I’m not so sure how I feel about a story I heard this morning of Jim Nantz’s toast visual aid, but it’s so rare that anyone in the public limelight offers a story that touches Lean thinking, particularly one about toast, that I am compelled to share.
Apparently, Mr. Nantz, who likes his toast burnt (as in #1 on the toast scale), carries a laminated photo of his preference in his wallet. Whenever he orders breakfast, he passes the photo to the wait staff in order to convey his unusual taste. I also like burnt toast (around 3 on the toast scale), but somehow could not resort to the use of visual aids when ordering breakfast. For me, a strong verbal instruction usually does the trick. My wallet is already stuffed with so many business cards, credit cards and receipts; I’d just be wasting time looking for my toast visual every time I ordered breakfast. And, truth be told, I’m not quite as particular as Mr. Nantz about these things.
However, in defense of Mr. Nantz, “The customer determines value.” No doubt, the toast problem is more consequential for him; he has many more occasions than I to be a customer for breakfast. (I generally make my own toast.) He’s even calculated the annual accumulation of wasted time – forty-eight hours – he has suffered by returning his toast for rework; not to mention the added insult of either eating his breakfast out of sequence or alternatively letting it get cold while his waits 10 minutes (his estimate) for the toast to be appropriately burned. As he notes, “Time is currency.” He’s apparently on the clock when he’s having breakfast; I generally eat out for fun and see breakfast a time to relax.
Although over 100,000 copies of Toast Kaizen have been sold since its release in 2004, it’s highly unlikely that Mr. Nantz would ever have been a viewer. Yet, his celebrity story is in many ways an extension of our video. So this holiday season, GBMP will send him a present: his own copy of the toast video. (I may also include a discrete warning that burning toast produces acrylamide, a known carcinogen.)
For all our customers of GBMP and readers of Old Lean Dude, we wish you a lighthearted and relaxed Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate.
I’m a 7.
Happy Holidays Bruce and to everyone at GBMP!
Mass General Hospital
You didn’t ask why his toast isn’t done properly. I travel a lot and have breakfast in hotels all of which have a four slot commercial toaster which do a uniformly bad job. There are two reasons. First is that the four slots share the available power that was formerly used for two slots. So the elements never get as radiant as a two slot toaster. Second they widened the slots to take bagels and this puts the elements further away. So the toaster takes a really long time to do its job, and the toast rather than toasting simply dries out the bread.
There are now some hotels with two slot toasters as I have had this conversation with many managers. I hate waiting 10 minutes for a slice of toast!
That’s an interesting analysis, Gary. You’ve got me looking at my own toaster more critically now!