Re-writing a scene that occurred about 6 years ago in ordinary everyday lives. On how businesses need to seek continuous improvement to become Cheaper, Better, Faster or risk being retired from their own industry.
Do bear with me as the images are blur but it was once considered good quality at that point in time.
Real Life Pictures taken 6 years ago
A very ordinary scene at a local hawker centre where you can see people queuing up for food. Some stalls would be quite empty and some stalls would have quite a long queue. Nothing out of the ordinary from the picture alone. Both stalls are selling “mixed-rice” 菜饭 but one is void of business, the other has an extremely long queue.
However, here is where an extraordinary story happened in a very ordinary setting.
The situation was previously the reversed
YES! Previously, the store at the left corner (green arrow stall) had no customers and the right stall (red arrow stall) always had an extremely long queue.
So what happened??
In Fact, the left green stall wasn’t even selling mixed rice previously. If you could read mandarin, their signage still showed “Chicken Rice, Chicken Porridge”.
The right red stall actually had quite a monopoly for a very long time. They were always filled with customers daily for lunch and dinner time. The queues were long and business was thriving. On the left, there weren’t many customers who wanted to eat Chicken Rice and there were already 2 – 3 other chicken rice stalls within the hawker centre.
The right red stall was enjoying a big MONOPOLY as they were the ONLY mixed rice stall (if you do not include the nasi padang stall).
This was till the left green stall decided that it was time to change and challenge the status quo.
They started serving mix rice dishes on the side and slowly one by one their customers grew. They didn’t change their signage so it was almost by word of mouth that people knew or saw that mix rice dishes were available.
As their mixed rice business got better and better, they completely cut off their main chicken rice line and soon, you couldn’t even see the usual “chicken rack” display that you would see at a usual chicken rice stall.
On the other side, as the queue and wait was always long, the crowd started to shift to try the food at the new stall.
Soon, the queue was entirely just at the new green stall… and the red stall which once enjoyed monopoly now had to tout customers.
If you were the red stall owner, how would you feel to have your once monopoly, 20-30 pax queue for 2hours consistently at lunch and dinner time be taken away from you? And worse, taken from you just next door (1 stall away)
How would it impact you if your income has suddenly decrease about more than 70%? (you can see from the picture that the customer queue is really quite drastic)
Most importantly, who can you blame?
Thank you for reading