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Re: [sharechat] RBD - Not For Me!

From: "Phil Eriksen" <>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002 16:03:27 +1300


I'm in the same boat.  RBD have looked great on paper for years, and I've
wanted to invest several times, but just can't do it.

I won't repeat my whole list of stories (similar to yours) but will recount
the most recent one.  After being told the pizza would be here in 30 mins,
and waiting 60, I called.  It was clear the systems were a bit messy, as the
two people I talked to didn't know what was happening.  I asked to be put
through to the store, but was told the calls are handled at the call centre,
and I couldn't go through to the store.  However, they said they'd put me
through to "the help desk"  (a help desk for pizza?)

After many minutes on hold, I called back and got a straight talker than
wanted to help.  He basically conceded that he didn't know where the order
was, chances are no one did, he put a new order through, and it was here hot
and perfect in 20 minutes.  Great work by that guy.

My impression of just this one episode is of a call centre where staff are
measured by number of calls (ie hire just enough people so they never have a
break, and that clients are not on hold too long) with no emphasis placed on
customer satisfaction, and of stores that are "independent" of the call
centre, where once the order has been placed, there is little or no
communication between the two.  In the old Eagle Boys days, if you had a
problem, you would call the store, and they'd sort you out, because out of
the six people in the store, at least one would know exactly what was
happening.  Now, however, it seems the people you *really* want to talk to
(the ones making and delivering the pizza) are the ones you cannot talk to
(you can have the "help desk" however).

I find if you mention stories like this to an RBD shareholder they will come
back with "you get what you pay for" or "it's fast food, what do you
expect?" but this isn't a satisfactory answer.  In Wellington, where I live,
there are a multitude of choices, and the price difference between junk food
/ good takeaways / mid range restaurant food is very minimal indeed.  For
the price of products sold by RBD, as an example, you can purchase Indian
food from probably 25 locations in Wellington, for the same or less money,
generally by an interested and efficient owner-operator.  Any real wonder
Indian food is one of the fastest growing categories?

RBD's pricing has tended to increase since Eagle Boys was put out of action.
While cutting expenses and raising prices will certainly be doing them no
harm in the short run, in the long run, if people are paying more, and
receiving less, against a backdrop of intense competition - what is the long
term outcome?

Interestingly, the story seems to be the opposite to that of the Warehouse.
I'm old enough to remember a time when people sniggered if you ran into them
on a street holding onto a Warehouse bag.  It was the "discount place", or
the place "poor people" shopped.  There was definitely a snobbish attitude
against it.

Now, everyone shops at the Warehouse, as their perception, reinforced by
others, is that they consistently pay less and receive more at the
Warehouse.  They are not perfect of course, but they seem to recognise their
mistakes, be aware of their strengths, and have a well trained staff and
good systems.  The Warehouse and it's shareholders probably have a better
reason than the RBD crowd to think "you get what you pay for" when
confronted with stories of poor products/service, but I don't get the
impression they would think like this.  Tellingly, the Warehouse seems to be
stocking a lot more higher quality, presumably higher margin products,
trading off their reputation as having good service and low prices.

With all of the problems I see and hear relating to RBD's products and
services, perhaps their future is the opposite? - gradually graduating to
only servicing the very lowest end of the market.

----- Original Message -----
From: Wayne McDonald <>
To: <>
Sent: Saturday, December 28, 2002 10:56 PM
Subject: [sharechat] RBD - Not For Me!

> Try before you buy - no doubt a sensible way to judge a potential
> investment. Writing as a once RBD investor, and existing customer, there
> no longer anything to entice me to stump up some cash, and again become a
> shareholder. Long term this business may be a target for an investor who
> add some value, for today however, it will only continue it's slide,
> operating as it does.
> Recent experiences include:
> 1. A no show. Explained to the operator that wouldn't listen, that our
> street name had changed, however the new name was in the computer and she
> was confident it would get here. No - it didn't. On phoning to check was
> advised the order had been cancelled because they couldn't find the
> They phoned us - no answer - funny - no message - and we were here to take
> calls and clear messages while waiting for our Pizza. Never mind - they
> bring it and credit me for the order. Still waiting for the Pizza - will
> check the Visa carefully, and the fish fingers and bluebird chips have
> some way to filling the gap in the tummy.
> 2. Cold pizza? Saw the driver alight, and no carrier bag around the
Pizzas -
> cold? - you bet!
> 3. Peperroni Pizza - the one that used to be on the menu! Perhaps I was
> only guy that ordered it. They could still do it - the operator insisted.
> was a sad - and not even close immitation.
> 4. KFC free offer - well - kind of! The drink that was supposed to
> the KFC didn't. "I will bring it back" - never did.
> 5. KFC Highland Park. Unless it has improved in the last few months, since
> the selling off of their real estate, it is not the sort of place I would
> revisit. It was dirty, the staff were uninterested, and there was
> (bags etc) stacked around the walls in the kitchen. A stark contrast to
> McDonalds across the road.
> 6. A client database? We used to order weekly, and despite this disappered
> without a trace. How about following up customers that were once regular -
> retention strategy of sorts - you know? They once held our credit card
> details to boot.
> And not so recently:
> 7. Wrong order. "Have you eaten any?" No. "Well don't, we will take it
> and bring your correct order". Never mind that we had ordered as we wanted
> something to eat.
> 8. Double charging - an oldy, yet a goody. We kept getting double charged
> one of the stores. Hmmm - perhaps a control issue, or some sort of fraud?
> The credit card company always sorted it out for us, thankfully.
> And reported:
> 9. In the Herald of no cups, and no coffee at some Starbucks stores on
> occassion.
> Keen to invest? Or place an order? No - really! Come on - why not?
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