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Friday, February 02, 2007

Don't Get Cosi - South Station, Boston

Cosi opened in the South Station Food court about two weeks ago. It has been so busy I have avoided it. I figured, wait until the newness crowd wears away a little and then try it. But one day this week, I got there just before noon and as the line was the shortest amongst those in the court so I decided to give it a try.

The sandwich was reasonably priced for a deli. Nice tasting, fresh bread. Not bad. So I decided to try it again today. Got there just at noon, again the line was not long but grew quickly while I waited. Now I think I understand some of the problem. The organization of the sandwich delivery process is a mess.

There are several registers in front with no clear demarcation via sign above or lines on the floor as to where to stand to get in line for which register. Several seconds lost here trying to figure out who's next. Meanwhile the register person is waiting. Not very efficient.

Place your order, pay at the register and they give you the bag. It has the napkin and utensil (if required) and either carrots or chips (whichever you choose with your sandwich). They also give you the receipt with your order#. But no sandwich. You'd think think the order# would be the biggest boldest thing on the slip but it is actually the same size as the change amount that the register person has already given to give you (and by the way, was prompted by the register to provide that amount). Opportunity here.

Then you go around the side where you can wait with the others for the lottery (or bingo caller) to hear your number, claim your sandwich, put it into your own bag, and go off on your way. Now with all due respect to my fellow citizens, some cannot accomplish this task easily. This should be easily recognized. Some folks, elderly and others, are not going to be able to juggle their cane (or other packages) and use two hands to put the sandwich into the bag.

Cosi makes an attempt to help this by positioning someone outside the counter to play match maker. Calling the numbers and assisting with placement of the sandwich in the bag. Is this really the most effective use of resources? I think not.

Bottom line, I would have second thoughts about going to Cosi again. The sandwich is good but it is not that good to put up with the hassle of getting it in a timely fashion during the lunch period. There must be a better way to organize that delivery process. The process may work in a slow period but clearly does not work well in rush hour.

PS - The bottom of the receipt offers $2 off the next meal if your fill out the survey at the link provided. Too many questions, too much information requested, some of it clearly inappropriate for this particular restaurant location. It is in a food court, there is no one to greet you and seat you like a normal sit down place. Too much work for too little gain, especially considering I probably won't be back there anytime soon.

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