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.)
Happy Holidays! O.L.D. (aka Bruce Hamilton, The Toast Dude)