Captain D's Introduces "Take Your Trash With You" Policy
One of the nice things about fast food establishments is the fact that you can order and receive your food quickly, and leave at will just dropping your trash in the trash can on your way out. It used to be easy to dispose of your trash. You would just take your tray, push open the large swinging door on the can, tip your tray up, and all of the paper wrapper, cups, napkins, and styrofoam plates would slide off into the trash bag. The swinging door on the can even offered a "Thank You" message as it swung closed. Several times a day, a restaurant employee would take the filled trash bag out to the dumpster and place a new trash bag in the can.
This is how it was done for decades. But recently Captain D's made a fundamental change to this process. The largest fast food seafood chain has replaced those large swinging "Thank You" trash can doors with an opening about the size of a postage stamp. The hole is literally smaller than the plate you are throwing away. You actually have to crush your plate before putting it in the trash. There is absolutely nothing convenient about it, and it often causes a greater mess on the trash can and on the customer. Many sit-down customers are asking for 'to-go bags' so they can just take their trash with them.
Hal Morris, Director of Customer Relations explains the move, "Well, our purpose for the non-working trash can is two-fold. First it is to respect our workers. What we kept hearing from our wonderful and hard-working employees was that they despised taking the trash out. You can call it a 'millennial bug' or whatever. But the fact is, these youngsters have always complained about taking the trash out. We are just listening to their concerns and responding to that. We've noticed that there is much less trash now that people are taking it home with them. Beyond that, we are trying to instill personal responsibility in our customers. If you are going to dirty a plate with your meal, don't expect someone else to take it to the trash. Dispose of it yourself. So, we are being sensitive to the concerns of our employees, and instilling personal responsibility in our customers. Everyone wins."
This pilot program is going so well that next year the company intends to require customers to bring in their own food to be prepared, and by 2020, they will be opening up their kitchens requiring customers to cook the food themselves. "As you can imagine, the kitchen is a very hot place to work, and we want to respect the feelings of our sacrificial workers," says Morris. "Ultimately we want to provide the 'home away from home' feeling in our restaurants. I think we are almost there."