By Al Zehnder, CEO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth
I really don’t know when they first showed up. It’s one of those things that seemed to have always been here. If I had to guess I would say we first started using them in the 1960’s, and since then have used millions. We call them Zoo Picks, those tiny plastic animals that come atop each dish of ice cream we serve.
When I first came back to the business after graduation in 1976, I thought the elimination of that little detail would be money well saved. I mean who really would miss it. So we did. We eliminated Zoo Picks. It wasn’t long and I got a letter from a guy that went something like this: Mr. Zehnder, I am a traveling salesman and your area just happens to be on my route. I stop into your place and have always enjoyed dining there. I was looking forward to dessert and that little plastic animal that comes on top. This time it wasn’t there. You see I always take that animal home to my daughter, she places it on the windowsill in her bedroom. She has a whole line of them. I didn’t have one for her this time. Please get them back. Oh geez, I felt so bad.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Details matter. I quickly understood how seemingly little things can make a big difference. It wasn’t long and those little plastic animals were again gracing the tops of each dish of ice cream served. And they have ever since.
We believe how we consistently present our people, our products, our service and our properties; makes a difference. We believe details matter.
Al Zehnder, CEO