I wonder who dreamed up the food tray, a simple device which allows patrons to carry more food than they could hold in their bare hands. Was it an independent inventor who identified a need in the market, constructed a prototype, and brought it to market? I doubt it.
My theory is that its was a restraunt owner who decided that rather than paying waitors he would get patrons to order their meals at a counter and then carry it back themselves – it was a simple innovation that allowed them to cut costs while at the same time providing a service to customers who didn’t have to wait to get their meals ordered.
So what does food trays have to do we me and my blog? Well – I am sitting here at Canberra Airport waiting to dial into a teleconference and I decided that a pot-of-tea would be nice. I ordered the tea at the counter and then stood waiting for it to arrive which it did after just a few minutes. The problem is that tea is a multi-part affair which involves a cup and saucer, a pot of hot water and a small jug of milk. They are irregular shapes so they can’t be stacked on top of each other so a tray is required – but there was no tray to be found.
The cafe here at Canberra Airport made the sensible choice to not provide table service at an busy (cough) international (cough cough) port but at the same time removed one of the innovations which makes it possible. Instead customers are expected to carry multiple hot drinks back to their table and in many cases they are forced to make multiple trips.
This is relevant to the phone call that I will be making shortly because I will be discussing the configuration of a new (and hopefully innovative service offering that Readify will be launching in the future and I need to make sure that we have included all the trays that we need to ensure a happy customer experience.
Of course, a tray could be considered an add-on service and you could charge for it just like shopping centres charge a refundable fee for the use of trolleys – I certainly would have paid an extra dollar to not scold myself with the hot pot of tea.