know you’re wrong. Ultimately, as consumers, we all know they’re right but we still want to complain anyway.

  296. Dave

    Sure, I’d deliver you a salad with the dressing mixed in. It’s an extra cost though. Why? Because I’m going to make sure you get a non-soggy salad with the dressing mixed in. How? Two ways–either the delivery person mixes it in RIGHT before he hands it to you (yes, wearing gloves in a somewhat clean sterile way) OR design packaging that allows you a push of a button to release the dressing, give it a couple shakes and your salad is ready when you want it. Think outside the box!

  297. Iz

    i agree with the salad place – it’s a vision.

  298. Yuribel Grajales

    I think it is a matter of telling you oh! we do arrange salads this way and that to keep it crispy and nice for you and we also do it separately in your best interest so you can add as much dressing as you would like or none at all if that is how you might prefer.

  299. Blaine

    I’m solidly on the side of the salad place – and not just because I’m an engineer who used to work in restaurants.

    They’re protecting customers from their own bad choices, and ensuring that the restaurant brand is properly received. Sure, you might be irritated that you have to dress your own salad – but you keep on buying it.

  300. diane

    I am not a chef–that’s why I order take out! I trust the expert to provide what I want/need in the best useable format. Plus, I don’t care. It’s just LUNCH.

  301. George Carlisle

    Freshness! Freshness! Freshness! Besides if the place puts too much or too little salad dressing the customer won’t be able to eat the salad.

  302. Curt

    I follow the 80/20. And in this case, 80% of the problems are caused by 20% of the customers.
    I have no problems with firing 20% of my customers to reduce problems and maintain quality.

    They know their market and are simply firing problem customers by letting them self-select out.

  303. Daniel

    In my opinion, customers ordering the salad for a reason, got it? I rather would appreciate the quality of the salad and I just have to trust a professional. The same goes to many other business fields.

  304. Bart

    I think if you are not handicapped, put your own dressing on your salad. I don’t want a soggy salad delivered to my house.

  305. Luke

    Impossible for me to answer this as I would never order salad from a delivery place, I would make my own. However, as a Zero To Launch student where we are trying to give the customer what they want, I would probably go with what the customer wants (even if that wasn’t what I wanted for my product, initially).

  306. Kwin Peterson

    They’re missing an opportunity to educate the customer, which is also an opportunity to create a customer discriminating enough to no longer put up with a slimy salad. Seth Godin has opined that Apple’s real genius was creating customers who had taste and wouldn’t, therefore put up with the poorly designed products of their competitors.

  307. Denise

    Hi-
    I’m on the side of the salad place. I don’t like soggy salad in the first place, and I like them wanting me to have a great food experience. How hard is it to put dressing on your salad? What if there is a delay in you getting your food or getting to eat your food?

  308. Rob Faux

    I think the supplier is 100% correct and in no way should compromise his product. If the supplier once compromises his product his reputation and product could be damaged beyond repair.

  309. Annie Conley

    I’m all for the salad place – the integrity of their product is at stake!

  310. R. Thrasher

    I agree with the salad resturant for the most part because:

    1. Most people don’t actually know what they want, or rather they misinterpret the effects of what they want. i,e. the dressing is left off because otherwise the salad would be soggy when you get it. Most people don’t want soggy salad, they just want the convience of not applying it themselves

    2. Most people won’t see your vision. If you project the wrong image, you’ll misrepresent your brand. i.e. you are eating lunch with friends and they all think, “Eww, thats a soggy salad. I don’t think I want to try that!”

    3. In regards to trust, if you are a good at what you are doing, the customer will trust your product and continue to come back. This doesn’t mean that you should outright ignore criticism, but you should have confidence in the quality of your product. If the quality is there, they’ll come back. i.e. You still buy the salads even though they don’t put the dressing on before they deliver because you think they taste good.

  311. vsp

    Dressed salads get soggy over time and I would suggest letting the customer know at time of purchase the potential downside of their suggestion.

    Recently at a restaurant and asked for the steak to be prepared med. I was told the chef only prepares this dish med/rare and wasn’t willing to make an accomodation. I advised that I wasn’t willing to pay and went somewhere else equally as lovely with an accomodating chef.

    While the restaurant owns the creation and presentation of their dishes, if customers are protesting or not buying, then I posit the restaurant will re-vector.

  312. Cleo

    I agree 100% with the salad place.
    They know their quality standards and they stick to them.
    They know what works.
    It’s their version of “Trust the system”.
    So I think that’s what you should do.

  313. Rachel Neasham

    I’m a customer service professional, and I completely agree with their thinking. Part of taking care of your customers is providing your knowledge (of the industry) to best advise them on their purchases… even though you requested salad dressing mixed in, your salad is most likely better not soggy. Therefore, if you requested it mixed in, I would be creative and supply my delivery team with a portable salad mixer at your doorstep. What do you think of that option?

  314. Samie

    I can see the salad place’s point as I hate soggy salads. On the other hand, if the customer really, really wants the salad, I do think they should deliver it to the customer, even if the customer might be disappointed by the end result.

  315. Cris Trautner

    Maybe I don’t want as much salad dressing on my salad as the restaurant would put on it—I always ask for dressing on the side and don’t mind the 20 to 30 seconds it might take to put on my own amount of dressing.

    In our business I prefer that the customer is given the choice to be in control of certain aspects of our service to them, when it makes sense for them and is reasonable. To me, having the customer control the salad dressing makes sense and is reasonable. Added bonus: the lettuce stays crisp and looks nice when it is delivered.

  316. Jenna

    I agree for the most part with the salad shop; however they are assuming that they know what you want more than you do. Otherwise they would have offered it both ways explaining their vision but accepting yours.

  317. Chris

    Pre-eminence! They know that if hey add the salad dressing, you’ll take a bite and think “well now this salad tastes shitty. I’m not ordering from them again.” Better to communicate though, “this is why we won’t mix in your dressing with your delicious salad.” Then, they’d communicate their values to their clients.

  318. Gregory

    I disgaree with the restaurant. Do you/they want customers to be happy or do you to be happy without customers? You may not be able to have both.

  319. Patrick Barbary

    I think the customer should get what he wants (soggy or not). On the other hand the Salad bar/restaurant is close by and hopefully it will take minutes for the delivery not 3 or 4 hours.

    If the restaurant owner is confident of his fresh salad and amount of dressing that he puts on the salad, then he should not be afraid to mix the salad and send it out.

    I am all for the customer, customer should get what he wants

  320. Lydia

    They should tell you the reasoning behind their logic, but I agree that they shouldn’t mix it in. You’re going to them for their expertise in what they do, you should trust how they do it. They just need better PR in communicating that to you.

  321. Jeff Ladd

    We live in a culture that is taught that the customer is always right. But I completely agree with the psychology of the salad place. If they are this concerned about the quality of a salad, what do you expect your experience with them to be. I can hear “that is the most amazing salad ever”. And if they duplicate that experience with every single customer then their reputation becomes “the best”. Now people will pay for the “best” but lettuce you can get anywhere. On the other hand, a soggy salad no one wants. I would rather be the “best ever” guy

  322. Wayne

    It’s their product.

  323. Michael V Thanh

    I would side with the salad place. To some extent, chefs and cooks see their creations as works of art. Naturally they want customers, but their end goal isn’t to simply please the guests – it’s to create art. If they are a privately owned business, it is their prerogative to choose what they sell and how they sell it, the same way it is your – the customer’s – right to not dine or purchase from an establishment.

    Pandering to everyone’s desires isn’t really the way to go. They have a formula, and they’re still open, so it looks like it’s been largely successful. People who are loyal fans will stay – that’s who they want to cater to.

  324. Dalen

    I love the idea of “the vision of their salad”. That’s such a good way to put it and it applies to a lot of quality things in life, and one’s good name. Thank you for this story!

  325. Jeff

    I suppose I would respond a bit like expected for the engineer I am in saying that as a general rule I would side with the restaurant in not mixing the dressing because the quality control becomes an issue, but my experience is on the engineering services side… the customer isn’t necessarily always right, but without a good reason to do otherwise, the customer has a reasonable right to specify what they want to get out of a transaction.
    I would probably first caution a customer that mixing the dressing is not recommended and not offer to do it, but if so specifically requested, mix a reduced quantity and send dressing on the side… The customer gets what they asked for, the risk of soggy salad is reduced, and in case the customer want really asking for what they actually wanted, there are two chances to fix it- one when challenging the request, and another by applying dressing in such a way that some may be crisp even if the rest has become soggy.

  326. Matt Zarit

    I’v been in some sort of customer service, from a front desk, to Toys R Us, to pizza delivery, or even being practicing physician, since 1988.
    The saying has always been “the customer’s always right.”
    I’ve changed it to “The customer should always leave happy.”
    People don’t know HOW they want something, they’re only thinking of the final result and think they know more than the person who has trained extensively to give it to them.
    If you want something in a way that will detract from the final product, any company worth it’s salt will tell you to F-off. They want to make sure you get the product the way it is intended to be received…then you’ll be happy.

  327. Christian

    This actually reminds me of a discussion about Chipotle and that they don’t provide a whole-grain tortilla option. I ultimately realized that because of their interest in health, many people (including me) would order a whole wheat tortilla, even if they didn’t like the taste as much. Eventually they wouldn’t go as often because the food wouldn’t taste as good. Chipotle is marketing on taste

  328. justin thomas

    It depends on the salad and the dressing. Does your salad have croutons – you don’t want those soggy right? Is it a vinaigrette or a creamy dressing? the former tenderizes meat and makes certain veggies taste sour if it sits too long and some people don’t like the inconsistent spreading of a creamy dressing.

    For me, I get a chicken caesar salad for the most part. Personally, I like it when the dressing sits on top of the croutons for a bit. So half of it is soggy the other is crispy. But, the chicken gets cold quicker this way and between the condensation from the heat of the chicken and the coldness of the dressing (sitting in its packaging), the lettuce gets limp and weird. So I get it on the side – I put my croutons on my salad, the dressing on the croutons, and the chicken off to both sides. Then I eat it as I please.

    Maybe you get a cold vinaigrette based salad – if there’s no heat, meat, or carb involvement, the sogginess isn’t really a concern.

    But why take the gamble of being inconsistent due to factors outside of your control? What if there’s traffic and the salad sits for longer? What if it’s going out with a hot sandwich and the creamy dressing “dries out” a little?

    Every time you get the dressing on the side – you’re gettign the same crisp salad with the opportunity to pour your dressing to your desire. I’m with the restaurant on this one.

  329. Kate

    I love this salad place already and I don’t even know who they are. You know why? Because I don’t like salad dressing! Even when I ask for it on the side, my salad arrives drenched sooo often.

  330. Ian Titus

    Mix the dressing in with the salad and provide a note stating that you strongly advise against this as most will have the best experience with the crunch of the ingredients. Include an offer for a free salad if the soggy version is not suitable and ask for feedback on how better they might improve your experience with their salad.

  331. Sonia

    The restauranteur is correct. Odds are a delivery salad tossed with dressing before going out the door will be soggy by the time the customer eats it. Then the customer will think of the restaurant and remember, “That’s where I got soggy salad.” However, if you want to pursue your own vision of how the salad should arrive at your place, try visiting the restaurant in person. Have salad there a few times. Show your appreciation of how they do things well. Get to know the staff, and let them get to know you. If you become a familiar presence, they’ll remember you when you place delivery orders. If they know you well enough to know you won’t let the food get soggy, maybe they’ll toss it for you beforehand. All this assumes, of course, your place is close enough to the restaurant and delivery can be made in a timely manner.

  332. Mike Myers

    I agree 100% with the salad place. No one really wants a soggy salad. The customer isn’t always right. They are catering to the masses, not the few who apparently want their salad soggy. Next thing you know, that person gets a soggy salad and then complains and wants their money back.

  333. Lindi

    Simple risk v. reward, upside v. downside conversation. The risk is pissing off a customer and having them actually leave and go somewhere else is smaller than providing the customer with a soggy salad and having the product be compromised. I’m on the Henry Ford side of the equation with “IF I listened to my customers, I would have built a faster horse.” There has to be clarity on the deeper intention in what the customer needs versus what they say they want.

  334. Brandon

    Geez, a lot of people cribbing notes from the Soup Nazi?

    If my customer wants me to deviate from my “salad vision”, I’ll tell him why our salads are the way they are. Restaurants don’t segment their customers based upon “dressing preferences”. So, that’s all nonsense.

    Separating the dressing is just a general process to get a result that pleases most customers. I apply my judgment to yield something most customers want (crisp salad) because they don’t know that’s HOW they get what they want.

    So my customer knows HOW he wants his dressing? That it might get soggy? Great, If that’s exactly how you want it, you got it.

    –And bet your bippy I’m going to follow up with that customer. It’d be an odd call, sure, but imagine getting that call as a customer. Oh, it /was/ soggy? Sorry to hear that. Here’s one on the house. (It’s suuuper-high margin lettuce, right?) Boom, customer understands it MY way. And what a great little story for customer to tell.

    Point: Providing my version of the perfect salad isn’t the end goal.

  335. Lois

    The restaurant should advise the client that if they add the dressing in the restaurant, the salad may be soggy. If that’s an acceptable risk to the client, the restaurant should prepare the dressing as requested. The root of this issue is based on the perception of who the salad belongs to. To the restaurant, it’s “their salad.” To the client, it’s “their meal.” Since the client is the one who is paying, their request should be honored. This reminds me of a stylist I once knew who insisted on doing my hair a certain way because to her, my hair represented her business (a position that would be valid only if I were a paid, brand spokesperson, which I was not). In my mind, since it was my hair and I was the one walking around with the style and dealing with the maintenance everyday, as far as I was concerned, her opinion was irrelevant. I never returned.

  336. Inez

    Honestly,
    There are people dying in the world from starvation. It’s just a salad and this particular salad makes you apply your own dressing. Big whoop! It going to be A L R I G H T.
    Haha let’s not sweat the small stuff you guys, and it’s all small stuff.

  337. Eleanot

    The salad place should advertise and communicate why they don’t mix the dressing in. They could also offer a premium service they charge more for to prepare your salad just before delivery.

  338. Cyrill

    I love that the salad shop wants to deliver there opinion of the best… But in the end it is only there opinion, and they are providing a service, if you wish to be in the service industry you will have to provide what the customer want within your boundaries “choose your battles” do you wish to serve your customer or your opinion who is your customer?

  339. Nancy

    I agree with the restaurant! This is about quality control, presentation, and visual appeal. You continue to order from the salad place despite their refusal to mix the dressing in, right? That’s because you receive their product in its best possible manner. As a customer, it is sometimes important to trust the expertise of companies that have experience in the product you use.

  340. sharon

    If I order my salad with the dressing on it for delivery and I like my salad soggy, I would just explain that I like it soggy and ask for them to accommodate my request and promise that I will not complain or send it back. I have had to do this with fish when the restaurant insists that it come slightly undercooked in the center, and the manager has come to talk to me. I explain I like it overcooked and promise not to send it back. I always defer to the “expert” the first time, then if it is not to my preference, I very politely explain my preference and they usual just except that my tastes are just outside of the norm.

  341. Jill

    Oh gosh, where do I begin……
    Chefs are artists; they are professionals who are working to educate us through their food. They are also aware we eat with our eyes so why would they want a salad to arrive looking less than fresh and colorful. Their customer is one who would appreciate such dedication and professionalism.
    Customer service is one thing, but sometimes I think people use it as a weapon. There is a responsibility on the patron’s end to be reasonable.
    I tend to think a complaint about food quality would elicit a different reaction.
    My perception of a chef that cares like this is my food is going to be of a higher standard, prepared well and clean. I would be questioning a place that does put the dressing on wondering what they are trying to mask. Perhaps that grainy taste isn’t cracked pepper.

  342. Elena

    I would go with a salad place. I took a lot of cooking classes and the chef always did point out – if you cook – that is the way you like it, that is your creation. But in restaurant business is different. You serve your clients, I would ask my client – how would you like it, and warn them about outcome if you want your dressing on the salad. Maybe that is the way you like it?

  343. Alexa wings

    The salad shop should make you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t follow their way, right?

  344. Frank

    Take the salad the way they send it. If you’re too lazy to make one yourself and get it as soggy as you want, then take what you get. I would buy a salad from them just because they care about what they serve and have a reason not to compromise. Do you go into a sushi restaurant and expect to get a hamburger if you ask for it?

  345. L.

    I can appreciate the restaurant’s branding, but at the end of the day, a perfect salad will cost them, while a happy customer will pay them.

  346. Ingrid

    I would stand with the salad place because I like that they know what they are doing. And there is no real problem as I can still mix the dressing.

  347. Suzanne

    Makes sense…first, it keeps product quality up and second, it allows the buyer to feel like they have personalized their meal/helped to prepare it by putting the dressing on the side and letting them do the blending…sort of like the classic – “Mom – when I add an egg to the cake mix, I feel I am putting something good in there for my family” Betty Crocker case study – she is baking, not from scratch, but still baking something for her family that she added some ‘love’ into. Personally, I like to be in control of the amount of dressing that goes on my salads, nothing worse than a soggy salad.

  348. Stephen

    I can understand why it would drive you nuts, because there’s a way that you like your salad. I prefer it to have the dressing already tossed too. But I lean towards the salad restaurant sticking with not putting the dressing on because it is an ownerships and quality issue. Their experience says that – even if you are just five minutes away – the salad and all of the accouterments could get soggy. And in a delivery situation, this could be even more of an issue even if this is how the customer wants it.

  349. Amy

    I agree with the restaurant. Soggy salads are the worst!!
    HOWEVER if the customer specifically requested it then they should have done as asked.

  350. Denis

    They provide you the best possible salad and protect you from your own bad decisions, even if it costs them (in the short term). When you don’t like them, ok. There are other restaurants you can go to.

    But if you want your salad perfectly fresh every time no matter what, they are waiting for you. They will always give you the best salad and they won’t compromise about it.

    Sending customers away when a relationship is not in your or their best interest may seem counterintuitive, but it’s the right decision. And it will help you grow your business in the long term.

  351. Leslie Gestautas

    Well all I know is McDonald’s fought doing all-day breakfast item for years. And, tried to shove everything else down their customer’s throats….until someone finally got the memo, and all-day breakfasts have been a HUGE and very profitable homerun for them 🙂

  352. C Gordon

    The restaurant is absolutely right! This salad place sounds like it offers both a good product and a good service. I’m sure it has come to this point through careful consideration of the elements that make up a good customer experience and focused on providing those. Every customer wants to receive a crisp salad… some customers would prefer that the dressing be mixed in. Moreover, even the customer who thinks they would prefer to have the dressing mixed in would likely be unhappy with the salad if it arrived soggy. While I think this is an opportunity for the restaurant to advertise that they deliver them separately to enhance your customer experience, I don’t think they should give in to customers who request to have the dressing mixed in any more than I think they should charge some customers less just because they would prefer a lower price. The customer is not always right!

  353. Shantelle

    Hmmm how do they know you don’t like soggy salad Ramit?

    Maybe they could offer the option to have it mixed in and reach both types of customers.

  354. Gil Flores

    I have to side with the salad place on this one. First, they know their product. They know how it should be served whether it’s in their restaurant or home delivery. Just because you want your salad with the dressing mixed in, doesn’t mean you will be happy with the results. They could make an exception for you and add the salad dressing, but you could still be un-happy with the results. They might add too little dressing or add too much dressing.
    Only you know how much dressing you want on your salad.
    Ramit, the salad place knows you (the customer) better than you think. By making the decision (for you) to leave the dressing off the home delivery salad, they are giving you the power to dress your salad to your liking.
    I would thank them next time you order.

  355. Kenneth

    The salad shop is choosing to only offer crisp, yummy salad. They could appeal to more people and mix it in. But they choose maintain the quality of the salad. Only those who appreciate that would care to buy it. The rest can purchase mushy salad elsewhere.

  356. Michelle

    Hi Ramit…I agree with the restaurant. Despite how you feel, the quality of their salad must good, if you continue to order from them. I think to the restaurant, it’s preferable to keep the quality of their product intact. Anyhow, you can always mix the dressing with the salad yourself, right? 😊 If the food is good, the place convenient and the price is reasonable, overall, wouldn’t you continue to patronize the business?

  357. Val

    I think they are right on for not compromising the integrity of their food. I think once you understand their reasoning, it makes sense and you should appreciate their concern.

  358. Tatiana Skljarevski

    It’s reasonable for a person who buys a ready-made salad to ask for the dressing to be mixed in. That’s part of the convenience of not having to make the salad oneself.
    If it’s really true that the salad would get soggy before it’s delivered and their delivery is as fast as they can make it then they could ask their customers if they would be willing to pay a bit more for the extra service and figure out a way to do it

  359. chris lacey

    They seem to have worked out a system which works for their business and *most* of their customers. Mixing the salad the way you were requesting would compromise the quality of the product and count as “feature creep” – yet one more option to account for in the salad production process.

    Also, it may annoy you, but you are still buying salads from them, so the convenience is still high enough for you to enjoy buying from them. I can understand there is some segment of their customers for whom the soggy salad is a feature, rather than a bug, but not a large enough segment to act on. Have they recommended a soggy salad vendor with whom you may be more satisfied? (mild sarcasm there)

    I do like they way they framed their reply, again, it’s about insuring a quality product. Does remind me of some research I heard about recently describing why, with all of the technology and efficiency improvements of the last 10-15 years, fast food wait times have increased. The main takeaway was that customers were happier (more satisfied and willing to return) when their order was correct and were willing to wait a little longer for the quality control.

  360. Lekan

    I’ll trust them. At least give it a try because maybe their way of doing it is better than the way I want to do it.

  361. Eliz

    I totally agree with the restaurant! It’s about their standards and knowing what makes good food good. They are the experts and want to make sure their customers always have a good eating experience and to do this they know that salad dressing has to come on the side. Unless their clients are into soggy salads and in that case should eat somewhere else! This tactic develops trust in that this restaurant won’t do anything to jeopardize the quality of their food. It says they care and have standards and integrity in their standards. My only suggestion would be to do a little education blurb so people like you that don’t ask can understand and bypass the whole frustration thing 🙂

  362. Stephanie

    I agree with the salad place. They know their product and they know how to best present it to their customers. Similar to how you or I (or any professional really), would expect that our customers are buying from us because we are the “expert,” and would want them to listen to our recommendation on how to properly go about doing X, Y, Z. If the salad place altered their product just because customers asked for it, knowing it would make their product inferior, I think they would end up with bigger problems down the road. For example, Sally is no longer complaining about having to toss her own dressing, now she is complaining that the salad is wilty and sucks. No one wants to eat a wilty salad. If you heard feedback from customers saying Salad Place X sells great salads but you have to toss your own dressing vs. Salad Place Z sells wilty salads, which would you choose to try as a new customer? I definitely would not try Salad Place Z.

    P.S. Salad is one of those things that always tastes better when you pay for it rather than making at home. Maybe it’s a mindset thing, but I would definitely rather pay for my salad. I’ve yet to order a take out salad with the dressing already on it. If you find a place that will accomodate this, let me know. I’d be curious….not to try it…. just to see what restaurant thought it was a good idea and if customers ever review them saying their salads are wilty. haha

  363. Peter Sutton

    Score one, a big one for the salad nazi – they know what they’re doing. Probably from past mistakes….like dressing the salad beforehand….and ending up with bitchy customers complaining about soggy shitty salads.

  364. Cindy

    I agree with the restaurant. If anyone wants to keep their reputation they want the best of show for their product (which includes themselves) It is easier to keep a reputation than to repair it and less costly as well.

  365. Jonathan

    It entirely depends on my mood.

    If I’m in a “must eat food now” mood, I’d get annoyed. Once I’ve eaten and am sated, I’d probably consider it some more and come down firmly on the side of the restaurant.

    I’m buying a product from them. That they care enough to present it in a certain way that means if I eat it in 5 minutes or I eat it in 30 minutes, I’ll have the same experience each time is a good thing. It shows they’ve considered every aspect of both the meal and the experience as a whole.

    I would have more faith that the other aspects of preparation that went into making that salad are also spot on. That the salad was properly washed, that the ingredients were chosen with care and that they were higher quality than if I had received a soggy mess.

    Style and presentation can’t cover for a lack of substance, but if the substance is there, it can turn the whole thing into a great experience. Who doesn’t want a great meal every time they eat? Heather knows this, and its why her course is so great. The meals may be quick and easy to put together, but they look great, and as a result they taste better than they would if it was just thrown together.

  366. Jacob

    I don’t think you can apply this situation to every product or business. I agree with the salad place for the reasons everyone else has already given. But imagine if the next iPhone came out with a fixed set of apps, and you couldn’t add or change them because Apple wanted you to have a specific experience that was part of your brand. You have to know when customers really want control over the details, and when they want the quality that only you know how to deliver.

  367. Fran

    I agree with the salad place. If they put the dressing on, it will be soggy- then you will complain about that.

  368. Asher

    It’s interesting that people get annoyed at the way they want someone else’s business run. If Louis Vuitton ran their business and sold their products as Kohl’s did, they wouldn’t make a red cent, they would be deep in the red!

  369. Jo

    The restaurant is selling ‘crisp salad with dressing on the side’ which is a different product from what you want ‘mixed up mush of vegetables and dressing’. They have to deliver / or not deliver the product that they sell which you can easily convert into what you want without losing anything – well maybe a few calories expended while mixing.

  370. Mike

    I think it would be okay since this is their company policy. But I can totally see this as an example of how a company should “pivot” or might want to try to serve their customer needs better.

    It depends. If this is their core value and vision, so be it. If it’s just a superficial product and their core value is not affected by soggy salad, then why NOT pivot to serve your target market?

  371. Rva

    I just think they should say they don’t want YOUR salad to arrive soggy (not their salad).

  372. Jenny

    As an OCD, artist who hates soggy salads, I completely agree with the salad place. If someone told you that you needed to divide one of your courses up into a customized version for them would you do it? Or would you say no, I’m the expert on this, I’ve spent years perfecting this product and I know how to provide my customers with the best experience and products?

  373. Bonnie Kennan

    It reminds me of restaurants where I have made a change request and was told “no, it offends the chef.” I felt a little embarrassed, but mostly I learned something about that establishment: They are purists. They don’t care if I go elsewhere, the message is that they know better than their customer. It’s a marketing message I don’t particularly like.

    In my business I want to communicate that relationships are more important than having mushrooms in my Chicken Marsala. That’s why I’m in the relationship business. But, I’m curious about what you have to say, Ramit.

  374. Jordan

    I totally agree with them. I work in the coffee industry in France. French people forget how great coffee have to test. They always want his/her coffee like they do it. And I always say no. If you want your thing don’t come in the place of a another one.

    Sorry for english mistake!

    Best regard from Paris

    J.

  375. Jenny

    There are plenty of salads that come with the dressing already mixed in — e.g., coleslaws, pasta salad, anything with kale, etc. all of which are made with biomatter that can stand up to hours in a lightly-applied solution of consisting mostly of salt, sugar, oil, and vinegar. Anyway, it;s not clear in the story, but hopefully the salad place is fostering a bit of goodwill by saying “We don’t pre-dress our salads, but there’s a place about a block from here that does. They have a broccoli superfood salad mixed with this amazing cranberry vinaigrette — you should try it!” Granted, they don’t have to gush, but I think it might go down nicer on the customer to hear that than a plain “Sorry, we don’t do that because [why].” Apologies tend to cost more than being helpful.

  376. Nayeli

    I think it depends…

    By this I mean, that it really depends on where your business stands. For small businesses or someone who is barely starting a business it may be tempting to simply adopt a “customer is always right” mentality to please your customers and engage them with your business, create the buzz and such. However, if your organization can “afford” some upset customers that don’t necessarily understand your product, its value, and its presentation, then you move on to those who do.

    It would also depend on the product itself. Some products do lend themselves to some degree of flexibility. Talking about the food industry alone, some adjustments can be made (I ask at IHOP all the time) depending on the dish and the establishment. While others give you the dish as is because it is how it was intended to be and they don’t deviate from those beliefs.

  377. Vickie Flaugher

    My first reaction was to side with the salad store, but I also think you should get to choose what you want. If you love your salads however they come to you with the dressing on it (“soggy” by some standards, or maybe “perfect” to you), I would let you have that. I would probably politely ask if you had tried/enjoyed the salad before with the dressing on it already – and if you said, no, this is my first time, then I would make a serving recommendation to not dress it (and still give you your preference once it was kindly explained). If you said, yeah, I’ve ordered it before and I love it like it comes, then great, I would do it.

  378. Margaret

    I think the salad place should explain their reason for not putting the dressing on the salad. In that way, they would show their intent to give their customer the best product they can.

    They should tell their customer their reason in an eye catching and humorous way. This would get their customer’s attention so they would understand and get them on their side.

  379. Anne-Marie

    I’m with the salad restaurant on this issue.

    I’m also amazed this would be an issue. How hard is it to mix the dressing into your salad?

  380. Sean

    I think it makes sense, but if they made it clear on their website or menu the reason why they don’t mix in the dressing then it would avoid annoying a lot of people unnecessarily. Once you know why they don’t want to do it having them separate makes sense, but I wouldn’t have thought about mixing the two making them soggy and would have been annoyed as well.

  381. Raj

    Just like you and IWT, Ramit, they cater to the demographic they want with the vision they want for their “service”. However, I think they would do better, marketing-wise, to explain their reasoning to the customer upfront.

  382. Mike

    The restaurant is smart to preserve the quality of their product… but they might want to educate their customers before several attempts are made to go against their vision of their product!

  383. RM

    Depends on the situation .. But yes they need to explain the rationale for ignoring your request rather than just ignoring your request, that’s for sure.. When you’re in France and a cafe refuses to serve skim milk or soy milk in their cafe au lait, that plain pisses me off. When you ask for your meal without butter and they refuse, that pisses me off too… But if you’re at a Michelin star restaurant everybody knows you just can’t make a request like that.

  384. Cheryl Ireland

    Customers want and expect companies to deliver quality products and services. People anticipate consistency, good or bad, in these areas.

    If a company desires to maintain its reputation for serving large, fresh salads, then its refusal to deliver a limp salad (shrunken to half its original size by the addition of salad dressing) is perfectly within its branding philosophy. If a non-customer happened to see a soggy salad delivery, he might assume that is the company’s typical product.

    From a branding standpoint, customers receive a large, fresh salad with salad dressing on the side – what they choose to do with it is up to them.

    In business, as in life, you can’t make everybody happy. Stay true to your values.

  385. Cheryl Leslie

    I can see why the restaurant would deliver their salads without the dressing on them. Number one it does make the salad soggy! Most people today also order their dressing on the side so they can control how much is put on their salads. Also, delivering a salad without dressing on it makes the salad look fresh and crisp, eat-able. AND many restaurants that deliver already have their salads made and packaged; in order for them to add dressing, they would mess up the aesthetics of the way the salad is packaged.

  386. Martin Potok

    The customer is always right. The restaurant should always ask the customer if he or she wants to
    put the dressing on the salad or not. If yes, than put the dressing on the salad. If no, then put the
    dressing on the side and let the customer put it on themselves.

  387. Davis Sarrett

    I naturally see it from both points of view (I’ve trained myself to do this). I completely see your point of view, but I see theirs too. (I doubt you’ll see this anyway!)
    In this situation, nobody is really “right” or “wrong.” It’s smart of them because they don’t want to present a product that could make the consumer think any less of their product or brand. You’re also justified in that you don’t want to do what you see as their job for them!
    In what you were mentioning of psychology, I’m only in high school, but I’m certainly interested in psychology. I would think your own psychology is playing against you here thinking they are just trying to get you to work for them!
    At the same time, they could put the dressing on for you. Then, the salad may get soggy, but you’d be all the wiser for the future.
    There really is no winner or loser or right or wrong answer in this situation!

  388. eva

    i believe that through the years the salad place has learn their customers. Maybe we say that the customers are always right, however sometimes the entrepreneur know more about their customers. This is their tactic and they don’t change for a reason: they know that the result (if they mix it) it will make the salad soggy and it won’t be good. As a result they may lose customers.

    Furthermore, I believe that maybe their answer was one of the reason they do that, but not the only one. The salad look better and more clean and fresh if it hasn’t a deep. It is not a coincidence that salad places put all the ingredients in a row and not mixed. It looks more pretty.

  389. Bonnie

    A friend of mine, a former culture minister here, just made an observation that I feel is very related. His children (13, 11 and 8) wanted to play Playstation. He agreed, under the condition they would watch a movie of his choice. He put “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

    In the first minutes, the children protested: “What’s that garbage, it’s not even in color!”. Then they grew silent, captivated the whole movie. When it ended everyone stayed around talking about the movie, the characters, the history…

    According to my friend, it would have been easier to give in to the children. But by forcing this movie onto them he made them a great favor, that of giving them something better than they knew to ask for.

    In this case of course it’s about education. But you can extrapolate to a business: now they look up to him for what he’s able to provide. Their trust enables him to keep on providing great things.

  390. Mark

    With a life as rich as yours Ramit, you’ve got the time to place some dressing on a salad. PS I don’t think they need to change as you keep ordering.

  391. Erin

    When it comes to sales, people always say ‘the customer is always right’. Just because the customer thinks they are right doesn’t mean they are. That’s clear when it comes to the IT industry. People may get upset because they won’t put the salad dressing on, but I agree with the salad place. They have a vision and no matter how much money you have it’s not going to change for one person. Plus, people always say that they’ll take their business elsewhere, but will continue to order from the same place because, guess what? They still like the salad and it takes 30 seconds of your time to put the dressing on the salad. Even still then if the salad place does put the salad dressing on before delivery I bet the first thing out of the customers mouth will be ‘my salad is soggy’. Customers think they know what they want, but sometimes they are really wrong or they’re just never happy.

  392. Rachel

    Totally agree with the salad place. In fact I think that most salads should have the dressing at the side and leave it up to the customer to add as they desire. Especially when it’s blue cheese dressing because I cannot stomach it.

  393. Nigel Chua

    I agree with it. It’s much of training the customers and communicating to them too.

    Sometimes the customer doesn’t understand it yet, and I’d say in this case, the salad company should have told you in advance something like:

    “We do not put the dressing into the salad because _______, so that you can enjoy the freshest, crispest, and tasty salad”

    And once the customers get it, they’d get it. =D

  394. seattle motivational speaker

    I agree with you Ramith.

  395. Kris

    It literally takes less than 30 seconds to dress a salad. It takes much more time and energy to explain why you won’t, and deal with someone who is pissed off about who dresses their salad and when. Just do it for the rare customer that repeatedly asks for it! If you find yourself getting more requests for “soggy salads”, start listening. So little time and energy expended, so much salad joy to experience 🙂

  396. Melanie

    Ha ha, I think that the point here is the restaurant thinks it is doing the best to ensure the quality of their product arrives at its best – the guarantee. There is less room for moving from the consistency that people know, want, get and expect. The one variable in the dressing may alter that outcome. The restaurant may also believe that perhaps if people tried it without the dressing they may like it and not need the dressing – therefore making it a healthier option, (because really do we need that dressing). Yes you may say this is a mistake as the restaurant is assuming something about the customer rather than listening to them, however are they really playing with you and getting you to consider another way.

    Darn this place never putting on the dressing, I’ll just eat it like this, or I can’t be bothered opening the dressing I will just squeeze lemon juice over it, which may be the philosophy of getting people to change their thinking (although for some reason I am thinking this is not the case). I just struggle with the point that what people think they need and what they actually need to do, can be very different things sometimes. But that is why they need guidance and direction to see that.

    But again, one must never assume, we don’t know what is occurring for this person.

  397. Potagic

    Why didn’t you ask for the why the first time you ordered a salad?
    Why does something like this frustrates you?

  398. Rodrigo Santos

    These articles reminded me one i’ve read (behind a paywall) which it’s principal idea can be summed as: “the mark of a truly successful businessman is the ability to fire a customer”. They have some motivations to don’t change things in their products on client demand and they can afford. It’s like you and your restrictions on people who have credit card debt.

  399. Liz H

    Ramit, They have a vision, a target customer base, and are sticking with it. You are not their customer. Find another place, like Croutons, that insists on adding dressing to every salad.

  400. Terence Gordon

    I do believe that the Salad place knows their product best, even if the customer would like it another way. And that may cost them a few customers. But they protect the quality of their product.

    I faced the same as a director. I had to do a political campaign for a politician, and I refused to do a slander spot, but instead convinced him to do a commercial taken from the perspective of a small business owner. It played equally as well, and without slander. The world can use less of it.

    Weeks later I did this same for a large national Police org that wanted the public to understand that police officers are in line of fire and have to make split decisions. Instead of a talking head PSA that they wanted, I said I’ll do it if its done like a scene in a movie. Take if from the family’s POV of the police officer also for no one speaks of them. In this case the wife. They weren’t sold at first but went along. I’m getting repeat business form them. So sometimes you have to have the customer see it from your POV. But that has just been my experience Ramit.

    Cheers

  401. Jon

    Your nearby salad place could offer to place your salad dressing of your choice on the side. This would prevent your salad to get “soggy”. If not, they want you to come in to eat only. They must have some pretty hot-looking servers there they want you to see as well!

  402. Chris

    Easy decision. Dressing on the side – I am not going to ruin an excellent salad. A salad that has been designed in a very particular way to create a perfect balance of flavors. If that pisses you off? Meh. I wont sacrifice my salad making integrity. I take too much pride in my product.

    However, what happens when 40% of my customers start demanding the dressing mixed in?

  403. James

    My first thought is always, “Why the hell didn’t they put the dressing on?”, then that is immediately followed by, “Oh, it’s because the dressing may spill in the bag and everything gets messy. Plus this way I get to control how to put the dressing on.”

  404. Cameron

    For me the salad place is correct.
    If I understand correctly you want a good salad with the dressing mixed in and you don’t want it soggy. Unless you live close by you can’t have both. The salad place chooses not to mix the dressing in as it doesn’t want to give customers a bad experience and doesn’t want you to complain the state of the salad.
    The solution I see is for the salad place to have a list of repeat customers who live near, allowing only these people dressing mixed in. Being repeat customers they know how good it can be and being nearby are less likely to receive a soggy salad.

    Where I am there are some expensive restaurants that don’t offer take away except to regulars. These regulars are usually workers from nearby offices who know how good it can be and can’t visit in person because they are still working.

  405. Brendon Kelly

    I agree 100% with the restaurant. Doesn’t matter if the customer thinks he wants it or not. The customer is paying me for my expertise, and he needs to trust that I am making the right decision.

    Plus, once you compromise your integrity to satisfy one person, you are on a slippery slope that ends with you either a.) Going out of business because in trying to please everybody, you have succeeded in pleasing no one and creating just another product that sucks in an already crowded marketplace, or b.) remaining in business and hating yourself because you compromised when it mattered most, and to now try and go back the other way would result in your ruin – you know this and continue to release sub-par fare and hate every minute of it

  406. Arwen Rogers

    As someone who eats leftover salad with the dressing mixed in, it totally does wilt it so it’s not as tasty the next day. I trust the restaurant to know about how to deliver quality and texture if they are a quality establishment. I earned a masters degree in dance and I know that the audience often thinks they know what’s good, but until you show them the new vision and expand their horizons they will continue to like the same old generic, stereotyped performance over and over. Changing minds and changing palates takes boldness on the part of the visionary.

  407. Del

    Would you be so upset about you salad arriving without dressing mixed in if they included a little note that said:
    “Hey, you may be wondering why we don’t pre-mix the dressing into the salad for you. Well, it turns out that the longer the dressing sits on the leaves, the soggier it gets. We want you to have the freshest, crispest (is that a word?) salad possible and the only way to achieve this is to add the dressing at the absolute last second.”

  408. Roomi

    Why does no one suggest to maybe tell the customer when they are ordering why it might be a good idea to put it on the side? That way they don’t feel you are neglecting their request when the salad shows up with dressing on the side? If they persist then go ahead and let them have a soggy salad. They can’t say they weren’t warned.

  409. Ray Lamse

    I think that they should not put the dressing on the salad.

    However, they should brag about how they don’t wreck their salad by putting dressing on before it gets delivered.
    They should offer to have their delivery person put on a “dressing application show” when the salad is delivered.
    That way, you get what you want, the delivery person may get a bigger tip, and the salad is fully delivered with flair.

  410. Pathil

    The restaurant don’t want their salad to arrive soggy, while the customer want the salad delivered with the dressing. The restaurant can easily come with a win-win solution that satisfies the customer

  411. kodzo

    I completely agree with the stand of the restaurant.They can put your desired saladdressing separately with the Salad, but you do the mixing when you’re delivered.

  412. Isvariya

    I agree with resturent policy because they have better knowledge about their product eventhough if they follow your requirement there is a possibility to unlike the salad as its taste and flaver changed by the time you eat so that is the main strategy they use to keep their resturent stable.

  413. Deidre

    I agree with the salad shop. Their reputation would be at stake by honoring the request, so it is in the best interest of all if they just refuse to do it. The reality is – most customers will never equate receiving a soggy salad with their modification request, thus they will blame the salad company for providing a mediocre product.

  414. Lauren

    Salad wilts very quickly once you apply dressing. Many people will not eat the salad because the lettuce is limp and texturally and visually unappealing. Also, if the dressing is on the side, you can control how much you add. Overdressed salad is also unappealing.

    The salad place is doing the right thing. The exception to serving dressing separately is when the salad is made of veggies that stay crisp or should soften, such as cole slaw or carrot salad.

  415. Chris O

    My experience as a customer says the customer knows best, and the business should do as the customer wants. However, the business (if a visionary) has the foresight to know how things could, or should be and doesn’t want the customer to miss out on the benefits.

    What you’re basically asking is did Steve Jobs get it right? He was unrelentless with his quest for perfection, at any cost. Monetary, emotional and relationships. But he built a brand that was reliable, changed the markets they were in and looked beautiful (subjective of course!) The marketing and brand portrayed products that changed your life, and some Apple users have a aura of superiority as they look down at us when we whip out our Android phones. Many do not 🙂

    As consumers we trust companies to give us the best experience, and when it comes to food, I’m always ready to try a chef’s vision. When it comes to tech however, I’m slowly realising that nothing is ever perfect, and although since products and services come close, they drop away from perfect within a year or so. The question is, is that as a result of my increasing expectation, or because the tech becomes more demanding of our aging devices?

  416. Kirsty Carroll

    I agree with Mark’s comment – it may drive you nuts Ramit but you keep ordering it…maybe the restaurant does know what they are talking about and the customer isn’t always right!

  417. Hugo

    The salad joint is within its rights to serve it as they see fit. But perhaps if I was the salad joint owner, my question to Ramit would be – why don’t you like about adding the salad dressing? Is it opening the packet? Is it not enough/too much? Perhaps a novel/easy to use dispenser would solve Ramit and the salad joints problem neatly.

  418. Crystal

    Honestly, I can see both sides of the spectrum. As a customer, I may feel upset that a simple request such as putting the salad dressing on my salad would be denied. From a consumer’s standpoint, it may seem like a simple request that doesn’t require much time or effort. However, from a business perspective, this could be a very smart and strategic move. Denying this request in the name of not wanting to “ruin” the salad, gives the illusion of the salad being special, and that eating it the way it’s intended to be eaten is an experience. The salad may be no different or better than the salad found at any other restaurant, but the restaurant’s insistence in not “destroying” the salad may give customers the perception of it being a top-notch meal. It’s in the same vain as the clothing designer that won’t customize her clothes, or the sushi restaurant that won’t allow substitutions to its selections. Usually, these businesses are perceived as being more high-end or worthy of top dollar. Over time, it also attracts a different clientele than the “have it your way” business.

  419. Mathias

    Why don’t they just add the dressing in a seprarate container (like a small sauce box or something)? That way the salad is not soggy and the customer gets their dressing.

  420. Al

    go somewhere else that’s prepared to supply a container with salad dressing to put on the salad when you eat it

  421. Natalie Whitten

    I’d say, after you request it, they could simply let you know that the salad has a tendency to get a little soggy if the deliver it already mixed in and just confirm you want it mixed, then mix it in. My father doesn’t like dressing of any kind on his salad and the number of wait staff who say, “are you sure?” then list off the choices only to have him say “nothing please.” It’s comically annoying.

  422. Pat

    I agree with the salad place, soggy salad is disgusting. Would you want to be known as the salad place that has soggy salad?

  423. Heather

    Totally agree with the salad place. They are the salad “experts” and have likely thought this through to ensure crisp produce upon delivery, and/or received multiple soggy salad complaints in the past, hence the reason for the naked salads (which are the worst by the way).

    That said, if you want the perfect, just dressed 3 minutes ago in a restaurant salad, do the following:

    1. Make sure the dressing isn’t cold. THAT is the real problem with to go salads, they give you COLD dressing straight from the fridge. The salad dressing used to dress salads in restaurants is not that cold. Here’s what you do:

    Make a dressing bath: fill a small bowl with warm water and place your dressings (with the lids on, duh!) in the bath for 3 minutes.

    2. Once your dressings have emerged from their bath, pour the dressing straight into the To Go container, cover it back up, and shake it like a Polaroid picture! Do not shake any less than 10 awesome shakes. This serves two purposes! It massages the salad greens AND incorporates the dressing into all of the nooks and crannies of the other salad ingredients causing a lovely melding of ingredients and flavors. This is where the magic happens friends.
    (If you *think* you can get away with step 1 because step 2 will warm the dressing via friction, you’re wrong. It won’t work).

    If that restaurant is as serious as they claim to be, maybe they should include my two-step Magical Salad Prep list on their To Go containers.

    Enjoy! 😉

  424. Adriana

    I would say: Sure Sir, but you might want to know that salad gets soggy when you put the dressing on. Our suggestion is that if the salad is for go take the dressing with you and you will keep the freshness of our product for much longer.

  425. Rado

    Good tactics.
    If the company believes they produce the best available product they don’t want to degrade it by the customer himself. Because finally, the customer will report how the salad is like a mud.

    A lot of big successful brands are doing it.
    – you are doing it too (your credit card debt rule)
    – Apple is doing it (removing jack connector)
    – Kryten in Red Dwarf is doing it (not serving lobster with ketchup)
    – Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant is doing it (everybody is getting the same menu)
    – once, I would like to do it too (to not doing business with assholes)

  426. Peg Hammerschmidt

    Salad dressing SHOULD be served on the side, You want the vegetables to be crisp and fresh. You may want much less dressing than they would ladle on, for many reasons especially calories and fat content. Embrace the fact they want you to have the control and have a superior salad experience.

  427. Rex

    I Agree with the restaurant, I like to have artistic freedom 😉

  428. Jon

    “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
    ― Henry Ford

  429. Madison

    The restaurant has a standard of service to uphold. No one wants to eat a soggy salad so the fact that they respect their brand not to compromise their product is a good thing. However, they should let customers know this ahead of time, saying that since they will not serve you salads that aren’t to the highest standards, they serve the dressing separately. That way, the customer appreciates the restaurant more and feels stronger positive feelings about it.

  430. Conor

    I agree with the salad place. People often don’t know what they really want. Maybe they used to deliver with the salad dressing mixed in and began losing business because of it. Then again, they may just be acting stubborn too and could try and test a little…

  431. Gabe

    They’re absolutely right. I make holsters and people constantly are asking for models that are junk, or lights that are junk, or both. I politely refuse and if the opportunity arises, point them to a quality option. This removes the ignorant customers from my business, making my life easier in the long run.

  432. Alessandro Restagno

    This is a classic case or someone focusing on long-term instead and not having fear about a possible short term loss.

    Most people fear of loss is higher than joy of gain. That’s why most people would deliver to you the salad you want, even if it will not taste great. What they don’t consider is that eating that salad that will not taste great is a great long term failure.

    After eating a mediocre salad, your consideration about them will decrease and, next time you want a salad, you probably consider someplace else.

    In the other case, not giving you the salad, shows that they consider the quality of their food, before anything else. Even if this decision will decrease their revenues.

    What will happen in this case?
    Ramit will be very impressed by them and will consider them the best salad producer in the word. Ramit will repeatedly buy salad and, in the long term, this will turn in a big gain for the business.

    There is still one possible solution to the problem.
    The bar/restaurant that has the salad Ramit wants so badly, could find a solution to deliver salad in a way that will not lose its great taste!

  433. Bimo Cahyana

    It’s sometimes difficult to explain to people who has has different perspective than ours. That’s fine because the “salad shop” know who they are and they know the value of their product. They “think different”, they see the very detail part.

    This will make the difference in market between stunning and average product.

  434. Heather

    Since we’re sharing salad grievances, I would like to share my current dilemma which is very similar.

    The place we go to get the BEST Caesar salads is always out of croutons! Guys, this Caesar salad consists of 3 ingredients: 1. Amazing little gem lettuce cut into the perfect sizes, 2. Perfectly tart and rich dressing, 3. The most delicious home made croutons you’ve ever had (if you’re lucky enough to get them!)
    When there are no croutons, 1/3 of the ingredients are missing and it drives me insane! But guess what, I still go.

    They will not comprimise by using store bought croutons and would rather keep the integrity of their other awesome ingredients than to give the customer a subpar salad.

    I curse them everytime I don’t get croutons but every odd chance I do, I fall in love all over again. Hard.
    Plus, I appreciate they only want the best for their custys.

    (FYI – I make croutons on the fly when my salad is lacking. It’s never the same. But come on! A 2/3 ingredient salad… Grrr)

  435. steve

    Hey Ramit, I ran a publishing business for the last 12 years, and when someone sends me an ad that does not fit the 5 point system I use. I ring and explain that we need to have a look at their ad so they get the best response we can for them.

    I let them know I am doing it to benefit them. Some people get annoyed and tell me that is what they like! I have even had people cancel because they did not like to be told what they should be doing. But I would rather have them cancel than run something that wont work then blame me for their mistake.

    I had one guy send me and ad that he had been running from a local paper, when I called him on it he told me that it was running in the paper and he wanted to keep it the same, my next question was it working, came with a reply of NO, are you serious? So we need to educate customers and explain why we do what we do rather than just force our opinion on them without an explanation.

    If you get told something is done a certain for YOUR benefit you will feel good about it. If it is done just to make it easier for them, then of course you are going to get annoyed and leave.

  436. D

    Agree with the restaurant. Traveling with a dressed salad can get messy if it leaks. The restuarant is rarely consistent with the amount of dressing they put on vs. the amount they put in a to go cup. Inconsistency can amass causing you to be equally PO’d as when they don’t put dressing on. Also People’s tastes change from day to day. One day you like a lot of dressing (and they put too little) and another day they put too much and you wanted less. The salad presents better without most dressings. And seriously, if you’re too lazy or pampered to put a little dressing on your salad then hire a butler to dress your salad… and to wipe your butt too.

  437. Drew

    How about a hybrid approach? There’s no reason it has to be “always no” or “always allow all the customer’s requests”, instead it could be “we don’t deliver your first salad with the dressing on but if you’ve ordered at least X times form us, we’ll send it with dressing if you request it”.

    The customer is just as likely to go somewhere else if they can’t get it the way they like it vs if they feel like the business doesn’t listen to them.

  438. Julianah Ebunoluwa Adesiyan

    To every startup, there is a goal, a vision and a mission. The point of making the salad is to give it to you fresh while protecting the company’s name. If you curse at them, it’s fine, you’re simply ignorant and they’ll understand and keep their thoughts to themselves and if you don’t, well, you’ll get the best service.

    Often times we’re too quick to judge forgetting that the the person on the other end has something in mind that could even be at our best interest. As customers, this is what I think we should do:
    1. we need to learn to be patience.
    2. Ask questions rather than pointing acquising fingers and make the attendant or waitress loose her source of livelihood. So not cool!
    3. Think like them and put yourself in the others persons shoes.

    As investors, innovators or whatever:
    1. Do your best to make your customers understand the why? The how? The when? and The where? This ways you increase your market value and your customers knows exactly why they choose your product and none other.
    2. You obviously need to think like the consumers. Otherwise, you’ll give them up to your competitors.
    3. Seek for alternative means of satisfying your consumers. Like if a customer wants his salad creamed and garnished, it won’t be at our expense kind of policy. For example, a shopping mall will write at its parking lot, “Cars parked are at owner’s risk”. They know you need to park and they do their best to keep your car safe but if you’re careless and your car key get stolen and someone else drives off with your car, you’re own your own. That way, you’re safe and most times, your customers are satisfied.
    4. Have it at the back of your mind that you can’t satisfy everybody. You can only try to do your BEST.
    5. Be sure that what you’re delivering to your customers is your absolute BEST. That will keep them loyal.
    6. This is weird, but be generous… That you’ll need to sleep over.

    Have a good day.

  439. Ryan Cina

    I see both sides of this argument. On one hand, business schools teach the often flawed rule that the customer is always right. It would be easy for this restaurant to add the dressing to the salad since some customers requested it. On the other, this appears to be a proud business committed to doing things their way and it does not appear to hinder business. They’d rather risk losing customers than serving an unappetizing soggy salad.

    I side with the restaurant on this issue, and apparently most of their customers do as well. If you are, or can be the best at what you do, you don’t compromise. While you run the risk of losing some sales, you’ll build loyalty through your quality and service. Not all businesses or individuals are used to being a measuring stick of quality.

  440. Kimberly Ecker

    I don’t even cook and I don’t know why you’re so aggravated by this it only takes a second to mix it in yourself

  441. Jake

    Agree with the salad place. They hold themselves to a high quality standard and refuse to jeopardize that based on Customer whims. To them, the long-term goal of consistently providing a product that they’re proud to represent their brand outweighs the short-term impact of potentially losing some customers. It’s good to see those standards enforced, regardless of the business line.

    And is it really that difficult to just mix in your own salad dressing?

  442. Amy

    It’s the only way they can guarantee their product will be at the standard they want to be known for. Mixing it makes it soggy. I would be thankful to have a restaurant that cared so much and figure they take a lot of pride and care in everything they do.

  443. Felix

    I like the care the owner show about their product. And if their customer doesn’t like this, they would go somewhere else to get their need satisfied. Everybody is happier.

  444. Zoe

    To me, it seems the same reason why some fashion companies show their clothes on very thin women (asside from the savings in fabric costs) or only have their clothes in limited size ranges: because the first impression (and unconscious internal representation) that a person has about a product/brand/person will have a massive impact on their future decision to buy – so the presentation matters: it needs to be consistent with the picture a person has in their mind and of what they unconsciously expect to get by purchasing the product. In fashion it might be the desire to look that great in those clothes, to look slimmer or to feel special/exclusive/part of a group of select people who can afford/fit into those clothes. With salad, by keeping the delivered product crisp, fresh and consistent with the image they portray, they are essentially giving the person receiving it, a reinforced internal representation of clean garden fresh food that you can see is healthy and great for you and will make you like pop-eye. It makes you feel like you have a super high quality product that will give you all that you desire from your food: delicious, healthy, fresh, unprocessed wholefoods goodness that will nourish your body. As long as the first impression is taken care of, then it doesn’t matter what you do with your salad or fashion item afterwards because your connection with the product is solidified already. You could pour hot sauce all over your salad and eat it with the most grotesque eel burger and yet still love the salad and it it again. You could look aweful in your new outfit and pair it with knee high socks, open sandals and shorts and still feel amazing in it… all because of the first connection you made mentally with that product.

  445. Carrie

    I bet every time you have asked for it to be tossed, they shake their heads and say “that’s not how you do it”.*insert funny meme here*

    I respect them for keeping the integrity of their product. They care enough about quality and your experience not to risk on on the salad being soggy.

    Has this soggy salad question fired up a group of regularly quiet subscribers?
    Well done my salad eating friend.
    Uniting the world with salad politics!
    To toss or not to toss?!

  446. Lucila

    I think that the owners of the salad place are right. I really do not agree with the old saying, ”
    The customer is always right”. I think that if you are still placing orders there, that’s because you embrace their “philosophy” or way of being. They really have a mark, and they believe in it.

  447. Pat Berrett

    I go with the restaurant. I see it as possibly getting soggy from being dressed too long and being overdressed, no matter how long. How should they know how much of the supplied dressing the customer wants them to use, were they to agree to dress it before delivery? To me a salad is ruined if too much dressing is used. Someone else might think more is better. If it drives you nuts, order elsewhere!

  448. Michelle

    I agree with the salad shop 100%. People don’t always want what they think they want….they just think they do.

    The salad shop may want to come up with a better way to explain their position to their customers, however, so that their refusal to add the dressing up front becomes a selling point (“we care so much about your salad experience with us that we don’t want to take any chances with it arriving soggy”) instead of an annoyance.

  449. Lucy Hodson

    Ew, why would you want it mixed in? It’s not that inconvenient surely? I think it is about the business choosing their customers, differentiating from other similar businesses saying, THIS is what we stand for. The customers that agree with you love you more. And most customers don’t care either way. You might lose a few customers that are weirdly obsessed with soggy salad, but you probably end up with other customers being more loyal. To be fair, I am quite fussy about this stuff. I would want to control the amount of dressing on my salad. Basically, I completely agree with the salad place, but I don’t think it is necessary to be rude to the customer about it. Also, people don’t always know what they want and tastes change from day to day.

  450. Jean-Michel Gilbert

    Well, I would agree with the salad place since I hate soggy food too. BTW, it’s even worse with hamburgers so I’m impressed that McDonald’s did the right thing with their new custom burgers and keep the buns separated so they don’t get soggy 🙂

    Also I’m an engineer 😉

  451. Linda Pinkham

    Hi Ramit, Some businesses won’t deliver a defucktive product, no matter how much you insist. They insist on providing the highest quality and very best service–and expect to be paid for it, BTW. Besides if you want to keep your youthful figure, you should dip your fork in the dressing, and then grab a bite of salad instead of pouring it on. Just sayin’.

  452. Eric Allen

    They can’t trust their customers to know what they want (and they are probably right). They are holding themselves to a higher standard: customer satisfaction.
    I imagine they’ll lose all of the customers who wouldn’t be satisfied anyway.

  453. Steven Edwards

    Maybe they have data that shows that they received more wilted salad complaints, spills, leaks, etc., and returns with dressing mixed in than not mixed in.

    However, maybe there are people who like wilted salad.

    Maybe they could make informed exceptions and disclaimers for people who want dressing mixed in.

    On the other hand, you do not cater to people with massive credit card debt, and that is one of your quirks that people must take-it-or-go-elsewhere.

    I suppose I would say, “If you want your salad with dressing mixed in, you can get your wilted salad elsewhere.”

    I have a dentist friend who doesn’t accept dental insurance because he hates insurance companies. They waste his time and make his blood boil. He charges full price and doesn’t give discounts. He’s busy with a select clientele and doing fine. That’s his niche. Of course, he must strive for extra perfection and not waste his high-end patients’ time, but it also makes him a better dentist than most because he doesn’t put up with mistakes or make excuses or blame insurance, etc. The docs who make deals and struggle with insurance can point fingers and blame others when their income is tight, and whine and cry and not take responsibility.

    Therefore, find another salad place.

    Cheers,

    Dr. Edwards

  454. Su

    I agree with the salad shop. I can control how much dressing goes in my salad. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on my mood.

    In the first place, why do you keep ordering salad from that place?

    Obviously they are doing something right.

  455. Anamika Roy

    I think the salad place should mention upfront why they are not mixing the dressing. Most customers will understand the salad place’s commitment to the customer. If they just refuse without giving the reason to ‘unknowing’ customers , they will definitely be pissed off. The discerning ones will know why the salad dressing is not being mixed anyway. And those who dont appreciate the salad place’s efforts are free to go elsewhere.

  456. Lenice Jacobson

    I agree with the salad place

  457. Luis Guzman

    Hi Ramit, I agree with the salad place because they are not willing to compromise on the quality of their product. They want you to know their salads will always meet their quality standard. Some people may argue that quality is relative, and I agree to some degree. However, there must be a minimum standard to be met, and a soggy salad is definitely below it.

  458. Chuck Kovach

    The first couple of times I would be annoyed. But I would ask why they dont mix it in with the salad like I had asked. When they tell me why, that is totally acceptable and It would be no problem mixing it in myself. I respect the fact they care about their products that much.

  459. Eleanor

    I agree 100% with the Salad Shop. They are right about the quality issue – the salad can get soggy and no one wants that. Even my noodle place separates the soup from the noodles w/ instructions to mix them when we are ready to eat…to replicate the fresh way to serve it. One needs to maintain the quality of thei r

  460. Eleanor

    Sorry sent it too fast. The complete last line is “One needs to maintain the quality of their product.”

  461. Alyssa

    I agree with the salad shop they are trying to give their food the best way they can. Honestly I’m not someone who believes the whole “the costumers always right” saying. I’ve seen many times it being false. A certain store or shop that has a certain way of doing things shouldn’t be forced to change it.

  462. Thomas L.

    I agree with the salad shop. Their product, their reputation.

  463. Barb

    I absolutely agree with the salad place, they don’t want their product bastardized. If you bought a Maserati and said, “leave off the front grill” they would never do that. They have a reputation to uphold and a target market.

  464. Eugene

    I concur with the business perspective. All it takes is one angry customer who Yelps, the salad is soggy (ignoring that their demands caused it) and the business goes into reputation damage control.

    When people like something they tell their friends, when they hate something they tell everyone – and tend to leave out their complicity.
    Just my $.02

  465. Adriana

    Depending on the type of lettuce used for the salad (romaine is less likely to wilt as fast as mesculun or arugula) they could lightly dress(per your request) the bottom of the take out container without mixing the greens.They can provide a little extra lettuce and dressing on the side,if adjustments are needed.Hopefully,since the place is close it shouldn’t take too long to receive the delivery.Once received, toss the greens and if needed add more dressing.So much for telling us not to get lost in minutiae!Lol:) Enjoy!

  466. Joe

    Hi Ramit, I agree with the salad place because they are not willing to compromise on the quality of their product . I own a French Fries Outlet and we refrain from adding Ketchup or dressings to our Fries on Take away. However, if a customer persists,we show them how bad soggy Fries taste. The salad place wants you to know their salads will always meet their quality standard. Some people may argue that quality is relative, and I agree to some degree. However, there must be a minimum standard to be met, and a soggy salad is definitely below it.

  467. Larry M. Lynch

    My vote goes to the Salad Place. If you know the request will somehow lower the quality of your product – then don’t do it! The customer may not know what’s right. There are restaurants (and chefs) who won’t “overcook” a good steak despite customer requests for “very well done”, i.e., burned!
    A true customer will appreciate your attention to quality in the not-so-long run, in my belief. If they (the customer) truly want “slop” there are so many places to get it. They will leave anyway. Quality customers beget quality products and services – or is it the other way around?

  468. Anant

    I tend to agree with the Salad Place stance of not mixing salad dressing while ordering. However I do feel that they must explain the customer the reasoning and justification behind their stance depending on the type of salad ordered. Besides maintaining the quality and freshness, another reason could be delay in consuming the salad if mixed with the dressing and possibility of reacting with some ingredients or contamination.

    Being a regular customer, I believe you have appreciated their stance of not mixing the salad dressing.

  469. Adam

    Don’t let your customers drive your product below the company’s standards. You would never acquiesce to a customer asking for lower quality meat in a burger or crappier ketchup on the fries. The same goes here for the salad. The amount of customers you will gain by maintaining high quality will far outstrip the few crumogeons like Ramit who complain about not getting exactly what they want.

  470. Dwayne White

    Expert producers of goods and services take several factors into consideration before a unit of product or the service is created:

    Who is my potential customer? A master identifies a niche market and creates the best product or service to supply that market. Considerations and provision are made for additional customers. Their patronage and word of mouth advertisement provides an addition to that specific income stream.

    Salad place 1- o customer

    The owners and the salad place create amazing salads, Ramit stills orders delivery “once in a while”(proximity is also a variable.) Masters at their work ensure only the best. Their opinion of the best salad is one delivered without being soggy.

    Salad place 2-0 Customer

    How will what I offer benefit/ improve the life of my customer?

    Considerations are made on individual and group interest levels.Food is appreciated with more than just our taste buds. Visual presentation and aroma of foods are known enhancers of a dining experience. A soggy package is not always a true indicator of the taste. some people enjoy coleslaw. Are their health risk associated with soggy, salad dressing soaked salads?

    Salad place 2-1 Customer

    What is best for the customer? All master, whether in solitude or exposed to great minds learn the art of getting into the heads of their intended customers.
    New products are created from exploring creating products/services to fit specific requirements and request of customers.

    Salad place 2-2 Customer

    What are the communication channels and policies employed?

    I have always heard the saying, ” the customer is always right”. In the pass I entered business transactions with that belief. I have realized that is not always true. An expert creates a product/ service only after deliberate consideration. Unwillingness to customize product / service must be communicated in explicit terms. Best channels and policies utilized without customer having to ask.

    No beating around the bush. Best offer.

    I would order packaged salad dressing with my salad delivery, cover my salad anyway I wanted it with my dressing (to include becoming soggy) and enjoy.

    I would ask my son a questions like these:

    How long does it take to open the salad dressing package?
    Is it too hard? He enjoys physical activity.

  471. Gwendolyn

    The salad place needs a better way to convey why they separate the dressing. Customers have to ask and then get the explanation seems to mean a crucial step is missing. There is opportunity there for the salad place. Both are right in my opinion but there is a lack of communication.

  472. Shawna

    I agree with the salad place. Successful products are about serving the customer base, repeating customers, and protecting the public impression of the product. Sometimes you get customers who ask you to compromise those core functions. There are three general responses: agree, the customer is always right; defer, take actions explore the compromise; stand firm, acknowledge the customer is not your core customer and you may lose this particular customer’s repeat business. I suspect any salad shop would have had to address the issue of salad dressing or no salad dressing early on. You are a repeat customer even if you are not 100% happy. Based on a sample size of 1 the salad shop is making the correct call.

  473. Francesca

    I agree with the salad place. It’s a trait that makes them more original and passionate which in turn creates respect and a sense of better quality from the consumer…my thoughts anyway. Food is a form of self expression why not stand firm in ones convictions 😉

  474. Tara

    I get the impression, Ramit, that you think the restaurant’s position is about their need to control how their product is presented. I do think that has something to do with it, but I also think they’re empowering their client base in a way. You see, many dishes you order – ethnic cuisine or otherwise, the texture and taste both usually have standards associated with them. E.g. A hamburger is typically pretty easy to chew, the meat (assuming it is meat) tends to be relatively juicy and not drive, and it doesn’t taste like someone put a charcoal briquet in your bun. Or a thai soup has a bit of a hot pepper kick to it. My point is – with certain foods, you know what to expect. With a salad though, so many of us have grown up with home made salads where mom and pop would toss you a bottle of dressing and say “slather as you will.” Some folks will slay their salad with dressing, others have always lightly drizzled (or Drizzy’d if I’m going to keep these pop culture references going). What am I getting at? Despite the impression that they want control, they’re forcing you to take control over your experience. They don’t want to be held responsible for slaying your salad if you just wanted it drizzy’d, or vice versa. They’re giving you ownership so you’re never disappointed with your salad (unless of course, the produce is shite and the dressing tastes awful). I’d say, despite the perceived inconvenience, it’s pretty damn clever.

  475. Thembinkosi Luthuli

    I think I support this restaurant. If you have a fundamental vision and mission of your business stick to that. If you have done proper study on your vision and mission you must never change under pressure. Customers that loves your service will ever be with you.

  476. Rayann Keyes

    I support the restaurant. Salad gets soggy if you put the dressing in ahead of time. Who wants a soggy salad, or worse to be known as selling one? Not me! Ppl sometimes don’t know what they want.

  477. Jessica

    We had a similar experience at a local Italian restaurant just this weekend. One person in our party ordered gnocchi to-go in addition to his dinner but the server informed our friend that the dish did not travel well or reheat well and the chef would not make a gnocchi dish unless it was eaten in the restaurant.
    Some may think that because we chose a nicer restaurant at a higher price point than those we typically go to, we should be able to get whatever we want. The reality is that we chose that particular restaurant for the quality and excellence of their food.
    In my opinion the salad place’s rule, and the rule at the restaurant we chose, is perfectly reasonable. The restaurant that we were at, like this salad place, has a standard of quality that they would like upheld regardless of when their product is eaten. There is nothing wrong with refusing to compromise a standard, regardless of what someone is willing to pay.
    If we wanted sub-par gnocchi to-go we would have chosen a different restaurant with a different quality standard, however, we wanted a quality meal and we chose the restaurant that we did for that very reason. Because we wanted a quality meal, and our friend wanted a quality meal to take for the next day, we chose to set aside what we thought would be best for us and instead trusted the wisdom and experience of the chef.
    The gnocchi was excellent and the dish that he got to-go was also fantastic (at least,so I hear). I’m willing to bet that your salads are consistently great, even if you have to dress them yourself. If the salads were shitty the dressing would be the least of your concerns and you would probably find a new salad place.
    Despite complaints and nit-picking, quality wins.

  478. Kavita S

    I support Salad Place.
    1st scenario, print on receipt at restaurant that customer wants dressing mixed or be willing to lose the customer.
    2nd scenario, mix dressing yourself or don’t order from there. Perhaps meet the manager to see if specific consideration can be made to order. Don’t lose sleep over it, there are always options in life.

  479. Sarah

    I think both parties are right, the restaurant doesn’t want to sell soggy salad but the costomer needs salad to be delivered to him so I think the restaurant needs to make a means of improve in delivery maybe get a cooling van not to make it soggy so as to diversify in meeting the needs of more customers.

  480. Amir

    They should respect their customers. “We are not able to, sorry.” is better than “It is to be done like this.”
    I wish they could enjoy adding the dressing-process an option: as the customer likes.
    Thanks.

  481. Bela

    I’d react something like this:

    “I understand you would like the salad with the dressing mixed in. We want you to have the best salad of your life so I have to tell you that when we mix the salad before it arrives to you, it becomes soggy – this is why we do not want to send it that way.

    However we want You to have the opportunity to decide about Your salad, so we send you an extra, mixed little portion too, the same salad you ordered, only it is mixed with the dressing.

    We really appreciate your opinion if You find the usual or the pre-mixed salad better. Please send your feedback for us to be able to always create the best salads ever.

    If you find the pre-mixed salad better, we will of course make it possible for You to order Your salads this way – and any time you want it back to its original way, just tell us.”

  482. Brianna

    Here’s what I think: people don’t know what’s good for them! A lot of times, our “customer is always right” mentality gets in the way of some amazing experiences. I work at a hotel front desk. I remember this one guest that mentioned that she was in town to celebrate her sister’s wedding. Cool! I upgraded her to a suite for free. The suite was on the 5th floor and had an excellent view of the river. She objected because her suite wasn’t on a high floor. What?! I apologized and explained that this was the last suite for the evening and it was hers if she still wanted it. She said no and opted to take a basic room with no view because it was on a high floor. Before handing over the keys, I explained that we were fully committed for the evening and there would be no way to move her to a different room later on. She took her keys and was on her way. All of 10 minutes roll by before she’s back at the desk, livid because she had no view. But it was too late! She’d picked door #3 so that was that!!
    My point here is that the salad company knows their product better than you do. By delivering the dressing on the side, they’re ensuring that you get a suite with a river view each and every time you order the salad. You think you know better, so you’re demanding that room on a higher floor– a limp salad. Don’t be like that lady! Let the salad people hook you up with an excellent salad. The customer is not always right. Plus, isn’t the salad place right by your house? If having the dressing mixed in is so important, you can just dine-in at the restaurant instead of dealing with having it on the side for delivery. You can solve your own problems.

  483. Joseph

    The customer is always right but that does not mean the business should compromise quality.

  484. Erika Volk

    I’m looking forward to Ramit’s follow up on this. I face similar issues with my fitness business. Clients come in with their own ideas of what they need to do to get in shape. Sometimes they have the right idea, other times they are off by miles. Getting them focused on the right stuff is an art I’m still trying to master.

  485. Simon

    As a customer I would be grateful that the salad shop has high standards and is willing to enforce the quality of it’s product even when it has left the store.

  486. Jeremy

    I completely understand the concept at least to some degree, that is how they envision their salad fresh and clean not soggy like some dog vomit cesar salad dressing on your cabbage. 🙂

  487. maye

    I Completley agree with that way of delivery

  488. Candice

    Good for the salad place.

    Also, you get those customers who you can never please – like the ones who ask for an extra crispy eisbein and then complain repeatedly to the waitron (and other customers) that it is too crispy, but won’t send it back to the kitchen.

  489. pamela

    I prefare it without the dressing, i agree i do not want it delivered soggy.

  490. cornelius

    people don’t know what they want until you can get to know them and give it to them. Ultimately they want a fresh, tasty, crunchy, salad. But they think that in order to get that, the dressing needs to be mixed in. Which obviously it doesn’t!

  491. Paul

    People just don’t know. They might think that’s what they want, but most of them would be dissapointed with soggy salad. And they might ended up not ordering from that place anymore dispite the fact, that salad place did exactly what they asked for.

  492. Me

    I agree with the salad place. Dressed lettuce wilts quickly, to say nothing of croutons or those lovely fried pita bits on your fattoush. Also, shouldn’t the customer decide how much dressing to add? Some people like a little, some love a lot.

  493. Denton

    To maintain a consistent standard of product it makes sense, but if say, you’re a frequent patron having a small customisation of “added dressing” could work.
    It could always be a value add-on: “would you like your dressing added in there?” – people could simply decide yes or no.
    Data would show over time if asking constantly or perhaps once in the beginning, which approach works best?
    Great topic.
    Give the buyer one choice, it’s better than none 🙂

  494. Lauren

    I really respect their response. They have a clear vision of their product and are operating with integrity. They are clearly so passionate about non-soggy salad that they only want to serve customers who appreciate the same thing. For me this is about building a loyal and devoted customer base who are in line with their values, not selling as many salads as possible.

  495. Shams

    The salad people know what they’re offering, they’ve chosen to create, package and deliver this salad to a standard which had been thought about. (Personally I like being able to add the amount of dressing I want on a salad.)

    Not a big fan of the “customer is king” mantra. So high five to the salad place, there is a reason as to why everything in that place is made a certain way.

    Awesome giveaway to Cape Town, CT is a beautiful place 🙂

  496. Ana

    “A few people – usually artists, engineers, and restaurateurs – completely agree with the salad place.”

    Aren’t you good? I’m an engineer, and I would never provide a lesser quality service just because. The customer can be wrong and not know about it. You also don’t let people in debt buy your courses even if they really want to, so I’m sure you understand this.

  497. Daniel

    Being a chef, artist and former engineer, I must agree with the the restaurant. The restaurant, like myself, strives to provide high quality products and experiences for their guests. Dressings wilt salad greens very quickly thereby diminishing quality and wholesomeness. I understand why you want the salad tossed with dressing, it’s much easier for them to do it. The restaurant is protecting you from yourself and protecting their reputation. Your tone in your email indicates that you would be complaining after receiving the dressed salad that it is old, wilted and soggy, and telling your friends not to order from that restaurant because of poor quality. I’ve seen it and lived it many, many times.

  498. Odinaka Asidanya

    I completely understand the company maintaining their standard by not mixing the salad, however the needs of the Customer should be priority. If the customer wants his salad mixed with the dressing then by all means mix his salad and if the salad gets soggy and he complains, then politely explain to him that his demand was met accordingly.

  499. Tarun

    company has a point, but they are looking from the company perspective, coz some may like more dressing and some may need very less. what i would suggest to that company is that in the same take away box make a partition, give them both with dressing and without. Take a survey and deliver the appropriate.

  500. Kimberly

    The salad place is right, but it sounds like the owner isn’t communicating the message to the workers. Once you understood the reasoning, you were no longer annoyed (at least not as much!). I’m a brand director, and in this story, I see the salad as a reflection of the brand. A good brand director is unwilling to lower the quality of the product if it will impact the brand…that’s what’s going on here. If the workers, or the person answering the phone, had explained to you in response to your request, that the salad quality would be compromised if the salad sits in the dressing en route to you, and for that reason they won’t mix the dressing in, you wouldn’t have been repeatedly annoyed. They could use the opportunity to express their enthusiasm about the quality of their salads, and explained how much crisper the vegetables would be if you waited to mix the dressing in just before you ate it. win win. If they had complied with your request, you may now think of them as ‘that place with the soggy salads’ and never order from them again!

  501. Laura

    The flaw is not in whether or not they put the dressing in, the flaw is in how the communicate about it. If they’d provide a little story about their salads, which specifically states they deliver dressing separately because they don’t want it to become soggy, your expectation would be different. You’d probably not even ask to have it mixed in, because you like their fresh crispy salads.

    A nice out-of-the-box way to do it were to have the delivery person mix it in with the salad for you at your doorstep/home (live cooking style): you get your wish, so does the company 😉

  502. Kyle MacDonald

    Funny you say enginner and artists agree with the salad place. I’m both and I totally agree with the salad place. But also coming from a foodie perspective, if I want the product that I want, I should make it myself. If i want to buy a product as is from the engineer, artists, or someone who dedicates a lot of time an effort to making the perfect salad, I should take it the way they want it served.

    (exceptions include allergies, intolerance, religious exclusions… of course, people with those issues can chose to eat or buy salad that has such options…)

  503. Gauri Prabhu

    Let me share with you my recent similar experience. I had been to one hotel and I asked to parcel the remaining food from our dish. The waiter said in a very polite manner that madam we do not parcel this dish as it will become soggy by the time you go home and it will then have a bad taste. So if you want something else to be parcelled we will be happy to do that. Sorry for the inconvenience. I took it positively and carried on. So its the way how we communicate that matters. In the case as given by you if the salad is actually becoming soggy, the person from the hotel can very well explain it before saying no. This will give a feeling that we care for you and your taste.

  504. Tara

    I would rather have fresh non-soggy salad, than have soggy salad. I want my food to appetising not look like a someone ate my food and spat it out and delivered it to me and say here you go! Nah man….So I agree with the restaurant delivery place. I rather do it myself instead of the restaurant.

  505. Maria

    The salad place guarantees quality. If you want less than that, go somewhere else. This builds trust in my opinion. If they show this dedication just with a salad…..which bigger things would also be of a high quality and standard?

    I am an operasinger. I don’t sing anything a little out of tune, just because you would like it that way.

  506. Vitbersojo

    I completely agree with the salad place. I don’t want my ordered salad to arrive soggy too. In any case, don’t confound the delivery service and a restaurant service. Why not to make self several mixing movements with a spoon? Driving nuts because of this is like a caprise. May be you’d like to be spoon fed?

  507. Nico

    Agree with the salad place, as a business who specialize in salads, they should know whats best to preserve the quality of their product. This could relate to other businesses as well, as a consumer you sometimes think you know what you want, but it is not necessarily what’s best. Anyway, my motto in cases like these is ‘try at least every variation once’ – then you’ll know what’s best for you and have a case to make for your decision.

  508. Jacqui

    As an event stylist, this situation can be tricky. Marketing view – customer want, customer gets with a disclaimer; Trust – allow customer to voice opinion, but keep your standards to gain customer trust, Psychology – visual presentation of a great looking salad without the dressing is what you are attempting to put into the customers mind, but your voice in telling that customer the possibility of a disaster can hopefully be convincing.

  509. Harmeet

    I agree with the resturant people. Sometimes it is good to educate the customer than blindly listening to him/her.

  510. mara

    hi Ramit
    they are correct they built up business and they are proud and have a reputation to maintain. it is common sense you put your dressing last as it will fo soggy. and i bet if you insisted you could not complain. you yourself said if you’re not happy i dont want you go elsewhere where they dont care in this what they serve . if they bowd down to your commands they wouldn’t be unique thei trademark. Ramit i could go on. thank you for giving me the opportunity to express. you are awesome you really got into everyones mind. Mara

  511. Susi

    I like to look at every customer complaint as an opportunity to connect. For every 1 customer who takes the time to ask or complain there are many more experiencing the same and won’t bother. I would turn this around and proactively put a slip of paper in with each salad with a “did you know” message. People love to have the inside scoop.

    Also, if I did get to speak with a customer I would ask them what the challenge is for them and not just assume I know what’s bugging them. Maybe a new solution would emerge.

  512. Chrisa Assimopoulos

    Well this is now triple trouble…I am an artist, an architect and Greek–we have a thing for food..!hah
    So I agree with the salad bar.
    Not only they value quality and they are giving you the opportunity to choose how much dressing you want to put on your salad every time you order, but also they are giving you the experience of a fresh salad.
    It is like when someone walks in an architectural office, with a Barbey house picture in hand and they want their made like the Barbey house…What would you say to that?
    First of all it is rude, give the professional at least a chance to present his work, second of all it is a toy, you can base your house design on the Barbey house, thirdly Architects don’t design houses, they design the experience of a home! And that is when things become serious, because then you get to talk about what a home is, what you want as a customer and you need!
    Back to the salad bar… they want to offer you the experience of a fresh salad that you won’t just consume, but you will take one minute to make it your by putting the dressing on..!
    If I was the salad architect I would probably put a mechanism in the package, when you open the package dressing would flow in to your salad bowl at different layers, at the perfectly right amount..! The perfect salad!!! hahaha

  513. Chrisa

    I shouldn’t be writing this early in the morning…some mistakes here there on my comment above…the most serious one…
    You CAN’T your house design on the Barbey house!

  514. Jimmy

    I just want your thoughts Ramit

  515. Tomoko

    I totally agree with the restaurant’s vision or mission on the salad. Quality matters!! The restaurant truly cares about it. However, if I were a staff in the restaurant and were asked the request like Ramit did, I would pour a little bit of dressing on the salad and deliver it with another dressing on the side. And later I would make a phone call to a customer and ask whether it needs more or less dressing. That is because I care about how my clients are treated well and want them to feel special as well. But if I were in the circumstance, I would care about how much amount of dressing I want. So that means I do it by myself:)

  516. Eelin

    I agree with the salad place. There are so many factors having the sauce mixed in ahead of time. It could get soggy, it could leak, it could smell… It’s like butchering art and the reputation of the creator as the artist.

    There are so many factors that could ruin the dish. What if the buyer got hung up and decided to eat it later or eat it tomorrow? If they are proud of their food, they will insist that it is served the right way or no way at all.

  517. Juan

    Let me start by saying this… If the Salad joint gave you want you wanted and you didn’t enjoy the salad, you’d be hesitant to buy from them again. However the part that I think is the most troublesome for the Salad Joint, if you as the customer get your way, is that you wouldn’t have even tasted their salad at it’s best and therefore would most likely advise others not to buy their product. Smart move by the Salad Joint!

  518. Chelsea

    First I am curious if you have called and complained about your order not being correct, and also why you continued to expect it to be as you ordered a second or third time. Second, I don’t fully agree with the salad place; however, it is the responsibility of the business and their service reps to explain to customers. I.e. “In order to keep the fresh vegetables crisp and allow you (the customer) to customize your dressing option, we would prefer to put the dressing on the side, to ensure highest quality when delivered..” Then! The businesss could accommodate you in another way: “we would be happy to include a separate container for you to mix your salad in, Mr. X., we understand that you want your fresh, crisp salad evenly coated with dressing. Will this work for you?”
    I’m all about telling people the WHY so that they understand my reasoning and allow them the option. People LIKE options.
    Give a person choices after reasons. Empower them to make their own decision.

  519. Mohamed Idhris

    Its because of they have the confidence over their product. So they won’t change there style of making salads.
    It’s form of uniqueness to got noticed.

  520. Frank Yeager

    Reminds me of Apple refusing to include things that people expect (most recently a headphone jack). The salad place isn’t the only company to refuse to bow to every demand. Working as a contractor, sometimes customers wanted things that would be a hazard. It was up to me to say no. As a professional, you have to be willing to walk away if a customer makes demands that will compromise your product or service.

  521. Arnaud

    In Europe, the say “customer is always right” is no longer true since years on. Partially, it is annoying when it comes to repairs or product default, on these cases, customer should always have a strong say but when it comes about the product itself, its packaging, the choice of the company colors, logo, identity and ways, I believe it is up to the company and if the customer should only be heard (and sometimes plain ignored).
    It fairly depends. In this case, I’d say “suck it up, Ramit! Don’t be a whiny biatch” 😉

  522. Louise

    I hate salad dressing, so this would make me pretty happy. But to answer the question, I’ve read enough by now to understand that they have a reason for not including the dressing despite popular demand. After seeing their reason, it makes sense that they’d know their salad better than I do.

    I think many engineers, artists, and architects know from experience that customers are often wrong about what they actually want.

  523. Heather Love

    If you regularly buy salad and you do this by telephone they could quite easily mix the dressing on your salad, if you requested it. That’s your choice. They need to be more flexible.

    When we order a Chinese, my husband has a Singapore Chow Mein, which includes pork. He doesn’t like pork in Chinese meals so I ask them to hold back the pork and add more shrimp or chicken and they do this without fail. Meeting their regular customer’s preferences…..

    It’s all about being flexible, naturally, if it’s possible.

    I personally would want the dressing on the side, however if you prefer the dressing on the salad then the dressing should be on the salad.

    And if they wont do that and you don’t like it use an alternative salad bar……

  524. Chris Horner

    I don’t see the problem here. They want their product presented in a certain way and with a certain experience. Salad is their business and I’m betting they have a good grasp on it. Would be interesting to find out if they offered that in the past and then received complaints.

    Sounds like they are not interested in appealing to everyone. If their food is really that good then they know what they’re doing. If it’s not great then the market will help select them out.

  525. Eva

    Well… I would love to believe that this is about purity of salad vision, but honestly it’s probably just as much about the fact that customers who follow the customer is always right philosophy are often also stupid or finnicky.

    You deliver salad with the dressing mixed in and then the non salad expert customer who didn’t realize the salad would arrive soggy may complain about the soggy salad or even confuse the sogginess for lettuce that has gone partially bad. Customers telling their friends about that can mess up your business. Or people could demand free salad and you lose money.

  526. Kimberly

    I agree with the salad company and it is not because I think like an engineer. I always ask for my salad dressing on the side and a lot of times certain sauces so it can be up to my discretion how much I want of it.
    In spite of what we think or want they know don’t know how long they will be, if the driver going to have multiple stops before you, so they want the salad to be eatable by the time it arrive. They think they know whats best for you

  527. Steve

    Maybe the salad company has done some market research and they have learned that most customers would rather not have the salad dressing mixed in when it arrives. That said, would it be too much for the company to create a customer profile of those who order from them often so they have a record of their preferences so as to accommodate.

  528. Nate

    There’s a tension point between chasing what a small amount of customers want and preserving the integrity of your product. Many companies don’t realize that good customer service is providing them with the best product. Chasing customer satisfaction by diluting the quality of your product is never a good idea. Better to create a new product that is specifically suited to that niche than to adjust a flagship product to suit the lowest common denominator.

  529. Kimberly

    I agree with the salad company and it is not because I think like an engineer. I always ask for my salad dressing on the side and a lot of times certain sauces so it can be up to my discretion how much I want of it.
    In spite of what we think, they think they know whats best for you since they don’t know how long they will be; if the driver going to have multiple stops before he/she delivers your food, so they want the salad to be eatable by the time it arrives.

  530. Miesan Cruz

    I also agree with the salad place, protecting their brand and product image is an essential aspect whether it is a good or service you’re providing. What they should do is imprint the reason into their package design.

  531. Jeremy

    I say design a puncturable dressing compartment. That way, the deliverer can mix the dressing in the salad at delivery, or let the customer mix it.

    No soggy delivery, and dressing mixed in at delivery while the salad container still remains sealed.

    Salad is still fresh and customer can have it delivered mixed or on the side.

  532. Barbara Svendsen

    I must say, I also agree with the salad place. I feel that it is a privilege to have a freshly made salad and then drizzle the dressing over by myself in the way I prefer it and the amount needed. The dressing is an essential part of the salad and I can vividly imagine that everybody has his own opinion and preferances about the dressing.

  533. Dyre

    I think it’s better to let the client decide how much dressing to put themselves. Personally, not a fan of too much dressing. The salad’s healthy, the dressing usually isn’t.

  534. dzandueta

    This thing reminds me of a similar story I read wherein someone complained at a restaurant that wouldn’t deliver a particular food. Because I can’t recall the resto’s exact response, I’ll paraphrase what I remember:

    We don’t deliver the food because it’ll arrive there cold, which will prevent you from enjoying it the way it’s cooked!

    Something like that.

    My take on that story is the importance of explaining why about something and, more importantly, how that matters to the person. Essentially, you explain that thing in a way that the person benefits somehow. (Of course, you can’t please everyone every time…)

    The person who gave that salad-soggy response maybe gets that complaint often, hehe, although s/he perhaps just needs to know how to explain that better.

  535. Debi

    It is paramount to understand the wants and desires of the customers and to meet them there. A business cannot be truly successful if it satisfies it’s own wants and desires but not those of the paying customers that leads to referrals, reviews, repeat business and customer experience. If the customer wants the salad dressing mixed in, that is exactly what they should get. Details like a soggy salad risks can be covered separately as a side note during the order process.

  536. Larry Mannino

    I’m living your salad metaphor right now with a rather large client who called me in to fix their business and brand presence. Initially I declined the account for a couple of reasons, but thy persisted and as it was a referral, I accepted. I’ve advanced a philosophy and path to follow and they agreed enthusiastically. I explained it was a process, and not a quick fix. They were fine with that. They showed good progress, but keep reverting back to their old ways as soon as they get the slightest bit nervous. I explain — with reasonable flexibility — that they must focus and stay on track or this doesn’t work, and that they need to assess results annually, not weekly. I am willing to walk away on good terms from this if, after some time, they continue to revert to their old – and flawed – ways, because I won’t be able to deliver what I’ve promised in the initial proposal. And I’m cool with that. Which is to say, if that salad provider won’t bend, I respect that, and if you want your salad done against their way of doing it, perhaps it’s time to find a new salad purveyor. Bear in mind, none of this is foot stomping or argumentative, but you should probably respect their professionalism and success in method, or move on.

  537. Newton Junior

    I completely agree with the salad place. when you have something that work as you expect and you must know that your customer will be satisfy with that you should not accept any change, because this can cause problems for your product or service and the end you customer will back to you with complaint about results. and also you never should give up about your values!

  538. Greg

    I agree with you. I always want the dressing in the salad and the salad tossed. It sometimes gets too messy trying to add the dressing yourself at your table, with leaves and other things flying everywhere off your plate. Also, they never give you enough on the side. In fact, I suspect the real reason isn’t that they are trying to preserve their artistic vision, but they are trying to preserve their margins by providing less dressing on the side than otherwise would be added to the tossed salad.

    I give them financial points for disguising cost saving as artistic integrity, but deduct culinary points for serving you a dry messy salad.

  539. Josephine Osei-Bobie

    I totally agree with the salad place. They have worked over the years and known howhat long it takes for the salad to go soguy. They have tried and tested and have seen that it would work for their customers.

  540. Neecoll

    Honestly, I think it really comes down to your preference. Personally, I do not like too much dressing in my salad. What’s the point of eating salad if you are going to soak it in dressing with lots of calories? I would totally do plain salad without dressing if you can handle it.

    Think of it this way, if they do put in the dressing for you, it can be too little or too much. For me, that would ruin the salad for me. So I think dressing on the side is the way to go.

    One of my recent great find in NYC for salad is called Sweet Greens. If you haven’t check it out, you should. It’s amazing and super fresh !

  541. Hanna

    Following through with the vision creates consistency. Consistency means reliability. Whether they lose a number of customers or not is not the point, because they will keep the ones they have. The loyal ones know that they can count on that standard of quality, which assures them that the company is worth it, because they know they are receiving the best. This also means the company has the best customers, the ones who are here to stay, and care little about price, because they truly appreciate and believe in the quality they are receiving. Finally, that quality and assurance creates a name brand reputation. This spreads the word, so that other people who care more about quality than costs will come to this company they can rely on.

  542. Fouad

    Well, I believe they have a standard that they don’t want to compromise no matter what. They believe in quality rather than quantity. This shows their level of integrity. I’ll go for that store anytime, except I’m dead hungry.

  543. MARIO

    Hi Ramit, I totally agree with that salad-place since I learnt in your material that we have to have an ideal customer, that our business must not be a one-size-fit-all business. It is impossible to be good for everybody.

  544. Eva

    I agree with the salad shop (although the answer also depends on the target market of the shop which we don’t know, but let’s assume they target people who expect and are willing to pay for good quality food).
    In that case, I think they want to protect their clients from themselves (who may be in a hurry and may even say at some point they don’t care about their salad being crisp) because they know that their ideal client ultimately will be disappointed if they serve food below their usual quality. The implicit trust given to them by their ideal clients will be broken. In other words, the shop knows them better than they know themselves and instead of creating a downward spiral of quality (which is always easy to create), they try to lift their clients up and educate them.
    I do feel though that the way how they deliver the message, is equally as important – if not more – than the content of their ‘we only serve quality food’ – message. An ideal client may really not care at some point and may be annoyed when the reply of their food shop is too snobbish or arrogant.
    It’s up to the shop to sense this, to quickly explain politely the idea behind their policy and ask why you like your salad a certain way and, where possible, offer a solution that suits their ideal client.

  545. Danni Pollard

    People/Customers don’t really know what that want they just think they do…

  546. yosef ferdinand

    i agree with salad shop ,because they know their product’s detail and they want to give the best for
    customer…

  547. Nanceeann Thorsby

    I think it should be a customer preference and not an establishment preference. It’s just common courtesy to ask how the customer wants it.

  548. Juan

    I undertstand the restaurant’s point of view. “It’s my salad I’ll serve it the way I like it” it’s their right to do so. Likewise, I have the same right to deal with it and put the dressing after. It’s important to respect that point of view, as a costumer I would want something the way I want it but I have no right to force the restaurant to change it’s philosophy, and they aren’t forcing anyone to keep the dressing away form the salad.

    Also, they believe that’s the way the salad should be served. And their product shpuld be appreciated and valued in that way

  549. Michael Newberry

    Absolutely not! Salad dressing must be mixed immediately before serving. The restaurant is absolutely right and should refuse your request, kudos to them, and shame on you for not knowing better.
    It reminds me of getting my dog Frida from Living Free Animal Rescue, they triple checked to see if I was good enough for their dog, I loved that. They dedicate their lives to saving these animals, and they are not going to blithely turn the animal over to anyone. It made me feel especially honored when I got her. After that experience, I do the same now for my art collectors, I am more critical of them are they a good and right fit for my work? Is it a win/win for them, my work, and for me?

  550. Judy

    Actually it makes you appreciate the restaurant if they tell you exactly how they make and deliver their food. Perhaps their reasons haven’t crossed your mind before they clarify.

  551. Diana

    Hi Ramit!

    My initial thought was that they have every right to protect the integrity of their product. However, having said that – as a consumer if I am aware of the why and am okay with that, then bring me my da** soggy salad! Please!

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

  552. Maria

    Gosh, I’m craving salad now.

  553. Cathy Cardozo

    Nope nope nope I want to mix my own dressing! If they put too much or too little you will complain. Leave it up to the consumer 🙂

  554. Pius Akor

    there is nothing bad because they have standard and wouldn’t want to comprise it

  555. JC

    I was married to a gourment chef and had a similar conversation. She had a the same issue with her steak and duck entrees – customers wanted them cooked “well done” (mainly because they didn’t want to see pink/blood). Her solution was to have the servers suggest to customers they try the meat cooked to the chef’s specifications and if they didn’t like it, she’d re-cook it well (or replace it with a well done version). No one ever sent the meal back to be cooked/replaced.

    That being said, I work at night and order out 5 nights a week (NYC). I eat a lot of salads and I like my dressing mixed in. It’s easier for the restaurant (or really, the deli) to mix the dressing in thoroughly. While I can, I don’t want to mix it at work (or keep bowls, tongs, etc for mixing – really? No.). Often they only include a small, insufficient side serving of dressing OR they FORGET the dressing completely. And soggy salad – usually a delivery time issue (too long, which would be problematic for all of their delivery food), not a dressing-mixed-in issue.

    Almost all the places I order from have an either/or option of mixed in vs. on the side (or the salads are premade and the dressing automatically comes on the side). I’ve yet to run into a place that refused to mix the dressing in – and if I did, I’d suck it up if I liked the salad enough. Hopefully if I ordered from them regularly enough they might make an exception for me and mix it in.

  556. Carlos Cardona

    Hi Ramit,
    This is an interesting question. Unless I’m ready to eat my salad on the spot, I prefer my salad dressing on the side. So my vibe on this lines up with the salad place. Soggy salad? No thanks. The other thing that is in favor of the restaurant’s policy is that it takes just a moment for the customer to pour the salad dressing on the salad they are about to eat. Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

  557. Act

    i completely agree with this, Ramit. Well if you need the best salad , then do it in their way. Not to bluff up too much, but I can relate an incident in my hometown. Perhaps you must have an idea about dosas.
    A resaturant in my hometown is famous , where people flock to eat their dosas. If you ask the chef there too customize according to what you need, he would just smile and say me ‘NO’. First it made me irritated , and then made me wonder why so many people flock to his restaurant, if they have customer service like this. Then I realized that they make it in his own way, which makes the restaurant so special.

  558. Billl

    Totally agree with salad place. Engineer here; customers think they know what they want but they don’t really. Ramit thinks he wants his dressing applied but if he were to get his salad that way he’d be like WTF they delivered me a soggy mess! Then again, there is a market to have the delivery guy apply the dressing in his car right before he delivers it.

  559. Carmen

    I think it works great because customers would complain about a soggy salad OR complain that the dressing wasn’t mixed in right OR any other crazy complaint a customer could come up with.

    Of course, there is a fine line to it as well. What if a company gets to ASSUMING too much and develops this “we know what’s best for you” service?

  560. Pat

    The salad place is right AND wrong..

    They are right for the reasons mentioned in your email:
    1. customer will get a sub optimal experience
    2. customer will complain about it (and deny that they ever asked for the salad dressing to be mixed in)
    3. customer will complain that there is too much dressing, etc.

    They are wrong:
    1. because they didn’t explain to the customer why they were not honoring the request
    2. they did not articulate their previous experiences with customers when they did honor the request.
    3. as a result they left the customer feeling ignored or disrespected.

  561. Lisa

    I personally, don’t like soggy salad so, I agree with the salad place.
    However, you can’t be everything to everyone – you have to chose your market.
    The business chooses how they wish their product to be delivered. You can take into consideration requests from customers but you need to consider how viable this is going to be for the business – chopping and changing to suit each and every customer.
    You need to trust that your product is the best that it can be for the knowledge or skills that you currently have – you can’t keep changing because someone suggests something. Your product/service will improve with experience/training.

  562. milly

    it’s all about communication.
    The restaurant needs to convey their vision/choice to the customers.
    if they clearly claim why salads are not delivered with dressing mixed in, people can actually appreciate their stand.

    Failing to do so, leaves customers completely unaware or confused or angry.

  563. Steve

    The salad must be good, you keep going back……they must be doing something right.

  564. Aysha

    I think its pretty cool that they have that commitment to quality and won’t let anyone -even the customer – ruin that. HOWEVER, I think they could leverage or execute that principle better. Namely make sure their customers know WHY their salads aren’t mixed. If your customers don’t know how good your motivations are, it’s not as effective. You for instance, got mad. And I imagine they have lost customers that way.

  565. Bandele

    To me this shows a company with high INTEGRITY and STANDARDS, and that’s exactly what is needed for a successful business. Imagine the bloke who complains and complains, finally gets his way with the dressing, and then the salad arrives soggy and uneatable… Of course that same individual would blame the salad shop for their lack of competence… He in this case, would be a fool…. and I’ve seen this is real life many times.

  566. TJB

    It’s a lost opportunity. The driver could mix the salad with the sauce right as he/she rings your doorbell.

    The company should do: (1) market research how many customers hate mixing, (2) pay an engineer to build a suitable mixing device, (3) run an A/B test if customers like crisp salad with sauce, (4) add that to their marketing material, (5) market the business process and mixing device to other shops.

  567. David S. Thomas

    Absolute idiocy. The fact that their delivery person can’t mix the dressing in at your doorstep baffles me. 30 seconds of extra delivery time and their goal and your goal are met at the same time.

  568. DC

    I prefer not to have the dressing already mixed in my salad. I would not want to eat an already dressed salad. I prefer to put the dressing on for myself.

  569. Richard

    Would you want to buy a car with flat tires? No, of course not. Same reason you wouldn’t want to have a take out salad that’s already been dressed.

  570. David Whitfield

    If the explanation did not make sense then they would have lost a customer. I’ve dined at high end stake houses that refuse to provide steak sauce for similar reasons. Generally, I prefer businesses that have similar standards with reasonable limits. They are actually more concerned with the customer experience for their niche.

  571. Hope

    This happened to me at a Subway when I ordered a chopped salad. When I asked the sandwich/salad artist to add in the dressing and finish chopping it up, she said she couldn’t because it was a health code violation. (They had received the inspection the day before.) I let her put the dressing on the side because I figured it wasn’t worth the risk of death by food poisoning.

  572. Ami Shah

    I think this restaurant is appealing to a very specific, niche market that includes people who appreciate and are willing to pay for a salad without any frou-frou dressing. I love dressing, don’t get me wrong!…but perhaps the restaurant is trying to attract the consumer who is part of the green, low-calorie, raw/vegan/vegetarian market. It also seems like they have pride in their product in its simple form (am unadulterated salad) and are not willing to compromise that. Ramit, you have gone back more than once, right? Would you say that the salad place isn’t so bad? And since they likely have several customers who made the same complaint but keep coming back, like you, would you agree that not mixing in salad dressing is resulting in a huge loss for them? They are upholding the quality of their product and retaining customers, including those who want their salad completely tossed in dressing! Doesn’t seem so bad! I’m with the restaurant.

  573. Raymond

    Dear Ramit,

    You did not mention much details in your post. You say that “no matter how many times you ask”. When you say that do you mean that each time you just ask them to mix the salad dressing in? (Without stating the reason?)

    Imagining myself in your shoes, I would appreciate them putting the salad dressing in for me because I wouldn’t be able to do it right myself. (One part of the salad gets too concentrated with dressing and the other parts barely gets any dressing at all etc.)

    And it may feel bad to even try (because I don’t expect that I can do it well).

    When ordering the salad you may just be looking forward to the great taste of the salad. Not asking for much more.

    However, the salad shop may have different standards for themselves. They may have encountered one rude remark about how salad looks soggy. And they overreacted to that comment. They may not realize it is just one silly big mouth troublemaker who just wants to find something to criticize, and he found it! 99.9% of the customers may just want the salad for its great taste. They may even delude themselves into thinking that all the other customers secretly agree with the big mouth troublemaker but choose not to say it.

    The salad shop may actually think like this, “These ungrateful customers… we put the dressing in so that they do not have to, and they still complain about it! Maybe we should just let them do it themselves, anyway, it is not like we’re obliged to do it for them.” And I say they overreact because the rude comments that possibly inspired such thinking may have been just 0.1% of the customers.

    That’s why it is important for you to state the reason (I am assuming you didn’t). Then it will let them know that you appreciate them doing it for you and why you appreciate it. But, importantly, you got to get your own ego out of the way because the real reason may make you appear childish although it is the truth. (Can’t even pour the sauce in yourself? What, don’t you have hands?! Even my 5-year-old can do it!)

  574. Sherri

    I love my salad with the dressing already in because when I stir it in, half my salad lands on the floor (a result of overfilled serving dishes). Soggy salad is what happens when you add too much dressing. If they could get the mix right, it would be a nice option.

  575. Brandon Schulmeister

    Hey Ramit,

    I’ll cut to the chase. They are correct in what they are doing. HOWEVER, they should be telling the customer this. If the customer asks for it to be mixed… The simply reply is, “Sir, the reason why we don’t mix the dressing into the salad is because more times than not it will be delivered soggy and we want to make sure you get the best salad possible. We understand the inconvenience of you having to mix this yourself but we feel that there would be a far great inconvenience if you had a soggy and repulsive salad.”

    99 times out of 100 the customer will agree with the thought and be completely satisfied with that answer.

    This is simply going the extra mile to deliver great customer service. Most consumers don’t know what they need until they are told.

  576. Izin

    I do agree with the restaurant. For the perfect salad experiment, the dressing is best added a few seconds before consumption.
    Nothing kills one’s appetite like a soggy salad.
    The real question is why do you feel peeved even though the salad dressing is delivered with the salad?

  577. Dalindcy Koolhoven

    This is a tough one. One half of me agrees with the restaurant. It’s their salad and they can serve it how they like. But then what if the customer likes soggy salad? How much of a hassle would it be to put the dressing on the salad just for that one customer?

    I feel like the restaurant is communicating poorly here. If they explained to the customer that they do not want to mix in the dressing with his salad because they want to give him the best experience possible, he might understand.

  578. Roger Dodger Christensen

    Unless I’m a regular at a particular place or if it’s SweetGreens – a salad specific place that doesn’t overdo salad dressing…..In my experience, restaurants in general put WAY too much dressing, mayo, cream cheese (on a bagel) then I’d prefer.

    Not sure what this says about psychology but interested to know your take.

  579. Sindy

    Even if its your wish to get the salad with the dressing, the sight of the salad what you receive subconsciosly repulsive.

    I totally agree with the salad place.
    It is bad for the image of the company if you get soggy salad.

    It is very important that the first sight will be positive.

  580. Peter Hedstrom

    I’m surprised you said engineers agree with the restaurant. In the engineering world, each customers has their own “spec,” their own requirements which you have to work with and tailor your project towards. That’s what they’re paying you to do, and if you don’t do it they will go somewhere else.

    For example, they might have special chemical requirements in materials, or they might request you only use materials from certain countries, or that you pressure test your equipment for double the standard code requirements.

    In relation to your salad example, it would be like me saying to my customer, “No, i’m sorry, we won’t stress relieve this equpiment because a crack might develop.” Well, how run you run a business that way?

    But these are different industries. On the one hand, you have a salad that costs what? $10? $20? Versus $200,000. And one is business to business, another is business to consumer.

    When it comes to food, I guess there are different psychological rules, especially when it comes to wanting to be perceived as artistic and high-end. In mechanical engineering at least, the emphasis is more on being able to provide the requested deliverables to your customer on time and on budget. That is what your reputation is based on.

  581. Margot

    I would listen to the people in the know, the experts.