Kimmy and I went for coffee this morning at McDonald’s on the west side as we do most morning. As it turned out a well know realtor that I’ve known for years dropped in for a coffee. I took the liberty of plunking myself in his booth and asked; “What did you think of the Saint John 2016 census results that saw Saint John loose roughly 2500 people”? He shook his head and without me asking he offered: “I’m trying to sell real estate”,…( pause with obvious frustration based on his gestures) “What am I supposed to tell them when the ask about the tax rate and the services”? He was on a roll: “Council had an opportunity to send a message by reducing the tax rate by a penny and then they go and give themselves a raise, ……I’m so discussed”. I hope my comment about the 2016 census results didn’t give him indigestion.
We’ve heard the same story over and over for years from members of Council say that we have to stay positive and I understand that, however I would suggest simple remaining positive in the absence of meaningful and effective action is a fools game. Telling the folks on the ship that we have a serious leak is not negative, it’s facing reality and the good ship Saint John has leaked 2500 people over the past 5 years. Rearranging the chairs on the decks of the SS Saint John ain’t going to stop the ship from sinking….. the passengers, still on the ship, would like to know where do we go from here…… Mayor? …..Councilors?
A few weeks ago shortly after the Saint John 2016 census results were out I emailed Mayor and Council asked them; at the very least consider the same question I asked myself the 30 plus years I was in business: “What can I do to attract and keep more customers”? I received a response from one Councilor. I wasn’t terribly surprised because from time to time I’ve emailed Mayor and Council information that I believe might be useful as it relates to attracting businesses and families and rarely if ever do I receive a reply. Could that possibly be a part Saint John’s problem?
McDonald’s Canada is arguably one of the most successful companies in a highly competitive consumer oriented business. They have consistently made the Aon Best Employers in Canada 12 times out of the last 16 years and yet….. they continue to try harder. They keep raising the bar. When I go to McDonald’s for a coffee it costs me $1.15 for a small coffee and if I wish I can go back for a refill.
Contrast that with the thousands of dollars I and others pay in property taxes year after years and I’m hard pressed receive a simple acknowledgement or response to valid questions I have as a concerned “customer” and taxpayer?
I’m gong on-line now to fill out the Tell us how we did today survey. The following is an extract from the McDonald’s Canada 2015 Annual Report to Shareholders and Employees. Is it possible in an effort to attract businesses and families to Saint John Mayor and Council learn anything from McDonald’s?
Think about it.
“Transforming our Mindset, Acting Differently In early 2015, we changed the way we think and act to strengthen the fundamentals of our business and reignite growth. Shortly after becoming CEO, I introduced four operating principles – customer-centricity, simplicity, progress over perfection and personal accountability. These underlie the actions we’re taking to reassert McDonald’s leadership”.
Steve Easterbrook President and CEO